Jet lag, Macron and Technology

Ok, Macron first.  I’m not going to write about him and how he won the French presidential election.  Everyone else has written about it.  What I can say is that among my friends, mostly American, everyone was holding their collective breath.  The media was saying he would win by a landslide 60% to Le Pen’s 40%.  But we had all heard that before with Brexit and with Trump.  No one wanted to be the one to say it out loud and then be wrong.

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So it was with a huge sign of relief that the French went to bed last Sunday night knowing that their new President would be Emmanuel Macron or, as Le Match is calling him on their front cover, The Kid.  I went to sleep hearing horns honking and voices cheering.   I am in the 17th arrondissement and the victory party was in the 1st at the Louvre.  So there were many happy people that night.

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The hardest is yet to come

The majority of people were happy that Marine Le Pen lost.  No one really knows what a Macron presidency will look like.  Many in France didn’t vote or voted by leaving their ballot blank.  Banker and racist to these people are equal in their sinister meaning.  Macron’s party, Onward (On marche) is one year old.  He now must have members standing for election in the next months and they must win.  He needs the strength of his own party in order to achieve anything.  He is the elite and no one is sure what that means.  But I remind people that FDR and JFK were also the elite and we Americans look back on those two as two of the greatest Presidents in US modern history.  So Onward!

I have been back in Paris for 11 days.  I had probably the worst jet lag I’ve ever had.  Friends were saying I made no sense when I talked and for the first three or four days, I had the affect of being on drugs.  It occurred to me after five days that I was still less than three months from a serious hip operation.  I had been doing so well, walking a number of miles a week, throwing away my cane! and acting as if I was totally recovered.  But I’m not.  The doctor says there is 90-95% recovery in the first three months then it takes an entire year to have 100% recovery.

Standard jet lag lore is that it requires one day of recovery for every time zone one goes through.  I went forward nine time zones coming from Oakland, California to Paris.  I think my body may have gone into a bit of shock with the altitude, the jet lag and the recent surgery.  Sure enough, nine days after landing, I started feeling human again.  I wanted to explore this new neighborhood I’ve landed in while looking for a permanent place to live.  The weather has gotten a bit warmer and is much more inviting.

Something I keep getting reminded of and feel extremely grateful for is the importance of technology for someone like me.  I haven’t had a working french phone until today and the Wifi in my little studio was, at first, nonexistent and then very sketchy while I tried to figure out what was wrong.  On Thursday, I spent 1 hour at the SFR boutique with my not very good french (it’s amazing how much one can forget in four months) and my computer until the young man worked everything out.

I think it’s possible for someone like me to travel because WiFi, the internet, Skype keeps me connected to the world at large.  It’s very hard to feel lonely.  Cut all that off and it’s me in this small studio apartment unable to reach out to communicate.  It’s a blessing I love to read so much – because that is what I did – read 4 books in less than two weeks.

I don’t like reading about the kind of hacking the world experienced yesterday.  I feel grateful for my computer and WIFI every single day and want nothing to ever go wrong. Cyberspace is the Wild, Wild West.

A bientôt,

Sara

Wednesday morning, Nov. 9, 2016

Dear Friends,

I went to bed last night not knowing a result but it was pretty clear which way the wind was blowing.  I looked on at the commentators in admiration as the night dragged on and they stayed cool, clear headed and just reported the facts.  I went to bed because I couldn’t stand it anymore.

I woke up this morning to the result I saw coming.  The country has a President-Elect.  It’s not Hillary Clinton. All my city and county results were almost exactly what I wanted.

My friends will think I’m being naive.  I am refusing to say anything with hate in it.  I have not turned the TV on but I know that there are protests happening all over the country. It’s certainly a way of getting anger out!   And there is plenty to be angry about.  One thing you can say about Donald Trump is that he didn’t make false promises.  He did not run on unifying the country.  He has no intention of trying to bring together blue and red.  He also made it very clear that he believes in Revenge.  I suspect that will be his number one priority: to get revenge on all those who weren’t with him.  So if you happen to be a member of the blue group or a man named Paul Ryan, there is definitely difficulty ahead.  The similarities to 1933 Germany are striking.  I am looking forward to reading Op Eds from people much smarter than I am on how to move forward.

09eveningss-slide-1PV8-articleLarge.jpg                    Protests in Oakland, California where I am at the moment.

A friend called me and told me to listen to Hillary’s concession speech.  Which I did.  What a woman!  Although I’m sure she was in shock, her speech was gracious while admitting her pain.  And she urged we give Trump open-mindedness.  No one seems to be listening.    I also listened to Kaine, Obama and then Trump.

But what is on all the airwaves is: how could the media have gotten it so wrong.  I was in the UK, two days before the Brexit vote.  It never occurred to me that Brexit might win.  The cab driver who took me to Exeter airport told me that it would win, “just watch” she said, “The leaders have no comprehension what’s happening in this country”  She voted against but she had her finger on the pulse much more so than the media or the leaders.

Seems it was the same for the US.  The media had given Hillary a 75% chance of a win. I believed the media.  I will be be very interested if a consensus is ever reached about the media.  What I saw last night, when NBC put up the map with the red states and the blue states, was that the country had turned red with blue hot spots.  People are pissed off at everyone, at the government that is always in a stalemate, at anyone who represents the establishment.  It’s not dissimilar to me when I was 20, 21, 22 years old and we didn’t trust anyone over 30 years of age.  We wanted to change the world and we caused quite a disruption.  Our one great coup was forcing the end of the Vietnam war.  What will happen with this war?

So many questions.

Please feel free to leave your comments and predictions.  But please no hate statements.     Thank you,

A bientôt,

Sara