Day three. And do I have greater perspective? Probably not. Am I still processing? Yes. Probably for a long time. I wrote the commentary on Amazon and the Flu Shot as a distraction from the carnage but it rests at the back of my mind, constantly.
I went out Sunday afternoon to arrange the details of a turkey for Thanksgiving; my friend and I then walked to Notre Dame. It was closed – but there was a service going on for the families and friends of victims and the survivors. The plaza in front of Notre Dame was empty by Paris standards, especially on the bright sunny day. Even the sun could not raise the mood. The major gardens were all closed. Apparently for safety reasons – to not make targets of groups of people. It would have been a day when Luxembourg should have been overflowing… I heard later that people were gathering in the place de la Republique and leaving flowers and lighting candles. It is the same place where the Charlie Hebdo march ended back in January. No words…
Sirens continued throughout the day. Every time you hear one, you stop and pray. There was a false alarm in the Bataclan theatre area. TV showed people running for cover. But simply false alarm.
This afternoon I had a conversation at a friend’s in Courbevoie, across the Seine from me in a close suburb. We looked out over all of Paris and talked of the events. As the sun set, it was clear that the Eiffel was lit tonight – it was dark on Saturday night. Last night, Sunday, it was lit as usual, but no twinkling lights on the hour. I was curious for tonight, Monday. Instead of going to a Toastmaster’s meeting, I stayed on bus 82 for a closer look at the Tower. As we wound through the Paris streets, I noticed many free spots in the cafes. It was early – but still… The Shangra-la Hotel (very ritzy) had their gates shut and security outside.
When I arrived, the sky was dark and the Eiffel Tower was alight with the tricolor. Blue, White and Red. And yet, when I walked through my favorite Eiffel Tower sightseeing spots, they were almost empty. No one was out.
After filling my heart with that sight, I went home. But before catching the bus, I stood on the bridge at the Eiffel and noticed that there was only one lane in each direction as construction work has shut down the center lanes. And I thought, ah, it would be difficult to drive a speeding car shooting innocent people through this area. And then I remembered, they don’t need, they don’t want, a getaway route. All of them seem to have worn suicide belts – all but one used them and the last guy was shot by the police probably before he could trigger his.
I don’t want to think this way. Damn them.