Friday, 1 May 2020

What have you really missed?



It was a question on the radio recently, "What will you be most pleased to return to, post-lockdown?" Of course the usual suspects all said the Pub' or Mcdonalds; it was all too obvious.

Personally the things I miss are less materialistic. Over the past 47 years I've quite naturally adopted many French ways, and the one thing I really miss at the moment is the way we greet each other.

Back in the UK, you're lucky to be met with a mumbled "All right? Yeah, not so bad!" a question and reply all in one blur.

Here in France one ALWAYS shakes hands, and with special friends (of either sex) we fait la bise, before stopping and chatting for half an hour.

Cynical Brits laugh about French men always kissing each other, but la bise is not a kiss as such; it's a greeting between close friends.

At present we are obliged to behave more like Brits. We keep our distance, avoid touching one another, make a passing nod-n-grunt, and remain aloof. I don't like it; it doesn't feel right.

Strange the things one misses. Will we ever return to our old, more gregarious, ways? I doubt it.

42 comments:

  1. I miss my friends and their children πŸ’”. They live in a tiny city flats. Cooped up heartbreaking. They are used to being free range and treating my home as their second home. A huge difference in a pandemic being shut up in a tiny flat and having a house with a garden. I miss them all so. My food bill is less than half tho, wish it wasn't.x

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    1. Our two small grandsons who were living just 150 meters away, are now in Amsterdam in a tiny flat. Not nice for them, and worse for us.

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    2. I've just deleted a silly comment that asked why they are living in a small flat. Everything is relative. Their home here is very big, and they not only have their own large garden, but also masses of open countryside to live amongst. If you exchange that for lockdown in a small central Amsterdam flat, I would have thought the difference was obvious; even to Chloe.

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  2. fait la bise is a lot more popular here now (or was before the pandemic).

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    Replies
    1. It seems to have become popular all over, but in a rather pretentious way.

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  3. Times have moved on. Even in Britain. There is an awful lot of hugging and air kissing going on - even among relative strangers. And men hug each other with abandon, and not just in my son's age group and younger. Shoulder clapping optional.

    I am surprised at what a low view you have of your countrymen; you make them sound rude; "mumble", "nod and grunt"? That's never been my experience - not even before the British adopted their French cousins' ways of greeting each other. Before the two meter rule was decreed there was a lot of jokey elbow bumping by way of avoiding skin contact. Already a distant (what two months or so?) memory.

    U

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    Replies
    1. I was actually holding back on what I really think of most of them (I'm talking of mostly under 30's). If you can get them to stop looking at their bloody phones, you just get a grunt; but mostly not even that. If you honestly haven't witnessed this, you must be living in a very rare, and very pleasant, bubble.

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    2. How many under thirties do you actually know in your little hamlet, come in touch with, even if only in passing? And, if only in passing, what do you expect?

      Let me restore your faith in humanity by telling you that, at least in my presence, I have not encountered such behaviour as you describe.

      Pleasant bubble greetings, breathing rarefied air,
      U

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    3. Just in my tiny hamlet I know four or five. They always greet me correctly, never wander about with their heads in a phone, and are always courteous and respectful. In my nearby town there are plenty of others. It's a different way of life that you may not have experienced. I know which I prefer.

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  4. Guess everyone is different. I opened my door last night to do the 8pm NHS clap.on my doorstep was a hair dye I couldnt get,a packet of 🌻 seeds and a mini bottle of proscecco left by 2 young men 21 and 35years that I used to work with. I retired in january from nursing. At 55, early but did 38years.So some young lads are precious.

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    1. This is certainly bringing the best out in people. I've said it many times, but people get more of a buzz from being nice than they do from being nasty; especially young people.

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  5. I miss my odd afternoon in an empty cinema
    I miss 2 booked theatre trips
    I miss a
    Noisy coffee shop
    That's all

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    Replies
    1. Here there isn't a great deal to miss, which is why I miss a simply greeting. If I was in the UK, I'd definitely miss going to the beach, and having a bowl of jellied eels.

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  6. We still air kiss from afar with lots of noise. I'm sure the real cheek touching will return, one day. It's tradition which goes too far back for one pandemic to stop it. I hope.
    I would just like to sit on the waterfront in this mild May sun, with a coffee, and people watch. From Monday we can do just that, but not at a cafe. I doubt if I'll bother.
    I'll wait a little longer before mingling

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    Replies
    1. I just said something similar to John (above). Watching the waves ebbing and flowing is so calming.

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  7. I miss a human hug. Widowed now nearly three months.

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    Replies
    1. Human contact is the most basic of emotions; even a handshake becomes so important once it's been 'banned'.

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  8. I am surprised in what you say in your final sentence. Surely the habits of a lifetime can't be wiped out so easily and quickly. As for me, it has brought home to me just how alone I am but I'll come out the other side intact and happy and raring to go again.

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    Replies
    1. If it is so, that the virus will continue to lurk for some considerable time, I think people will be frightened of handshakes, etc. I do hope not, but I suspect I'm right.

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    2. Fear seems to have really hit home for some. I miss my freedom.

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  9. I miss my frequent walks in the woods with my coffee, often with friends, in The Woodlands afterwards. Most of all, though, I miss my visits to my friends in the Glasgow area and, closer to home, my family. Almost everything else about the self-isolation is very positive for me.

    On the subject of greetings I do miss the close contact and I agree with Ursula in a lot of ways because even the taciturn picture many have of Scotsmen is not, in my circles anyway, the norm any more. Many of my friends now greet me with a hug when 30 years ago I'd have felt quite uncomfortable being hugged by a man.

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    Replies
    1. I have always kissed my sons (and my daughter), but my father wouldn't have dreamt of such a thing. Times have changed.

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  10. Well, first of all I do NOT miss kissing greetings. Hate it. Especially with people I don't actually like all that much but am obliged to meet socially. I miss the freedom to go out wherever I want. I miss my daughter who was supposed to come home from Uni the day lockdown was imposed.

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    Replies
    1. Do what I do; thrust your hand out for a handshake, before those people go in for a kiss. It tells them what you think, without being rude.

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  11. I want to be taken out for a drive around our beautiful West Wales countryside. To see the sea for the first time in months, to go over the brow of a hill and see for miles.

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    Replies
    1. I can understand that. When one is used to seeing the sea regularly, it's a real deprivation not to.

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  12. I miss being able to go into our small local town to stroll along the promenade and pop into the coffee shop for a coffee and cake and chat with people. Just normal, everyday things we took for granted.

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    Replies
    1. Lady Magnon was just saying that she misses being able to jump in the car when she pleases, and go buy bread (and buns).

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  13. I think France will return to its old ways of men kissing men, as I hope we return to our old handshaking ways. I really hope so. "All right" would be "Orright" where my partner comes from in England and the only reply is Orright.

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    Replies
    1. I think it'll be a while before we return to our previous ways. Orright?

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  14. I miss everybody and the times we all spent together. My family and friends are all huggers and I wonder if I will ever know that feeling and touch again. It is such a great loss.

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    Replies
    1. It's the fear of 'closeness' that is so worrying, when what we all really need is the opposite.

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  15. Nothing really except missing Kat who is on leave this week and was supposed to be spending it with us at home. We haven't seen her since October.

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    Replies
    1. That's a shame. Skype is good, but not the ideal substitute.

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  16. The very question that gets brought up in conversation most days. How much of life will return to normal.

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    Replies
    1. It's what we all want to know, and I expect there are as many different answers as questioners.

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  17. I miss "la bise" also, and being able to go out without worrying if I have my attestation with me (but hopefully just one more week and we'll be free)!

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    Replies
    1. I keep a pen with my attestation in the car, and simply change the date. I haven't been asked for it yet, so have no idea what they would say. Frankly.....

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  18. What do I really miss?????? Nearly nothing. We are not go-go-go people, so we are not "hankering" to get-out!

    Hugging family, of course! That goes with out saying. Our youngest "Grand" is 10 today. And we can not gather and sing to him and watch him open presents.

    But other than that, I do not misssssssss.

    On the other hand, my husband is fed up with Being Told He Can Not Do This Or That. Not that he wants to goooooo. He just doesn't want to be TOLD, he can not go. -grin-

    So I have to give him Pep Talks!

    Point out to him, it's not that he can't, it's that he is told not to. And then,he goes out in his work shop, and does exactly what he wants to do. -smile-

    "Tra la, it's May"
    🌱🌸🌱😊🌱🌸🌱

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. None of it really bothers me at all other than, as I said, not being able to shake hands etc. I do enjoy meeting a neighbour on his tractor, and chatting for half an hour.

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  20. F's brother who lives in NZ and close to the 2011 earthquake in Christchurch opines that these events define 2 kinds of people (and there are none in between): those who are anxious and afraid and withdraw from it, and those who 'run' towards it, awestruck by the power of nature and the havoc it can wreak. I guess they (he and F) are lucky to be the kind who embrace it and believe change is opportunity ......if the disease doesn't kill them first. To be fair neither are flouting the 'rules', but both agree with that sentiment about hating being 'told what to do' even if it is the sensible thing that they might have done anyway.

    ReplyDelete

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