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may thoughts

- On beauty. The elegance of a beautiful woman who rejects having to be seen.
- In the city, like climbing quicksand, a lot of people want to be seen.

- On gratitude. The capitalistic ethos of checks and balances, the abstraction - consequence of industrialisation - has profoundly disrupted our human capacity to both practice and experience gratitude.

I’ve never thanked the people who made my clothes.

- On France. Or America. Or both. I’ve lived in France for 15 years - I can pretend to belong here, but I never will. There are certain aspects of my American core that I cannot seem to extract and repurpose. For instance, when French strangers see me eating - let’s say on a bench in a park - they might look at me and say bon appétit in passing.

And yet - and I’ve confirmed with other Americans in France - there’s something so twisted and cynical about the American identity that I could never accept these bon appétit’s at face value, as a celebration of food for the love of food. Rather, I always interpreted these bon appétit’s directed at me on a park bench as code for, “You should be sitting at a table, you idiot.”

“Sadder than destitution, sadder than the beggar is the man who eats alone in public. Nothing more contradicts the laws of man or beast, for animals always do each other the honor of sharing or disputing each other’s food. He who eats alone is dead (but not he who drinks alone. Why is this?)” (Baudrillard, 15).

I jog up and down the canal. Sometimes I stop and smell the flowers (literally and figuratively). On more than one occasion, when I’m walking in my running attire, someone (usually a man) will say something like, “You stopped?” or bon courage in passing. Similar to the the bon appétit’s, I interpret these bon courage’s as a duplicitous way of telling me that I could use more exercise.

My French friend assured me that it’s just genuine sportsmanship in the name of sport.

Baudrillard, Jean. America. Verso, 2010. © 2022
(there are other sarah rose’s, but this is the new one)