Random Updates from Paris

It’s been a busy few weeks for me personally. More on that later.

Here’s an update from the French capital…

Restrictions remain in force here in Paris as COVID rates continue to worry public health officials. The less-severe Omicron variant still strains hospital facilities and staff, but not at crisis levels. Only vaccinated citizens and tourists are allowed to visit museums, attend concerts, and sit in restaurants and cafes.

This would appear to be a safe, logical approach if it weren’t for an inconvenient truth: a recent French government study shows that a person’s chances of being infected with the virus increases 98% when the sit indoors at a cafe among 50 people or more.

This would lead one to believe that the government has now adopted the policy of managing the virus, not getting rid of it, especially with this allegedly milder version, until it plays itself out. (A risky but understandable approach.)

Parisians have opted to handle this situation with a predictable mix of patience, elegance, nonchalance, and no small amount of irony. As they do, I will handle it in my own way: ordering my daily coffee and croissant to go, merci beaucoup. There will be time enough to enjoy a sidewalk perch when the storm has passed.

On a (barely) lighter note, our foreign correspondent David wrote me recently, shocked and appalled at the State of the World…at least when it comes to travel attire. He said he felt like a ‘freak’, being one of the few of well-dressed passengers in the airport recently. I cringe to imagine the flip-flops, cargo pants, warm-up suits, and tank tops that engulfed him. Hopefully, he had a cocktail on the flight to soothe his nerves.

He sounded fairly sartorially traumatized. We should all wish him a speedy recovery…and remember to dress nicely as we all start to travel again. Note: those who don’t think it’s possible to ‘dress well’ and also ‘be comfortable’ probably don’t know how to dress. (Get your copy of The Old Money Book or Old Money Style today, if there’s any confusion.)

As I may have mentioned, the French presidential election looms on the horizon. Voters will head to the polls this April to bless President Macron with another term, or hand the reins of power off to another candidate.

Far-right candidates spewing hate and far left candidates boiling with indignation have their niche audiences, it seems. The ‘first round’ of the elections allegedly allows the citizens to ‘vote with their heart’ and support idealistic campaigns. The runoffs that happen in the second round offer them the opportunity to then ‘vote with their head’ and select the person best suited for the job.

I hope that system works this year. The country doesn’t need the vote they made with their heart to turn around and bite them, you know, somewhere else.

There is the fairly moderate Macron, who has, overall, done a commendable job with the economy and the pandemic. (In contrast with US and UK leaders.) Running against him are some scary people with equally scary ideas in the running. France needs a steady hand at the wheel, and European countries need a reliable partner in France.

Finally, Jesse, one of our loyal readers, commented on a recent post. (One about taking time every 30 days to contemplate and plan.) She shared her approach to achieving goals, prioritizing tasks, and increasing quality of life. I thought it was a great comment and deserved a place here.

Enjoy it below. Thank you, Jess. Stay safe, everyone. We’ll speak soon. – BGT

I, too, have a similar practice, although I fear mine’s less sophisticated. I’ve kept a physical, paper monthly planner for years and can’t imagine living without one. I buy a new one at the end of each year from Amazon – a nice, sturdy one, but by no means posh.

Each month, when turning to a fresh 2-page spread and filling in important dates, I copy a few little lists that have formed themselves over the years. This wasn’t intentional – it just happened that I kept a running “to do” list in the sidebar… and it became multiples that now spill over into empty days. There are now four lists, unnamed, but they’re roughly “To Do,” “To Be,” “To Learn,” and “To Keep in Touch.”

The last list never changes, but it’s the most important: it’s my dear friends and family I want to maintain a relationship with and not forget to write or call. “To Learn” is a behemoth now and barely fits into a square no matter how cramped my writing – but that’s because I never consider any skill fully learned. It expands but rarely shrinks. “To Be” includes basic things like “Be humble and kind,” and “Always thank, compliment and appreciate,” as well as anything I might really need to work on about myself.

If I were perfect, I’d always remember; but I’m not perfect, and I’m afraid I’ll become weighed down by my own worries without the daily reminder. “To Do” is increasingly short compared to the rest, which matter so much more – and I see more with age that the others are all that really matter. “To Do” the right thing will follow the rest.

I may start making the monthly ritual a more pleasant one involving coffee and a relaxing environment – and include your Lists and thought-provoking questions.

6 thoughts on “Random Updates from Paris

  1. I empathize with David. I used to travel for business quite a bit and always dressed comfortably but well. The vacationwear, board shorts, flip flops and yes, pajama pants surrounding me was depressing, to say the least.

  2. I recently read an article about a school that has an annual fare. Booths are set up in the gym with titles such as: Insurance, Bank, Groceries, Home (so rent, or mortgage) etc. Each child is given a 35K income and goes around to the booths to live their lives. They must visit each booth but they have the freedom to decide what to buy or not to buy. Children with at least $20.00 left over receive a Kit-kat bar. Those with no money receive a Zero candy bar. What an eye opening experience for them! One boy said he thought he would have more money left over (he ended up with only $20 left but still had bills to pay.) he said he was going to have to re-think his decision to buy a big, flashy truck. I wish this was curriculum in every school.

  3. I question the French government’s number. My understanding is that if a person eats dinner in a crowded restaurant their risk of contracting COVID-19 increases at least ten times and, depending on circumstances, possibly much more than that. A 98% increase isn’t even double the risk (almost, but not quite). That number seems far too low.

  4. Thank you so much for sharing my comment, Byron! I’m honored! I hope it helps someone.

    Be safe, and best wishes to all.

  5. Thank you for another wonderful post.

    May I remind you that in the previous presidential elections, the Front National won 21,30% and 33,90% respectively in the 1st and 2nd round.

    One conclusion could be that, as you suggest, some voted with their hearts. Another conclusion could be that some voted with their hearts, for a reason: unemployment, poverty, social exclusion.

    Let’s be honest: moderate parties unfortunately won’t save those people from their misery. It’s just not a priority.

    One need not look further than America to understand this phenomenon. To be continued!

  6. In France a candidate requires five hundred Mayoral signatures to stand for President. Previously those signatures were ‘anonymous’. No one knew who a Mayor voted for, irrespective of their apparent political leanings.

    Then Mr. and Mrs. Hollande’s little boy changed the anonymity rule. As the French love to act in secret, that cover was gone. The result is that thus far neither of the right wing potentials have the required five hundred. Those apparent Mayoral political leanings are, or would be, laid bare.

    The chances of an OMG or G, or perhaps someone from the nobility, getting in under the current circumstances are therefore in my view, thin. The Wokes will succeed, not through strength, but through the lack of conviction of the non-Wokes.

    OMGs and Gs….Wear those Chinos !!!!

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