Sunday, July 20, 2008

Just Wait Until After The Election

Yesterday afternoon I was out and about with my friend Lisa, and we noticed as we walked by our favorite new restaurant, La Sauterelle, that the door was open and Patrick, the owner and chef, was standing at the bar next to his Chariot à provisions (shopping cart), making a shopping list for the evening's meal. I love the fact that everything is local in Paris. Restaurant owners buy their bread from the boulangerie down the street, their fruits and vegetables from the open market stalls, and their fish from the fishmonger, etc. Patrick makes up his menu as he goes along, finding the freshest fish, the in-season vegetables. There are no huge trucks pulling up to his restaurant from some prefabricated food supply house. Everything is local. Everything is fresh.

Lisa and I were tired from walking, and it had turned a bit warm, so Patrick poured us both a cold Vin Rosé, and we stood at his bar and chatted. We were talking about his surgery (he had cancer and had one leg removed) and his recovery, about the medical system and the bills he still had left to pay. Then the topic moved to expenses, the cost of rent here, and the low cost of most food. Patrick said that two people can live quite nicely on only 3000 Euros a month ($4500), probably much less. I agreed. My rent is relatively high, but we spend nothing on everything else: food, phone, Internet, etc. But I added that I'm currently paying for two homes - our apartment in Paris and my condo in Arizona that still hasn't sold (after more than a year on the market). If I could take that monkey off my back, life would be much easier.

Then we spoke about the mortgage crisis, the bank crisis and the fuel crisis in America. I told him that I didn't think it was going to get better anytime soon, and in fact, based on what I've been reading, there's a good chance that the Bush administration is fiddling with the economy in order to stave off a big recession until after the election in November. I don't have many facts to back this up (translation: I'm too lazy to go research my sources), but it wouldn't surprise me in the least.

Then Patrick said, "Wait until after the election. Then everything will change."

Americans may not be aware of this, but as I read and watch international news, I've noticed that this is a belief that is held widely outside of the United States. There's a general assumption that Obama will win (86% of French people back Obama). And there's a common feeling of patient waiting, that everything will shift and change when Obama, and a larger majority of Democrats in Congress, take over after this election. Even the Israelis and Syrians, as they begin to negotiate with each other indirectly through Turkey, believe that they can only accomplish a peaceful resolution between their countries, after the US election.

I hope they're right. (There it is, that word again...hope.)


kellypea said...

I've noticed the attention from Europe as well. The French aren't the only ones waiting. God. Aren't we all? What a fiasco and waste of 8 years.