Wednesday, May 14, 2003
By the time you read these words, France will already be crippled by a massive strike of public sector workers in Paris, due to a proposed pension reform.
I am an American, so I care little about what piddling events transpire an ocean away. And it's a big ocean, not one of those fake oceans that seventh graders always name last on their geography quizzes, like the Indian or the Meditterranean.
So as a citizen of the world's lone hyperpower and proud owner of a sizable piece of prime Mesopotamian, petroleum-rich real estate, I must worry about how this French strike is going to affect my life. And I'm coming up short.
There are all of the obvious jokes: there will be a severe shortage in white flags exports, it's going to be really difficult to find a decent wheel of brie, and, of course, nary a mime will darken the streets of my town. I haven't really had an occasion to surrender and I'm not all that hot on brie to begin with. The mime thing will hit me where it hurts, but I may be able to weather the storm until this Gallic ugliness subsides. And I suppose that Marie, a French waitress in my favorite brassiere, may return home to Paris to join her countrymen in protest. But there's an Italian pastry shop right around the corner with a counterperson who's been giving me the dirty eyeball while fingering the cannoli. Italians are just as hot-blooded as the French, without all the annoying political opinions.
So strike away, Jacqueline and Monique. Emmanuelle and Amélie, don your sandwich boards and raise your signs.
I've developed a taste for espresso.