If you’re reading this post, it means I’m in Paris.
I scheduled it to launch on arrival day—precisely 3 days and 16 hours from when I wrote this sentence. The time has come for Covid and me to coexist; I’m not afraid.
Nor am I flippant. I wear a mask, avoid crowded places, and wash my hands with the rigor of a surgeon. I’m fully vaccinated and hence applied for, and received, the passe sanitaire which is required everywhere in France to enter restaurants, coffee shops, museums, and high speed trains. My plans involve all of these things.
Pat and I will fly nonstop on Air France from Washington Dulles to Charles de Gaulle. It’s a requirement of Air France that everyone onboard wear a medical grade mask, and we will—gladly.
In short, I believe this is a safe trip—not only for me, but also for those I’ll interact with. On these terms, I’m ready to reengage with the world. I will gladly accept the hassles of this new normal.
As of today, 77.8% of the eligible French population are fully vaccinated. The vaccination rate has skyrocketed since a law was passed that dictates one must be vaccinated in order to partake in the bounty of French life (I’m paraphrasing). It’s no surprise: Threaten a Frenchman with banishment from all cafés, and he’ll get the jab.
We will be gone six weeks. Sure, it’s a long time to predict exactly what may happen, but life at its core is unpredictable. Bottom line, we have the wherewithal to manage through disruption. I won’t be deterred by the come-what-may.
Yet despite the innate unpredictability of the human condition, arrival day will be meticulously scripted—devoid of any and all surprises. If you are reading this on September 8th, I’m working my schedule now.
First, I’ll savor an espresso and croissant. Maison Landemaine is closed on Wednesday (major trip planning mistake. I never arrive in Paris the day my favorite boulangerie is closed), but I’ll figure something out. Then I’ll walk our neighborhood and hopefully run into some old friends. After a shower and a short nap, I’ll head through the marais, over onto the islands and check out the progress on Notre Dame. Before turning home, I’ll drop into Shakespeare and Company and most likely buy a book. Dinner will be a pizza at Ober Mamma followed by a stroll down Richard Lenoir. I’ll fall into bed exhausted, thrilled.
I’ve lived this day a hundred times before. I hope to live it a hundred times again. But on this particular day, I won’t think about any of that. I’ll relish each moment and stay fixed in the present. To quote Eleanor Roosevelt (or Ted Lasso—your choice), “Today is a gift. That’s why we call it ‘the present’.”
Oh Paris, you are one of the great gifts of my life. I’m on my way.
No wait. It’s the present. Thank you, thank you. I am here.
Categories: Life in Paris