Keeping in Touch with the World

Now that so many of us are in mandated isolation, I wonder how you’re keeping in touch with family and friends. Email and texts, of course, keep the basic contacts going, but there’s nothing quite like hearing and seeing someone to give me a lift.

I use FaceTime on my iPad for video meetings with friends and family back in the U.S. who also have Apple products, and I use Skype on my Windows 10 laptop for those in the Microsoft camp. Both work very well, although it’s slightly more complicated to get things going with Skype. The 5-8 hour time difference is a nuisance, however.

There are lots of tips available online for getting the best video meeting results. Among them, I especially like the one that suggests you ensure that your camera angle is level or only slightly upward – this keeps you from looking like a hippo and avoids giving your friends a tour of your nasal passages. Checking the background behind you is also recommended, so that your head isn’t framed within some distracting colors or images.

I’m temporarily marooned here in Paris, as you know, but the embassy keeps sending me notices that all Americans should get out of Dodge right now, or be prepared to stay indefinitely. I’m prepared to stay, especially given the chaos, misinformation, and bad leadership I see happening in the U.S., but I do worry about my visa limits. I hope those limits will be extended or suspended during these strange days.

Cashier in her bio-containment area

I mentioned earlier that some grocery stores here in Paris have taken to swathing their cashiers in plastic as a health precaution. In the image above, you can see an example wherein there’s a small opening at the end of the belt for you to put your items on the belt, and at the far end there’s another opening so you can retrieve and bag your goods. Kind of kills any attempt to make a friendly impression on the cashier or have a conversation. So it goes in the Age of Coronavirus.

Last night we treated ourselves to extraordinary apple tarts. The local boulangerie (bakery) has won prizes for its croissants, its pain au chocolat, and its “Three Kings” cake (they won so many times for the latter that they’re no longer allow to compete). For me, getting in on the whole French relationship with their local baker and their daily consumption of fantastic breads and pastries is something wonderful. The tarts were outstanding!

Yesterday we had a nice Paris Lockdown Lunch based on that old favorite, Beef Stroganoff, washed down with the rest of the Haussmann Bordeaux. Today, we took a decidedly down-market excursion with the distinctly American Tuna Melt, with Veggie Chips and a nice 2017 Beaujolais. The tuna salad included capers, shallots, and sliced cornichons, with a nice sharp cheddar melted over it. Very tasty indeed.

Au revoir!

3 thoughts on “Keeping in Touch with the World

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