Chez Soi

Adventures of a Year Abroad

Safe, but…

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uk telegraph taxi-paris_2694943kI was in a cigarette-scented cab from CDG, window opened slightly for relief, coming home from a Zurich SDN meetup when I heard. Sirens all around us made the driver call someone (and roll up my window as he listened) and then he shared…in French that I only partially understood that 3 explosions had occurred. Wife and kiddo were at Bond movie nowhere near the action but not home when I arrived… which felt weird but I was pretty sure they were safe. They texted about 20 mins later.  I waited with a box of Sprüngli chocolates, a Swiss peace offering for missing family movie night.

Instant comparisons to Charlie Hebdo, but this is different in approach and scale. And response.  Yesterday morning we went to Bon Marche high-end department store to exchange something.  We arrived about 11:40, just in time to hear a (loud, repeated, bilingual) announcement that the store would close at noon “due to the events of last night.”  We left the store and walked back home, very irritable, snapping at each other for minor things.

I think outdoor markets are all closed as well, though grocery stores seem open. We’ve read that the American Church in Paris will hold services this morning, probably with heavy attendance in terms of both congregation and security detail.  Kiddo’s school sent an email: school schedule will hold steady, though excursions cancelled and no parking or gathering near entrance, same as post-Charlie.

We have this contrary feeling of wanting to hunker down inside, and also wanting to get out and burn off pent up energy somehow.  I want to go for a long run, justifiable as I’m signed up for Paris Marathon in April (which of course now reminds me of Boston’s event).  Indeed, I would be running instead of typing but phone (with running app) wasn’t charged, and I’m missing a sock but don’t want to disturb the sleepers.  That means I’ll probably not run till after church.

Gut reactions are all over.  I was already stressing a bit over unrelated news from a pre-flight phone call.  Now in the back of my mind the unrelated news is all tangled with emotional reaction to the violence. On the other side, there is this rush of empathy for victims and their families. I don’t yet know if all my colleagues in Paris are safe. Nilofer found the #PortesOuvertes hashtag on Twitter and for a while in the wee hours post-event we thought we would be hosting a stranded friend-of-friend college student. Went to sleep expecting to be awoken by the doorbell, but it turned out she managed to get unstranded somehow.

I feel multiple urges… First is to hug, to physically embrace, all the diverse citizens of Paris.  It’s a mental image of tolerance and solidarity.  Next is revenge against the brainless intolerance of extremism, wholehearted support for all-out campaign to squash them.  Plus a nagging thought that somehow my personal petro dollars are funding them.  And of course that visceral need for the 10 (or 12?) mile run mentioned earlier.

Usually I like to find a clever little finish to a blog post.  Nothing comes to mind.

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Author: curtbeckmann

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