It’s becoming more evident that, for now, France is doing better (and therefore maybe we were better prepared?) than the their European neighbours in terms of cases and deaths due to the coronavirus. Today the United States has officially overtaken China in the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases. Only time will tell how well they deal with the crisis and whether or not rushing to “open up” the economy again is a good idea. I recently heard the not-very-funny joke that this virus is being coined “boomer-remover,” meaning it will wipe out much of our elderly generations. Could this be where we are headed? There are still people who believe the disease is not that different from normal flu or that it is a totally “fake” pandemic, or according to that bizarre group Goop, there is no virus, just fear causing deaths!
Whatever you believe, if you are stuck at home like we are, you’ll clearly get this is not fun, that this will likely affect most jobs here (though ironically not so much the elderly who are retired and/or protected by pensions).
Yesterday afternoon I braved a short drive away to the big Spar to get some needed groceries like chocolate and flour. When I got there there were a handful of people shopping and all the staff wearing masks and gloves. The vegetable corner was abundant and sparkling; everything looked so fresh and perfect! They were very well stocked, the fridges full, the aisles stacked high. I found myself stuffing my little caddy with strawberries, blueberries, coriander, crème fraîche, more wine, tortilla chips, bread…everything except chocolate and flour. I was so distracted by how stuffed the supermarket was that I FORGOT to buy the essentials. But I wasn’t going to turn back as I was already well on my way home. I was fuming though and felt like hunting down a policeman so I can beat him into asking me for the darn permission slip that I continue to diligently fill out without ever being stopped and asked for it!! This is going to be the theme of my life, I just know it – keep doing the “right thing” without ever being checked. Grr!! Speaking of doing the right thing though, there are now new prefectoral requirements for leaving your trash 24 hours, closed tight, before putting it in the big bins for collection, another crack down to help contain the virus.
I should stop complaining. Here we are in the middle of the beautiful French countryside where it’s very easy to avoid people, everyone is abiding by the new rules, and no one is homeless. In the bigger town of Cannes though, just over an hour’s drive away, they have opened up the Palais des Festivals (where the Film Festival usually takes place in May) to homeless people needing a safe place to quarantine. I find the French are very good at helping each other when needed the most.
Sad news came from Paris this morning where a 16 year-old-girl died of the virus, in intestive-care, after having just a light cough the week before. Thinking of my own daughter of the same age my heart just broke for her parents. This virus is hitting all ages, it doesn’t discriminate and we can’t afford to take chances. Hope you are keeping safe and well. Hang in there everyone! Sending positive vibes from Cotignac, France.