On not catching a break.

2020 truly is a bottomless pit of despair.

After spending two months in quarantine, worried for the world, it feels almost anticlimactic to be worried for family and self. But here it is. The slow erosion of the past weeks has left our resilience in tatters. As the rhythms of the personal and the professional are at the lowest ebb, we still need to trudge on and believe that everything is a cycle.

Now is the time for care: care for self, care for others, time to not reflect and to simply survive. Time to be thankful, as well, that our family has managed to weather storms before and has grown, improbably, stronger at the core.

But damn is it tiring, right now.

Soft Spoken Spaces

I’m lucky enough to follow Teju Cole on Facebook.
in these trying times, he’s a soft spoken harbor of calmness and reflexion.
Yesterday evening he simply asked:”How are you doing? What’s hardest? What’s helping?” and the outpouring of raw emotion was heart-wrenching. But to me its also much more a testament to resiliency and humanity than any self-congratulatory 8pm applause sessions.
Here’s my own reply:

Better than I thought we would. But we’re in an easy place: roof/jobs/relatively low maintenance kids and the French socio-political system is responding relatively sanely. Hardest is realizing a lot of things that should change WON’T change: the slow erosion of our welfare system, despite daily evidence of its usefulness, is still on the agenda; the self-congratulatory 8 pm applause sessions that serves as absolution for all the selfishness … What’s helping is the knowledge that my family is in a place now that it can survive this thing together. It probably would not have been the case a few years ago. I’m grateful every day. And frankly, the fact that people like you are fostering spaces like this comment thread is soothing – in a very stark, very harsh, very real way, but believing in our shared humanity is allowing ourselves to be fragile and flawed in front of each other. (Ps: and the Music! Of course)

Collapsing world

It’s 6 in the morning. This thing that’s going on around the world is starting to mess with me in insidious ways. 

Because I have it easy, I thought my only job was to stay at home, take care of my family, be strong, and go on working remotely. 

But there’s a weariness that’s creeping in from reading about the train wreck that is the US, and that’s probably not going to stop, or the less dire but still worrying train wreck that is Europe. I’m already tired from the fight that’s going to happen AFTER all this. Because I can see the reflexes: the closing in, the xenophobia, the stupidity. And the voices calling for reason and maybe a bit of change in the way we do things are few and far between. 

Because I have it easy, I feel I can’t give in to these feelings of dread and angst. After all, my trash collector, my baker all have it worse. They have to work outside, unprotected. The ladies I still see on the infrequent busses, whose job is probably to clean hospital rooms –  the nurses and doctors in the emergency wards  (and again, I’m in a region that’s not been hurt as hard as it could have) – these people are allowed to feel sorrow and anxiety. Me, maybe not so much. My job is secure for now, my wife’s job is secure. My kids don’t have issues at school. 

But that’s maybe part of the problem: I have too much time on my hands, and it leaves me no choice but to look at the slowly collapsing world we’ve built for ourselves. 

2018-08-17 05.55.14

Archeo-astronomy: I should see the sun lower everyday at this particular point in my commute.
(Also: steampunk engineering – this is the last remnant of an experiment with high speed air-cushion bullet trains)

Du pur Macron

Et voilà.

L’interdiction du portable à l’école? Done. (pour la moralisation de la vie politique, on va attendre un peu — y’a Alexandre qui a merdé)Cette mesurette – et la com qui l’accompagne – est exemplaire de la politique « autrement » de notre Président: l’interdiction des portables était déjà une réalité de fait dans la plupart des établissements; là où elle posait problème, ce n’est pas la loi qui manquait, mais les moyens.

Et surtout, elle nie absolument la réalité: si on veut que ces ordinateurs de poches surpuissants servent à autre chose qu’à partager des vidéos de harcèlement scolaire, et à s’envoyer des snapchats, il faut apprendre aux élèves à s’en servir, pas en nier la réalité en la cachant.Car en fait, que va-t-il se passer?

Dans les établissements “bien propres sur eux”, la majorité des élèves ont des smartphones, et la direction bienveillante fermera les yeux sur la prof de maths ou d’histoire qui utilise des applis géniales comme Plickers ou Matador en cours. Et les bahuts privés, bien sûr, n’auront aucun scrupule à utiliser intelligemment ces technologies. En revanche, les bahuts “compliqués” ont un outil répressif de plus à leur arsenal – un motif supplémentaire de mise à pied des trublions.

Notons au passage que – si je ne me trompe pas – mesdames et messieurs les personnels de direction sont priés de se démerder pour appliquer ça sans budget supplémentaire. Sans vouloir faire pleurer momone, les “boites à portables” à l’entrée des bahuts, que les journaux ne vont pas manquer de monter en épingle (“Coco, c’est parfait ça, c’est low-tech, pas cher, tu me fait 1 min au collège de Triffouillis les Verzouilles pour le 20h de Jean Pierre”) ça va être très compliqué dans la réalité, sans pions supplémentaires …

Une mesure démagogique donc, pratiquement inapplicable, qui prend les électeurs (qui par définition ne sont plus des élèves) pour des cons, qui permet au tenant du “c’était mieux avant” de se rengorger, et qui produit, encore un peu plus, une discrimination économique, tout en ignorant royalement la réalité du monde.

Du pur Macron, je vous dis.