In my fantasy, the sparrow, a typical thrush from this region of France, flew in a gust with the evening and the cries coming from the train.
“Madam, wearing a mask is compulsory… put it on, if you like,” I began, in English.
The lady in question, slender and downright emaciated, her thick-lensed glasses hanging from the tip of her nose, wore a surgical mask in that now classic transgressive kama sutric position under her chin. Not only that: he was coughing, he was coughing a lot, he was coughing like a manic phlegm killer, and finally he coughed in my face, sitting next to him.
“Je tuss, je tuss,” she protested, without lifting her mask (forgive my French, literally), coughing even more. And refused to put on the mask. As far as I understood, exactly because she was coughing. Eeer … wot.
I’ll spare you more details. Let’s say it got out of hand quickly, from I was silent, I cough to cough and protest even more, “you don’t bother me”, and I raise my voice, evoking old-fashioned and old-fashioned ideas like respect, solidarity and the pandemic . Holy ignorance of this miserable soul, sitting under a giant sticker which underlined the obligatory nature of the mask on the train. I cough, I cough. I sent her to shit and I changed my car.
… Just to see the train inspector answer the phone and, oh, burnt burn, take off the mask to chat happily.
It was my first trip on land public transport since the pandemic began almost a year and a half ago. Objective: to visit my brother, who lives near Toulouse, France. In hand, my Covid certificate, an international European document certifying that I have completed the vaccination protocol and that I am therefore able to cross borders within the European Union.
In the bus, a few hours before taking the train between Toulouse and the small town of Cazères, I had already had other occasions to get upset.
The Frenchwoman in the back of mine politely put on her mask when I politely asked her. I was moved, I almost wanted to hug her.
The guy further back with the nappa sticking out, probably because he smells like Barceloneta’s latest paella and doesn’t care about that kakatoa girl who thinks he can lead a buck, pretended not to. not listen and made a contemptuous face.
Truth: it’s boring, boring, and too embarrassing for someone to tell us to put on the mask; so thinking we’re mean kids sticking snot under the desks at school?
Finally, at a stop on the long 6 hour trip, I ran into people eating quietly inside the bus. Crumbs everywhere. Here, as there and elsewhere, eating, talking and any other gesture that involves removing the mask in public transport is prohibited.
My gaze met that of a girl who, in turn, stopped with the croissant in her mouth, perhaps expecting a confrontation. At that time everyone on the bus knew me, because at the start of the trip I got up to help the sympathetic and disillusioned Bulgarian driver explain to the passengers that the mask is mandatory, CARAYO. Tired, this time I didn’t say anything. Can I be the suitcase of history, the spoilsport, the “heavy” one. That’s right. Corn –
I am telling this story to illustrate the lack of cooperation that, yes, one can find anywhere. Because Brazilians tend to think of Europeans as superior, educated, exemplary. Hay at all.
Lately, I have been particularly amazed by my conversations with various French people. Among them, the idea that the pandemic is a government conspiracy to control bodies and minds is common. And I have heard more than one explain why he refuses to be vaccinated: “my body, my periods”.
Next time I will go blablacar. Or I don’t see my brother for another 2 years, looking at the wall at home and thinking: my wall, my rules.
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