The Holy Brotherhood

Nobody who’s anybody walks in LA.

The Missing Persons song got it right: nobody walks in LA.

It’s time to renew my visa, which means a flight to Los Angeles to render myself to the French consulate tomorrow morning (you are assigned to one consulate or another depending on where in the US you live–mine is in Los Angeles), which means that I spent three hours this afternoon photocopying every @#$% document that the application requires, arranging them all in my little French plastic sleeve in the exact order in which they appear on the instructions page on the consulate web site, imploring the poor lady at FedEx to take my mug shot in such a way that I might appear adorable, or at least not hideous; and walking.  Possibly the Missing Persons lyrics should have been “nobody who’s anybody walks in LA,” ’cause I wasn’t actually the only one. There was the enormously, enormously, enormously obese white woman wearing a halter top and a muumuu, sitting in front of a house that must have cost several million dollars (I shit you not), with all of her belongings in three very chaotic-looking shopping carts, singing softly to herself.  The black lady of my age or so sitting at an empty table in Starbucks, staring at nothing, her lips silently moving as her legs twitch like… well, I suck at analogies, but the poor lady’s legs twitched non-stop.  The oddly-well-groomed-despite-wearing-shorts-and-sneakers-with-tube-socks white guy of my age or so pacing the sidewalk with a blank canvas under his arm, becoming increasingly agitated as he stops by my table again and again to ask if it’s not the case that the car parked in front of the cookie shop is there illegally.  The thin black woman of my age or so (what the fuck is going on with the people my age in LA??) sitting on a bench, waving her hands and having an animated conversation with someone visible only to herself; on her lap is a checklist on which is written חֶבְרָה קַדִישָא, which is Aramaic for “The Holy Brotherhood,” which is the term for a Jewish volunteer burial society.  (Just don’t fucking ask why I can read Aramaic well enough to catch things written on random strangers’ checklists, OK?)

The streets of Paris are full of beggars (see this post for information on why that’s the case, and why it has been the case for centuries).  What the streets of Paris are not full of, though, is vulnerable psychotic people.  Why?  In the United States, we have no national health care system.  In France, there is a national health care system.  Want to know which other first-world countries don’t have national health care systems?  None.  And what are the Republicans hot to do?  Get rid of the closest to national health care that we’ve ever been able to get.  Vote in 2018…

The folks at the consulate were super-nice, and I’m happily re-established in Paris–legal until the end of April, yay!


English notes

I shit you not: I’m not kidding you; I’m telling you the truth.

7 thoughts on “The Holy Brotherhood”

  1. And if you are British, vote to get ride of Terrorizer May and her ghastly bunch of sub-nazis who are intent on letting the NHS go to hell in a handbasket …. you will find many of the same people’s British cousins scattering the streets of every city in the country. Because mental health care is all but non-existent. Safe travels to La-La land and get back here as fast as you can. Because it for all the quirks and foibles it does have some humanity.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I would never ever knock anyone at the sharp end of the NHS – decent, hardworking, caring people who continue to do their best even whilst a war of attrition is being fought around them in many places. Those that need to be strung up by the toes and left to desiccate out are the politicians who talk the talk at election time and then stand by and allow the systematic destruction of something that Britain had every right to be beyond proud of through much of my life. Them.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. We’re frogs in gradually heating water, though. I don’t know about other health authorities, but in mine, you are actively encouraged to ask your GP to sign you off for private treatment. Which is (currently) paid for by the NHS. Want to bet how long it’ll be before patients are asked to contribute a ‘nominal’ fee, gradually increasing? It’s how they’re acclimatizing us to privatized medicine and the death of the NHS. ‘Safe in their hands’, my tushie.

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    1. Wow! What I find amazing about that is that the cars are bumper-to-bumper, but they ARE moving! That’s LA for you–Angelenos understand how to negotiate their packed highways in the same way that people in Tokyo know how to negotiate their packed subway cars…

      Liked by 1 person

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