Brave, new World

Four weeks have passed since the beginning of ‘Deconfinement’ – the lifting of restrictions in France. Last week, June 2nd began the second phase—the most exciting being that we can now travel anywhere within France. Many services are open. Restaurants can open but only their terraces. Table must be 2 meters apart and everyone, servers and clients alike, are to wear masks. In many ways, when one goes outside, it is as if the Confinement never happened. On May 11, the first day of Deconfinement, workers descended upon the only house in this area. They built scaffolding to the roof of the four story home. Translated that means, there has been LOUD noise every single day since, starting at 7:30am and going to 1pm when they break for lunch. Afternoons are quieter.

Parisians enjoying sunshine at Bois de Boulogne. Very few masks and definitely more than 10 people in groups all over the grass.

In my arrondissement, the majority of people are wearing masks. Very few people are making an effort to move the required 2 mètres when passing each other on the street. The queues at Hyperstores and Supermarkets have disappeared and delivery is fast and efficient. I went into a Galleries Lafayette in the 15th a week ago and at noon on a Wednesday, it was practically empty.

I’ve spent some time being judgmental about people not following the suggested guidelines but lately it seems like a waste of energy. The guideline for the over the 65 year group is not to change much, stay at home, stay healthy. Today, the statistics in France are 153,977 cases. 30,000 dead. And, as I was reminded yesterday, the published deaths are hospitals and clinics only. It’s not known how many more deaths happened at home. But one can assume the numbers would be much higher.

Brave souls wearing masks at the Ranelagh metro

Thirteen days ago, I woke up to photos of Minneapolis on fire. I thought to myself “and so it starts”, having no idea how right I was. That morning, what struck me was the pentup energy of two months in lockdown. Fairly quickly, I got the backstory of George Floyd, his murder and it being the final straw for so many Americans of decades of Having frightened gown white men treating anyone who doesn’t look like them, as if they were vermin to stomp out or worse ‘invisible’. The anger has galvanized people in a way that I haven’t seen since the 60’s when I was in university. Here in Paris, people are willing to risk the fines of not social distancing and maybe risking their lives to join in solidarity with protesters around the world. I feel so proud of my fellow Americans. Yesterday, I read in the Times that a few Republican politicians are standing up and saying no more psychopath bully in the White House. They have committed to vote for Joe Biden. It hardly seems real. Four months ago, there was nothing of substance left of the Republican Party. Today, some brave souls are willing to go on record saying “He does not speak for me.”

Protests in support of George Floyd and police brutality in Paris.

My little struggles in the 16eme seem so minuscule and unimportant. But considering I’m a writer and most of my day is spent churning out three blogs a week, writing requested articles in support of my book Saving Sara: A Memoir of Food Addiction, and my volunteer work for various organizations, the fact that I have been pecking and poling away on an iPad for 5 weeks while waiting for my new computer seems huge. My new computer that I had ordered with an American keyboard arrived last Wednesday, June 3. I was so excited. As I was setting it up, I realized it had a french keyboard. I’m not sure I’m eloquent enough to describe how I felt at that moment. Horror, anger, frustration. All those words work. It took me hours to get a hold of the sales department in Europe to deal with this mistake. The upshot is that I had to re-order the computer, wait for UPS to deliver a label to me to put on the return box. However, they were not allowed to pick up the box itself. After finding two different UPS pick up points closed until who knows when, I was successful this morning at handing it in to a UPS point at an Office Depot. Now I have to wait until the end of the month for my new (again) laptop to arrive. I must have been praying for patience in my life. How else can one explain two months on an iPad.

One day at a time, we move out into this new world of ours, wearing masks, social distancing and fighting with every ounce of our beings for a better and fairer world.

A bientôt


Author: Sara Somers

I am retired from my first profession, am from Oakland, California, living in Paris, France since 2013. I love books, movies, and watching everyday life in Paris out my window. Please enjoy my musings as I grow into the author others say I am. I am always open to thoughts and ideas from others about this blog. I like to write about Paris, about France, about the US as seen from France. About France that the US may or may not know.

8 thoughts on “Brave, new World”

  1. Sarah, You are a wonderful writer. I am halfway through your book and getting so much out of it! Thank you for the update on what is happening in Paris and what you are learning about the trifecta of catastrophes here in the US: pandemic, economic collapse and uprising for social justice. Being of your same generation, I am heartened that the peaceful demonstrations are largely young, multi-racial and mostly peaceful. It gives cause for hope. Yes, several Republicans with nothing to lose are speaking out. The only Republican senator to march with evangelical Christian is Mitt Romney. He continues to be a profile in courage.

  2. Hi Sara, Just a couple of comments: Do you mean that 1/5 of the people who got Covid-19 died?!  Sounds like a lot!  Or is my math wrong? What Does racism look like in France? Is it only against the immigrant Africans? Your story about the computer odyssey reminds me of when I lived in Marid and most things like that we a hassle!! Take care,Susan

    1. I think (I’m tired and not looking it up) that the first number is cases right now.
      The second number is the total that have died.

  3. So sorry to hear about your French keyboard. If I’d been waiting as long as you under quarantine conditions, I would have burst into tears when I opened the long awaited delivery.
    Ordered your book yesterday. Looking forward to reading it.

  4. Social distancing is encouraged around the USA. While masks are encouraged in public, I am very disappointed that the majority are not wearing masks.
    We now have a hot spot in Greenville, SC and reopening restaurants for indoor dinning, with social distancing, is suspected.
    I believe there will be many families buying campers and seeing State and National Parks, in our USA.
    Thank you for sharing your views of Paris with us.
    Love reading your posts. They are very well written.

  5. Oh no !!! Tech problems are so frustrating. Discovering the French keyboard, I think I would have wanted to throw the f*ing thing against a wall. If patience is a virtue, you must be very virtuous by now xxx.

  6. Good blog, Sally! In general, Memphis is doing fairly well living with the pandemic. Two months ago, I had decided that I needed a knee replacement. BUT – I have decided to postpone the surgery. I am unwilling to be inpatient in the hospital at the moment. Other than that, Memphis & I are doing ok living with the virus. Trezevant is just beginning to have the the active social life that is generally here.
    I feel for you dealing with your computer troubles. As with your other readers, I do enjoy reading your blogs. I am glad that YOU, and apparently, France are doing well dealing with virus. Stay well & keep on blogging! With love, Susan

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