Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Correction: A Four Minute Walk

While walking to the Louvre one evening, I ask Tony to time us.

"You want to time us because of your writing." He gives me the silly look.

In part, he's right.  I had written that we were a three minute walk from the Louvre and yes, I should be checking to make sure it's correct, but it's not really the reason I want him to time our walk tonight. I hesitate whether I should tell him the real reason, but of course I do, because he's already aware he married a woman with an out of control imagination, with a bent towards the worse case scenario.

"Well, I really want to know the time because if something happened to us,  if we were in an explosion or shot down, our daughters would know where to find our belongings."

He already reminded me at the beginning of the trip, that the odds of dying at the hands of a terrorist are less than dying from a lightening strike.

Yet, I've had a friend who died from a lightening strike and a friend's sister's friend, who died in a terrorist attack.

"You see," I continue, "I've written about our apartment but without our children knowing the address, it would be hard to come to Paris and find our possessions. I wrote that we are only three minutes from the Louvre and I included a photo of the big blue door and the name of the building, so with that information, they could start at the Louvre, walk in each direction for three minutes and eventually find the apartment."

Not sure what to make of this, Tony half laughs. There have been a lot of half laughs in our marriage.

My natural and logical way of thinking is fueled when we read an AP warning: French official: Police have been alerted that small extremist groups could be en route to France, Belgium to stage attacks.

My tendency towards morbid thoughts intensified when I looked out the window the first night and watched three soldiers, machine guns cradled and ready to aim, and remembered why there was a need.

I remembered Charlie Hebdo, the night of the Bataclan, the the madman who took hostages in the Jewish supermarket.

 I remembered and re-watched in my mind the terror recorded by a person caught in the Brussels Belgium airport.  Degaulle airport was crowded with people and for the first time in an airport, I couldn't ignore my vulnerability.

While biking around the city, we are continually re-routed by police with machine guns.

Today, as we made our way from the eighth arrondissement through the fifteenth and south to the seventh, we kept hitting closed roads guarded by machine gun carrying men. It was a sizable chunk of space and when we finally got through, we saw it was the American embassy under scrutiny.

The bottom line is if we were really in danger or thought we were in danger, we wouldn't be here; but just in case, the walk to the Louvre takes four minutes at a brisk, brisk pace.