Here they are, the striking bears. I don’t know how they feel about their pensions and retirement at 62, but they certainly are worried about real estate speculation of their caves!
I found this cute set up in a window of a local business/community outreach/neighborhood association called Microlithe in the 20th arrondissement of Paris.
According to news reports, lots is happening in France because of the grèves et manifestations, or strikes and protests, over the proposed increase of the retirement age. How have I been affected? Well, so far, the only real effect I have felt was a super-crowded bus last week, when riders were being refused entry because it was just too full (they were running fewer buses less frequently that day), and people seem tense because of transportation inconveniences and uncertainty of schedules and over what was open and what was not in the public sector. In the earlier strikes, some schools in and around my neighborhood were closed, or some teachers within the schools were striking while others were present. There was some uncertainty with the family I have been helping out as to my own schedule with them because of these things.
Last week, I heard local high schoolers gathering in the streets and protesting. Mostly what I heard them hollering was the name of their high school.
Other than that, the strikes have not affected me very much to my knowledge. I’ve wondered if perhaps the slim pickings in my local Leader Price the past couple of weekends has been because of striking transportation workers and closed refineries leading to gas station runs and closures. Paris-based celeb food blogger David Lebovitz was lamenting the fact that his local Franprix was totally out of butter a couple of days ago on his Twitter page. I queried back whether it could be the strikes affecting food supply as Leader Price was the same, and guess what? I got a reply from him!
I know. I feel a little hypocritical putting this here. Especially after being Ms Ranty Pants about Paris Popular Blogs and how they get sometimes up my nose. He is Paris Blog High School‘s Prom King, after all.
You know how when you are just one of the fairly normal kids in high school, and hanging out with your fairly geeky group, mostly minding your own business, hoping to pass your French test and get a good grade in the class, wondering sometimes what you are going to be when you grow up, trying to fit in, but not too hard because that seems desperate and dumb, and in and through this feel very conflicted about the “popular crowd,” simultaneously making fun of them/resenting them and yet wanting to be one of them, all at the same time? Remember how all that felt? And then, one day, the cutest, most popular guy in the school pays attention to you, responds to something you said to him as you passed in the hallway. You feel a little embarrassed around your geeky friends to whom you have just been bitching about that same popular crowd he hangs out with, but you are also thrilled. Your heart starts fluttering, and you start furiously blushing because OH MY GAWD, HE SPOKE TO ME.
Yeah, that was me. First thing I did was go get the screen capture of the Tweet as proof, lol.
I’m 42. Can anyone tell me when life finally stops feeling like high school? The older I get, the more I see that those same dynamics are still in play, just like a never-ending John Hughes film.
(And just in case he is lurking, every comment I have ever made praising your writing, dear David, has been 100% sincere and genuine. I have a feeling you may not have been the most popular guy in high school, and know just how it is to be one of the lowly folk, and know what I am writing about here. It’s easy to pick on successful people, simultaneously admiring them while resenting them, isn’t it. I really do try to have grace and generosity of spirit towards all people. Sometimes it is easier than others, though…)
Back to the strikes.
I suspect that the state of my local Leader Price is as David says — a bit of bad management. But I also have a feeling that the transportation issues in France because of the strikes may be contributing some to the situation. Also, I remember at this time last year the shelves were more naked in what seemed to be a pre-holiday clean out of shelves and store inventory before the giant influx of food and goods for the Christmas holiday, which is a mere eight weeks away at this point. I think mostly they are making room on the shelves for all that stuff that will be coming in. I’m going to try to stop by mid-week to see what the state of the store is like. I’ll let you know.
I’ve been keeping up with what’s going on on France 24 in English, and reading up on my usual blogs. My fellow blogger Shannon of Je Ne Sais Quoi posted some bloggers’ opinions on her blog as well as on Bonjour Paris. Also on Bonjour Paris, I’ve been keeping up with and appreciating posts by Michael Barrett. So if you live outside of Paris or France, and want to know more about what is going on that is not from CNN (which always seems to blow things entirely out of proportion) but from local folks, those are some good sources from you.
I already made reference to my last post. I was clearly having a “Fed Up With Paris” moment or five, and your empathy and suggestions really helped me out! Almost immediately, I started to feel free of the toxic buildup that had been accumulating, and I started to look around me with greater appreciation and gratitude.
I was rewarded last week for keeping my eyes of gratitude open, and putting on some grateful glasses.
This is the view from the balcony of the family I am “helping out.” It was sunset. Just like the Grinch, with this view in sight, my heart grew three sizes too big, and melted my heart of stone.
I mean, how could anyone see this sunset over Paris and NOT get a little verklempt, eh? You’d have to be a total heartless, robotic Borg-creature to not be choked up by this.
And then it got even better.
I caught a glimpse of this around the corner of that rooftop.
I think the photo says it all.
I’m hoping to focus some more on some “gratitude posts.” I have a list of at least 10 things I am grateful for here in Paris. I’m not sure if I am going to create a “blog schedule” for writing about it, or anything like that. But my mindset has shifted with getting the rant off my chest and with being open to appreciating Paris a little more than I had been able to recently. I’m focusing more on MY view of Paris and what it means to me, not just about what the popular kids are saying at school. We’ll see what comes of it.
What about you? What have you been grateful for this past week? What has touched you, and made you feel more warm towards life? Has anything made your heart of stone grow three sizes too big?
Comment below, or write your own post and link it in here.
Y’all take care. See you in the bloghood again real soon.
Over and out.
(an alien parisienne)