The French Don’t Go Blind on Sunday Afternoons 

I just spent the past 10 minutes staring into the snack cubby wondering if I should get another cookie and also thinking about how good that caption is for a poem or something. Except it’s very much true, because today I went to visit Avignon, the city where the pope resided for about nine decades when France was at war with Italy and the pope happened to be French and did not want to live in Italy, and I went blind, briefly. I had just visited the palais des papes, and then the pont d’avignon, and had taken a lovley free ferry across the rhônes. I found a nice spot under a tree, ate a chicken salad sandwich I had gotten before the boat trip and was writing a bit when I started rubbing my eye and had to take my contact out. And then I couldn’t see anymore. My eye burned, even without the contact, and it felt like it was both throbbing and being stabbed with sharp needles here and there. I tried opening my eyes and it watered up, just as a group of middle-aged friends seemed to be having an emotional high school reunion of some sort. So all of us were crying. And then I spent the rest of the next four hours walking across bridges and streets, and eventually finding my way to the hospital blind because my eyes refused to open. (Note: said photo was taken pre-blinding)

It should have been rather simple. A trip to a doctor might even have been severe; because it is Sunday, however, no pharmacies were open. Zero. Nada. So I called the emergency number which told me to call SAMU which told me to take a cab to the hospital, which told me when I arrived that the hospital is closed on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Closed? I rubbed my eye to make it cry more. Then what do I do? Come back tomorrow. I had just spent 10 euros on a cab and was not going to be in Avignon tomorrow. So she sent me to the emergency room, which sent me to the emergency clinic downstairs, which sent me to the emergency pharmacy in a cab that never came so I ended up in a stranger’s car because she so kindly said she could take me with her since she was on her way there too.

I have never had much of an issue with France. I still think Brexit is and was an idiotic move. All I have to say is that the French apparently don’t go blind the way I do on Sunday afternoons (or Saturdays for that matter). It’s probably the wine. Or the cheese. Or the smoking, delaying hunger and decreasing lung capacity for blindness and all. Judging by the line at the ER though, there’s enough other stuff to go around.

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