May Days

16 May 2021  

France

204 words, lotsa pictures

Our first few years in France we were always ambushed by May.  For this American atheist, the month is chock full of holidays unknown, not celebrated, or occurring at a different time:

  • May 1 – Labor Day (in the fall in the US)
  • May 8 – Victory in Europe Day (not celebrated in the US)
  • May 13 – Ascension Day (some Christian thing)
  • May 24 – Whit Monday (some Christian thing)

Stores and schools are closed, and if any of these holidays falls on a Thursday, you run the risk of another day of closure on the adjacent Friday. If you’re not prepared, as we were not for several years,  then count on either eating out that night, or improvising something with some old pasta, sunflower oil, and freezer burned fish sticks. 

France is funny: there’s the government policy of laïcité (secularism), which among other things dictates what religious clothing may or may not be worn in public (this seems to be mostly enforced against Muslim women), yet the French seem unwilling to apply this same secularism to their calendar. 

It’s been a busy few months, and our team of writers and welders has been busy on other projects. As such, this time ’round it’s mostly a photo round-up. 

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  1. Observations:

    * Loki, the coolest cat EVER. I've never, ever, seen any other cat accompany people on a walk.

    * About a year ago I first noticed discarded masks on the ground. I paused for a moment to consider the novelty of seeing a new type of trash, and (perhaps going too deep) considered how trash is a sort of snapshot in time that reflects society at that moment. The Oregon Trail was strewn with discards (e.g. pianos) that seemed necessary in St Louis but were dead weight in Wyoming. There was probably a time (early 1920's?) when discarded car tires began to appear. And remember when those styrofoam Big Mac containers were ubiquitous?

    * To an American, the sight of a trio of police carrying machine guns is sort of shocking, but in Europe, and France in particular, it's an everyday thing. It seems somewhat logical in airports and train stations; the beach seems a bit extreme.

    1. Loki is looking forward to your next visit, as we all are.

      Oh man, totally forgot about those oversized Big Mac containers. I'm afraid I consumed my fair share of those back in the day.

      I agree about the beach patrol – that was a bit much. Of course, in the US, it's usually the civilians carrying the automatic firearms.

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