Descending the stairs of a restaurant this morning, I spotted his scarf. Fuschia, accented by a bit teal, and a thin stripe of Tennessee Volunteer orange. Next I noticed the perfect cut of the man's hair. The first thought that came to me was not that the stunning fuschia scarf wearer might be a well-dressed homosexual male.* Or a well-coiffed metrosexual. I just noticed the color. Like the fuschia gerber daisies I'd later purchase at Trader Joes, they were a visual gift of joy on this nippy, gray January day.
The man in the fushia scarf sat across from someone who looked leisurely at photographs in an old-fashioned photo album. I could only see the hands of the person across from the man with the scarf. They turned the pages of the album and pointed at the various pictures. When I got to the first floor and rounded the corner, I noticed the person admiring the photo album was a woman I know who happens to be the niece of a well-known former French president. The two coversed in rapid-fire French. Of course! He's French! The scarf. The style! I walked on by because I am only vaguely acquainted with the woman and I was with a friend, engaged in conversation.
Later, I'd think back to what I'd seen. Viva la France! I said to myself. I love France. Wait. Don't we, as Americans sometimes love to hate the French? You know, the stereotype of the rude, snooty Parisians and how they treat us Americans when we venture onto their soil.
It doesn't matter. None of that matters.
Viva la France.
That. Is all that matters. That and the blow they took. The blow we took on 911. Suddenly, last week, the world felt a lot smaller. A lot more vulnerable.
France and the U.S. Both democracies who cherish our sacred freedom of the press.
This week, a blogger in Saudi Arabia received his first in a series of public floggings for publishing derogarotry remarks about Islam. Writer Raif Badawi also published thoughts on free society and freedom of expression.
I am taking my first ammendment liberties a little less casually right now.
In Germany of all places, given their history, people were in the streets protesting immigration and their president's remarks of solidarity with Muslim people. Yet, repeatedly, interviews with the French, following the murder of a satirical publication's editor and the hostage-taking and killings during an attack on a kosher market something very different was said.
"I am Jewish." "I am Islam."
They got it.
Genetically, the French that made those statements may not have been Jewish or Muslim by birth or conversion. Yet, they knew the truth that they were one in humanity.
Wednesday was a particularly frustrating day for me. Taking a break from my troubling situation, I took a hot bath, got out some essential oils, and turned my Pandora channel to Peter Mayer. Like I thought it would be, the music was a balm for my spirit. There are two Peter Mayers and one of them is dear man who lives in Nashville. I like the other Peter Mayer as well. I was happy to hear the Minnesota Peter Mayer's song "The Birthday Party." It was a year ago that I discovered the catchy tune with very wise and timely words. They are even more timely in this month of ink and blood. Listen. (This link is the written lyrics or those who can't access YouTube at work, etc.)