Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Arrested for Brunching with Friends? Life in France in 2020.

 

Our family of 5 (does my 21-month-old count?) has been invited to brunch this Sunday by another family of four.

I hemmed and hawed, responded with a joke about this ongoing farce, and then accepted.

Will the police break us up? Will their concierge betray us? Should we hide the children in a wardrobe?

I just discovered a further detail from Macron’s speech on Wednesday: we are called upon to mask up in private “au maximum.” (Aghast I announced this to my colleagues, who burst into laughter. It’s all so unreal. I am eternally grateful to them for refusing to wear the mask in our little open space office. It’s an ambiance killer!)

Starting this Saturday, the children have a school vacation (Toussaint) and we are going by train south to see my in-laws. This isn’t allowed either because we will be many more than 6.

Further, just going south feels illicit, like passing into the Unoccupied Zone in 1941.

Lastly, the cherry on the gâteau, as they say here, my husband was stopped by police in the Metro yesterday evening for having the mask below his nose. He talked his way out of the 135€ fine by pleading he was on the phone with me!

My instinct is to laugh, but it’s actually really terrifying. Should we or shouldn’t we go to brunch?

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  1. Seawriter Contributor

    The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. ― Edmund Burke

    That’s the short version. The full one goes:

    Whilst men are linked together, they easily and speedily communicate the alarm of any evil design. They are enabled to fathom it with common counsel, and to oppose it with united strength. Whereas, when they lie dispersed, without concert, order, or discipline, communication is uncertain, counsel difficult, and resistance impracticable. Where men are not acquainted with each other’s principles, nor experienced in each other’s talents, nor at all practised in their mutual habitudes and dispositions by joint efforts in business; no personal confidence, no friendship, no common interest, subsisting among them; it is evidently impossible that they can act a public part with uniformity, perseverance, or efficacy. In a connection, the most inconsiderable man, by adding to the weight of the whole, has his value, and his use; out of it, the greatest talents are wholly unserviceable to the public. No man, who is not inflamed by vain-glory into enthusiasm, can flatter himself that his single, unsupported, desultory, unsystematic endeavours, are of power to defeat the subtle designs and united cabals of ambitious citizens. When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall, one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.

    –Edmund Burke, Thoughts on the Cause of the Present Discontents 82-83 (1770) in: Select Works of Edmund Burke, vol. 1, p. 146 (Liberty Fund ed. 1999).

    But they are not doing this out of evil intent. This is being done “for your own good.” C. S. Lewis has this to say:

    Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

    I can offer no better guidance than that provided by these two men, both wiser than I am. It would inform what I would do.

     

    • #1
    • October 16, 2020, at 5:39 AM PDT
    • 9 likes
  2. 9thDistrictNeighbor Member

    Everything old is new again.

    I have a friend who has four children, so a family of six. She couldn’t take any more of the lockdown here in May, so she rented a house and went to visit an Aunt in South Carolina. The children played in the sunshine. She texted me as they were driving south, saying “Things I’m learning on our drive south. Apparently the virus is more dangerous in Illinois. It’s weird things seem normal.”

    I know laws and practices in France are very different than in the US, but I hope you can make it work and go on the trip.

    • #2
    • October 16, 2020, at 6:04 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  3. John H. Member
    John H.Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    How does one say “Snitches get stitches” in French? 

    I think you should go and I also think that if there’s trouble, it’ll be because somebody – not necessarily or exclusively the concierge – tattles. A lot of people love these abridgements of freedom. But maybe the cops would look the other way, especially if the party is too big to be arrested. 

    • #3
    • October 16, 2020, at 6:13 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  4. Tocqueville Coolidge
    Tocqueville

    9thDistrictNeighbor (View Comment):

    Everything old is new again.

    I have a friend who has four children, so a family of six. She couldn’t take any more of the lockdown here in May, so she rented a house and went to visit an Aunt in South Carolina. The children played in the sunshine. She texted me as they were driving south, saying “Things I’m learning on our drive south. Apparently the virus is more dangerous in Illinois. It’s weird things seem normal.”

    I know laws and practices in France are very different than in the US, but I hope you can make it work and go on the trip.

    Actually it’s the same thing southwards (or at least in the nearby larger cities, St Etienne and Lyon). I lived in Prague after graduating from college and I learned that during communism people used to have little tiny summer houses, almost shacks, with vegetable gardens outside the city and they would escape the endless propaganda there. 

    At the time, circa 2004, I thought wow, the olden days in what Chamberlain called “a very small country far away.” Even though I lived there for two years, the Czech Republic’s history seemed like a picturesque, cool backdrop to normal life.

    It is literally incredible to me that I increasingly understand a small bit of what people went through: the auto-censure first, the lying media and now the State presence. 

    • #4
    • October 16, 2020, at 6:20 AM PDT
    • 9 likes
  5. Tocqueville Coolidge
    Tocqueville

    John H. (View Comment):

    How does one say “Snitches get stitches” in French?

    I think you should go and I also think that if there’s trouble, it’ll be because somebody – not necessarily or exclusively the concierge – tattles. A lot of people love these abridgements of freedom. But maybe the cops would look the other way, especially if the party is too big to be arrested.

    If they arrest us, or reprimand us, I will film it. Also it will involve arresting 5 children including my toddler. It will be something to witness. 

    Figure as well that the two French police were recently gravely assaulted in one of the immigrant enclaves. Firefighters, emergency personnel, and certainly police are regularly assaulted all over the country. 

    It’s definitely easier to try to control people like me and my family. Low hanging fruit. 

    Macron is a coward.

    • #5
    • October 16, 2020, at 6:25 AM PDT
    • 13 likes
  6. CarolJoy, Thread Hijacker Coolidge

    Tocqueville (View Comment):

    9thDistrictNeighbor (View Comment):

    Everything old is new again.

    I have a friend who has four children, so a family of six. She couldn’t take any more of the lockdown here SNIP, so she rented a house and went to visit SNIP in South Carolina. The children played in the sunshine. She texted me as they were driving south, saying “Things I’m learning on our drive south. Apparently the virus is more dangerous in Illinois. It’s weird things seem normal.”

    I know lawsSNIP in France are different than in the US, but I hope you can make it work and go on the trip.

    Actually it’s the same thing southwards (or at least in the nearby larger cities, St Etienne and Lyon). I lived in Prague after graduating from college SNIP during communism people used to have little tiny summer houses, almost shacks, SNIP outside the city and they would escape the endless propaganda there.

    At the time, circa 2004, I thought wow, the olden days in what Chamberlain called “a very small country far away.” Even though I lived there for two years, the Czech Republic’s history seemed like a picturesque, cool backdrop to normal life.

    It is literally incredible to me that I increasingly understand a small bit of what people went through: the auto-censure first, the lying media and now the State presence.

    With the coming of the drone age, it may well nigh be difficult to escape propaganda. As why wouldn’t Big Brother situate fleets of drones to scope out people in more rural areas?

    And with the coming of the electronic harnessing of all humans, it could be that authorities will not let us escape to any place out of the purview of the harnesses. (Donald Trump is “all in” on this too. He made beaucoup monies available so that the firms would not dip into their profit margins in order to help us hicks enjoy the coming 5G installations. No need for them to come up with money for it. It is a matter of national security, so why not let the Fed government pay for it?)

    What is almost as amazing as what the Powers That Be have planned for us is how they announce it as though this dystopian future, just months away from all of us right now, is not something that each and every one of us will gratefully welcome.

    Over the summer, TV magazine “Weekend Edition” in Melbourne Australia let the Talking Heads chat up the remarkable ability of the 5G electronic harnesses to make all of humanity breathe easier.

    With this capability from Big Tech, no longer will we have to fret about how much distance is between ourself and some other human on a city street. Bill Gates conjoined with the Clinton Global Initiative have figured all of this out in advance – we only need to relax and let the new found abilities of big technology take over.

    • #6
    • October 17, 2020, at 5:54 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  7. Lois Lane Coolidge

    Go. Eat. Laugh. Live. If you have to pay a fine for doing these things, you will simply know that you’re not dead because the government is stealing more money from you. At least you will have gotten an experience from this authoritarian tax. 

    • #7
    • October 18, 2020, at 9:51 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  8. James Gawron Thatcher
    James GawronJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Tocq,

    There is only one thing to do. Someone must catch Macron on video without his mask! Let this mask bully be humiliated.

    Viva la France!

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #8
    • October 18, 2020, at 11:03 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  9. Front Seat Cat Member

    Ooh lala! Yes – go to Brunch! Maybe travel in two groups instead of one? I want to know what’s on the menu!

    • #9
    • October 19, 2020, at 6:54 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  10. Jim George Member

    Tocqueville: My instinct is to laugh, but it’s actually really terrifying. Should we or shouldn’t we go to brunch?

    @tocqueville, it pained me to read of how one of the great institutions in life (we are from South Louisiana and thus strongly believe in our old credo “Laissez les bons temps rouler”– I confess I am more than a little nervous quoting that to a Parisian but, as you know, our Cajun French is, to put it charitably, not up to your standards! Please bear with me!)– in Paris of all places! is being limited and restricted in this manner and I thought it might bring a little cheer to you if I referred you to a wonderful article of a few weeks ago in The Federalist entitled “Ignore AOC. Go Ahead And Brunch Like Your Life Depends On It” in which the author squarely refutes the stern admonition of the Representative from New York City that “we” shall never have brunch again! The author sets out a wonderful brief study of the huge role meals play in various societies and religions and then has this to say about brunch in particular:

    Many people consider brunch silly, and perhaps that’s because it is uniquely American. This meal is a summation of two other meals, which can stretch on for hours. We partake in brunch at the end of the week, when work is done, when we can chill for a minute and indulge together in a meal that is entirely about being together. Brunch is a way that we gather and strengthen our bonds.

    On a personal and maybe even bordering on a somewhat selfish note, I must note that My Lady and I are very glad we now live here in Northwest Florida and that instead of “leaders” like Rep. Ocasio-Cortez, we have a Governor who recently lifted all restrictions, for which he has been called every name in the book by those who want to control every minute of our existence. In view of that action, we have so enjoyed engaging in that wonderful institution of which you so lovingly wrote at a superb French Café on the water in Fort Walton– yes, a real French Café, at least in our humble opinion, right here in the Florida Panhandle! Perhaps you will join us if you visit. Here is a photo of our version of brunch on the water!

    We hope this is a sufficient enticement to get you here so you can give a real review of our French Café! 

    And in the meantime, don’t forget: Brunch like your life depends on it!

    Sincerely, Jim.

     

    • #10
    • October 19, 2020, at 10:01 AM PDT
    • 3 likes