Gone to earth like many, I’m remote working from my little Parisian apartment, in France. Which means the people I’m working with are located in other places, sometimes other cities, or other countries, living different situations. For me, that’s actually pretty usual, but not for everyone.
Remote working has a special challenge to it : your coworkers don’t know what you’re going through at any moment, what is the current situation of your hair, what book or news you’re reading, what thoughts you’re having. And vice versa.
Empathy is the key for the parties involved in remote working. And to raise any doubt, I have some. OK, I have too much. So when I received this message from a co-writer in Malibu – “Pacific Coast Highway says hi!” – I felt sorry for this poor human being on the other side of the planet who still has to drive to go to the beach or the supermarket, while I can just stay home 23 hours a day. And then for an hour – youhou ! – I wander around in a small perimeter full of police officers and army vehicles. But for a change, at least when you’ve been a protest regular on those streets, they’re smiling and kind.
Almost everything had this kind of old-fashioned charm in Paris today. The French capital has transformed itself like you would want it to be, always. Of course, not to see the homeless or the used workers being abandoned to their fate. But the people who matter now, really matter. Hospitals versus banks, bakers versus traders.
The agressive signs of economical performance are gone. The sound of scooters going faster, the pollution in the air, the 21st century non sense. Now, I’m just loving those kids fishing plastic ducks in my backyard, the little tricks we find to have friendly interactions. Like right now, all my neighbors at their window applauding in the night (I had no idea why, until I was told that it is meant to thank hospital workers every night at 8:00). So there we are, looking at each other, smiling, clapping. Strange thing. Spiritualist rituals might be next. But it’s joyful and grateful. Spring is coming.
We’re the ones to feel sorry for, I guess, but I feel sorry for my Californian associate who doesn’t experience this “pure version” of Paris. “How is it there?” I ask. “People are still surfing and skating, just social distancing”, she says.
Today, I’ve been able to ride my board in the sunny, most quiet yet happy streets I’ve seen. Will it happen again, when this is all over ?
I don’t know about the future of it, and my annoying neighbor who decided to clean everything with his super loud pressure washer might end up ruining the communal vibe or be dead, and that’s when you wish it was actual war so you could target the victims, but one thing I know : I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.
I’m starting to enjoy this ephemeral bliss of corona-Paris.