This is the time of year, and we are having the kind of of weather, that makes people think about a different life in a different place and with a different climate. Une vie meilleure — a life that would be better. Ailleurs — somewhere else. A lot of the problem might be post-holidays letdown.
I went to the pharmacy in the morning. It seemed half the population of the département was out and about. Well, Saturday is market day in Saint-Aignan, so it was to be expected. I had decided not to go shopping in the outdoor market because I'm still suffering the after-effects from the bad cold I had in late December.
Parking was scarce, and I ended up leaving the car down by the bridge and trudging up the street to the pharmacy. The weather had been windy and misty earlier, but the mist at least had stopped, and it wasn't at all cold. When I got to the pharmacy, I was greeted by a woman who works there and who I've come to know a little over the past eight years. She was friendly with the woman who sold us our house in 2003 — that's the connection.
I told her I had been suffering sinus congestion for a month. That was causing me to cough quite a bit. "What you need is a dose of that old California sunshine," she said. She was surprised when I told her the weather in California — at least the part of it where I used to live — is about the same right now as it is here in Saint-Aignan. Hollywood and California dreaming worldwide has done a successful propaganda job, that's for sure. People think it's always sunny and warm out there.
Just a day or two before, we had taken Bertie the Cat to the vet's and had about the same conversation with the young man who takes care of Bertie and Callie. It started when the question of whether to give Bertie a rabies shot came up. The vet said it was optional — there's no rabies in France nowadays. Unless you are going to travel with the animal, you don't need to worry about la rage, as it's called.
We said we had no travel plans that would involve either animal for the time being. The vet asked: "You are happy here in the Loir-et-Cher, aren't you?" Yes, we are, and we don't foresee going elsewhere. "All of us dream of going to live in California," he said. People here think we are crazy to have left the sun and surf and palm trees of cette Californie paradisiaque.
Paradise where you yourself are not, I guess. I just checked the weather, and the part of California where we lived for nearly 20 years is in the middle of a five-day rainy period with temperatures in the 50s Fahrenheit. Just like Saint-Aignan.