Before dealing with this day’s fresh onslaught: as usual, lunch yesterday at the spot on the market square owned by the Tunisian couple combined the wife’s delicious home cooking with social commentary from the husband and regulars catching the daily news on TV. Gunfire by automatic weapon against two restaurants in Corsica takes on a different flavor when both ventures were owned by North Africans and you’re the only person watching the report who wasn’t born in Tunisia, Algeria or Morocco. “Here we go again,” one of the older patrons said.
The TV talking head moved on to the recent suicide of a famous chef. This reminded the patron of his one and only foray into a palace of haute cuisine.
“Fifteen hundred francs per person,” he said. “Two hundred and thirty euro? Thereabouts. We had a waiter behind every chair. Pouring the drink. Moving the bread. At one point, I figured he was about to cut my meat. ‘Listen,’ I said. ‘You go back to the kitchen and tell them the customer ordered you to leave him alone. – ‘I can’t do that, Sir,’ he answered. – ‘In that case, stand behind my chair and don’t bother me anymore.'”
“It was good food. Not much of it. More like an appetizer. An hour later, we were all hungry, so we stopped at the cafe near the train station. For fifty francs, the woman served up steak frites, plus all the red or rosé you could drink.”
The TV news looped back to the current debate about depriving a bi-national terrorist of his French citizenship. The patron’s editorial view: “A man’s so full of hate he’s willing to blow himself up, he’s going to worry about losing his passport? The ones who survive, what do you do with them? Create a country just for them?”
A phenomenally good corner shoot by a soccer player showed up on screen next. Then back to refugees getting herded like cattle. Commercial break filled with beautiful people impersonating glamorous living.
TV works the same way parents operate with small children. The child starts whining for object A? Quick, pull his attention over to object B. “Oh look! Shiny!” It works, except with the really persistent ones.
Allez. So many things calling for my attention today, I feel like a bunch of TVs broadcasting on different channels. Would I settle for another coffee and the June Second 1910 section in Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury? Oh yes. Is this a likely prospect? Not in the least.