Newfound Freedom - Monday, November 16th

Until Sunday, we were filling out paper Attestations respecting the limits placed on the various official reasons for leaving home. Then André remembered an app that was recommended on TV, Tousanticovid. It means All against Covid, and it is a hub of information about Covid in one’s area. It enables contact-tracing and theoretically would contact you if you happen to be in close proximity to someone who tests positive soon after or is hospitalized for Covid. It also has a space to create a permanent Attestation where all you have to do is change the reason for going out and the time. The date and time of day when you open the app are displayed automatically. All you have to do is scroll to the time. It then creates that weird square on your phone that can be scanned by officials if you are stopped by any. I know many of you might think that this smacks too much of Big Brother government. But I’m sure you all know that every time you search for something online or set your GPS, your every action is being registered by someone somewhere.

Yesterday, Monday, we decided to walk a good distance to a store called Picard that was farther away from us than the 1 kilometer we are allowed for exercising. But if you go out in your area to buy food, the time and distance restrictions no longer apply. Picard is a 100% frozen food Mecca with lots of organic, sustainably farmed or wild-caught fish, vegetables, prepared meals like veggie lasagna, pizzas, and other labor-intensive combinations. They also sell a myriad of pies, cakes, sherbets, and all sorts of hors d’œuvres, mostly wrapped in puff-paste. Now you might think that you can find all this in your local grocery store, and you probably can, but the quality and taste of these products are really a cut above. In so doing, we realized that as long as we take our shopping cart with us, we can also work in a very substantial walk. That might not sound like a big revelation to those of you who are not in lockdown, but it feels very liberating to us. And we aren’t breaking any rules. And - stocking up on frozen foods means we don’t have to go out to shop as often. We can buy our produce from a quasi-outdoor shop just on the other side of the train tracks, as well as our daily baguette and other necessities.

Everyone here is hoping and praying- if one is so inclined - that the confinement will be lifted by mid-December, that life will somehow return to ‘normal’, and that everyone will be reunited with family all over France just in time for Xmas. I hope so, too. But as our kids have pointed out, seeing us and also being with their own friends isn’t really compatible during a pandemic. Therefore our get-togethers will have to be limited. Frequent testing will be called for. I fear a third wave of the virus after the first of the year, just as this predictable second wave has occurred after a summer and early fall of reopening everything with loose enforcement of the few restrictions put in place. That’s how things are in the US, and the consequences are devastating. Still. I plan to return in mid-January. Maybe by then, we old folks will be able to line up somewhere 6 feet apart and be vaccinated!

Meanwhile, please treat every day as much as possible as if you were in lockdown. It’s not as bad as it sounds.

André (and I) in downtown Meudon on our way to Picard.