Watching the greenish-brown waters swirl and swell beneath the Pont au change, perchance to carry off a selfie-snapping tourist, does certainly capture the imagination of some. However, it is not the rising waters below (ici-bas), but the lowering clouds above (là-haut) that have captured imaginations in this famous Somewhat Luminous City on the Seine.
Let’s keep in mind that in Paris, one can make a good economic case for unemployment as opposed to working. In short, life ain’t bad. Also, getting a good photo of some things is really a challenge. One has to weigh carefully the trouble of being forced to trouble yourself to get an arresting image against continuing your promenade de dimanche with Karine, who just happened to be in an, ah, uneasy mood…
What is sinister news in Paris, therefore, isn’t the same as in, say, Kinshasha or Raquaa or Beijing. Strikes, for example, are mostly unrealizable threats made by comfy-looking union bureaucrats.
Actual work stoppages or picket lines or slowdowns touch small numbers of poorly-selected but generally helpless strategic targets. They are generally carried out by relatively well-paid, tenured public services-workers. These men - and they are virtually all men - use an antique rhetoric of insurrection and social-incendiarism that is mostly directed at sympathizing left-wing politicians. And while they do manage to truly harass segments of the more public-services dependent and suburban population, other than disappointing people hopeful for change and provoking hours of bilious TV-yelling matches, they are pointless.
True, many staff at the famous museums along the Seine, as well as maintenance and emergency personnel, will be working overtime to ensure that absolutely nothing will happen. Some may actually have to cancel their girls’ night out or put off the postponed visit to an aging and rebarbative relative. So far, they’ve been successful in holding back the possibility of real problems. Just today, the experts say, the rivers are falling back to more manageable levels.
But, really, it’s not the fate of waterproof storage along the Seine or strikes that are getting people worked up, or, rather, down. It’s the the overcast and rain, which is really tough to live with and really very difficult to take as an action photo.
The weather has been mostly cool, grey and rainy since at least January 1st, I believe. It sure seems like it, anyhow. That’s what counts for us. We don’t care a bit if you think it’s frivolous; we’ve got the Seine for soaking heads. Keep it in mind and get on with your selfie.
It has rained so pitilessly during this particularly interminable period since the first of June that I personally have lost three (3) umbrellas and have felt obliged to buy a fourth (4th). I have got so used to smelling like a wet dog that I have not used the foolish thing, in spite of the constant spitting and spluttering of the sky.
Karine is typical when she says, “Mais, mon Tracy, c’est le mois de juin!” That’s it. In June, for pity’s sake, short sleeves and floofy skirts are normal; hoodies and muddy sneakers are an abomination.
I have, personally, witnessed hats on people who weren’t getting married or in some religious movement or another.
However, good news is here. At 6 pm today, June 5, at the corner of rue des Pyrénées and rue de l’Ermitage, the sun poked out of the clouds and illuminated a whole square of asphalt in front of the gym. To the great delight of his little family, the customers at the café on the corner and myself, a man burst into a comic but quite sincere version of the halleluiah chorus.
Météo France to Paris: The worst is over! Halleluiah!
Pourvu que ça dure! ;-
- Tracy Danison