Thus far, every night I have been here, like clockwork, there are workers who power wash the streets for no less than three hours at time. I’m not really sure why because when I go outside in the morning I typically have to dart around the dog poo and trash flung all over the streets. Of course, it would probably be worse if they didn’t do it all, huh? GROSS! But, it does make me wonder, in the midst of recent protests in Marseille, over the government’s newly proposed double taxation on health insurance policies to help get the country’s ass out of debt, is power washing the streets money well spent? Then again, since there is a fresh fish market right on the water in Vieux Port, where you can pick out your fish, they gut it right there and then you can bring it to the nearest restaurant where they will cook it for you (moo moo and all)….
Maybe the whole power-washing plan should stay in the budget because even the Police aren’t sure what to do about the financial mess.
Alas, I was startled abruptly out of these ponderings of French Government policy, as I was sitting in yet another church this afternoon, when a woman came in and sat down with a breeze of disheveled energy and angst. She fidgeted around the in pews for about five minutes and then disrupted everyone again, in the midst of their afternoon prayers, when she left. Enter stage right, a man from the office. He storms across the rows of pews, stops in the middle to face the sacrificial alter, kneels, crosses himself, then continues towards stage left. Beginning of the scene, he yells at her, for literally, only God knows what (remember I don’t really speak French very well, or basically at all) and demands that she leave (at least that is what I am gathering transpired by his hand gestures and tone of voice). She argues with him for some time, and then gives up. He then crosses back towards stage right, walking through pews, stops in the middle, faces the sacrificial alter, kneels, and crosses himself. This scene replays three more times and then the woman finally surrenders and leaves the church. Now, I am not sure what she did to offend this man, or the church, but at one point he looked at me and gestured the universal “she is loco in the cabeza” sign. If that is true, then wouldn’t a church be exactly the place she is supposed to be?
Since I was much too upset now to deliberate on protesting insurance and taxes, I left the church and headed for Parc Longchamps, which was a long ass ways away by the way, but well worth the trek to get there. It is the first place in four days that I have found in Marseille that doesn’t smell of shit and fish guts, just lovely fall leaves on the trees and the smell of waffle cones being baked for ice cream. Tired from the walking, I opted for my traditional afternoon nap in the park, when I woke find yet another pigeon staring me down – I think they may be following me (trying to steal my 1.60€/bottle of wine).
There were so many families gathered around the park – it made me think we are missing something in our culture. It was wonderful to witness parents interacting with their children, playing hide-and-seek, or hunting down acorns to smash with a rock. It is rare that I see parents PLAY with their children, even the ones that do take their kids to the park in America – let alone in the middle of a Wednesday afternoon. I would love to see Americans adopt a bit more of a Lassiez-Faire attitude for our lunch hours….wouldn’t you?
Ooooo – I know! Let’s start an official protest – and wear shirts and have banners and stickers, and be organized and shit! Although, once the government conceeded, we would probably do the proper American thing and work right through lunch….our endless means to distract ourselves from enjoying the life we work so hard far is just senseless. If we stopped for a moment to have a look around, we may determine that we should have as many little pastry shops on street corners as the French do here… enjoying and afternoon treat is far too underrated of an event in life…..oh little bakeries on every corner with your wonderfully decadent pastries, how I will miss you dearly…….