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why I’m particularly glad to be in France today.

IMG_4507Here in France, there always seems to be one service or another that’s shutting down in protest of something.   The trains.   The buses.   The airlines.  And then every time you turn around everything is closed for some holiday you’ve never heard of, that usually has something to do with some holy person ascending to heaven.

You can say a lot of things about the French and their work ethic, their politics, their bureaucracy,  but I can honestly say, I’ve never seen their government shut down.

So let me get this straight, America…

The goddamn idiots in the House are shutting down the government over a small point in a puny bit of legislation that they spent countless hours whittling down to nothing?   On our dime?

If they were working for me, I’d fire their lazy, pompous, self-righteous, entitled asses.   Oh wait….they do work for me.   Supposedly.  Can I fire them?   At the very least, don’t Americans have the right to stop paying their goddamn salary?

I’m going to avoid blaming parties and just say that I’ve seen our elected officials on both sides of the aisle take the exact opposite positions they’re taking now, all depending on which party proposed what.   They both sicken me equally (okay, maybe right now I hate the Republicans a wee bit more).   I can’t look at any of them without getting a huge churning knot of rage in my stomach.

Today in France, stores are open, and services are running.  Medical care is about 1/10th the price it is in America.  I’m happy and relieved to be in a country where the news and politicians don’t make my blood boil. Of course, that could be because I don’t understand them.

the flock next door

I’ve mentioned the birds that swoop and circle the sky around here in some sort of formation, like the Blue Angels only not as loud or fossil fuel-consuming.

When they fly overhead, the sound is a soft fluttery, almost purring sound that practically engulfs you — you can feel it.   It’s soothing.   So soothing, I even forget to worry that they might poop on me.   These birds have  fascinated and frustrated me for weeks now (have you ever tried to get a flock of birds to pose for the camera?).

So, I’m waiting for them to perform their daily show and mention them to Gilli (my landlord) who is gardening nearby.

Turns out they’re some sort of wood doves who belong to a neighbor with a “dove court.”   Every day these doves go out and fly around the neighborhood, catching flies in the air (to me, that doesn’t sound like an optimum fly catching plan, but who am I to argue with a wood dove?).   When it starts to get dark, they all fly back to this house across the ravine that’s about 100 meters away from my terrace (as the dove flies). I don’t know why, but this is the coolest thing I’ve ever heard.

Gilli directs me to the dove’s house and I’m off with my video camera to investigate.

I climb the hill and inspect a few houses that seem dove-free.   But then I hear a low humming sound which I realize is a bunch of birds cooing.   I follow the sound.   Please join me…

Very cool.   Now the only problem is convincing myself that “dove” isn’t just a glorified name for “pigeon”.

french zen

This afternoon I found myself stressing out because I forgot to pick up croissants at the market.   Just as I was considering the many reasons that this was the most devastating state of affairs that could possibly befall me, I snorted derisively and said to myself “eh, what the hell, it’s not like after today, there aren’t going to be any more croissants.”.

Then I went back to stressing about everything else.

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