It has been raining for two days so I have been spending this day of gloom determined to finish reading Romain Gary’s “Chien Blanc,” only breaking for hilarious Hugh Grant interview videos. Of late I have had a penchant for random entertainment, possibly as a mental break from the ennui and predictability of our prolonged confinement. Last week, it was about the Steven Sondheim song, “Someone in a Tree,” every version of which I watched repeatedly over the course of a few days.
The new Covid variants, radical lockdowns in the UK, suspension of flights and once-again delayed family reunions are enough to make me feel an emotional kinship to Jetski Man. Don’t we all just want to bust out at this point? And yet.
In France, new Covid cases are at a stubbornly high of about 15,000 per day, and until that number drops to 5,000 social restrictions will not be relaxed. Restaurants, bars, cafes, gym, yoga studios are still closed — sadly, a necessity in my opinion — and a curfew is in force from 8pm to 6am. There will be no exception for New Year’s Eve. A low-key celebration is proscribed, with no more than six at a festive table.
A report by the Pasteur Institute finds that most new Covid cases in France come from family, friends and co-workers. If you are going to socialize indoors, it is recommended to keep the number down to six people, wear masks, open a window, and disperse within an hour.
My perception is that the French are taking the viral threat quite seriously. Virtually everyone wears a mask, and for the most part, properly. Only 2.5 percent are traveling for the holiday, way down from the usual 25 percent.
The social isolation is getting difficult. It’s come to the point where I get excited for a masked face to masked face visit to the doctor. Luckily, Nice is relatively warm during the winter and we can meet friends outside, for a walk or a chat in a park. Some cafes are open for take-out to serve this sort of situation.
That’s likely how we’ll spend our Christmas. The forecast is good, so a long walk and some spot visits outdoors with friends is what we can hope for.
For all of you, my best wishes for a brighter, healthier 2021.