A Fine Phrenzy

by wjw on October 24, 2009

I am preparing to leave this coming Sunday for Utopiales, Europe’s largest SF con, where I am one of the guests of honor. After which I will spent a couple weeks wandering around France, basically kicking the tires and looking for cool stuff to write about. (A previous trip to France produced a Nebula-winning novella, so there’s hope.)

While in France, I will eat about a pound of butter every day, washing it down with a couple bottles of wine and one of cognac. My mental and physical health can only improve on such a regime.

France is the country that Real Americans are supposed to hate, but I confess that I always have a wonderful time there. They’ve got a first-rate train system, health care that works, mass transit ditto, wonderful food chuck-full of locally-produced, gloriously flavorful ingredients, splendid beer and wine, enormous natural beauty, centuries of history, art, and architecture— and all this and they only work 35 hours per week, with 3o paid days of vacation per year plus 10 national holidays! (One-quarter of American workers get no paid vacation at all.)

Of course, one in five French voters think it’s okay to plonk down their ballots for the National Front, so it’s hardly paradise.

And you know what else? We can get our swine flu shots over there! While the American system has been creaking and groaning and is only now producing limited amounts of vaccine, communist countries like France, Australia, and Japan have been immunizing their people for five whole months now!

When the swine flue kills all Americans, only the commies will survive! (And us, because we’ll have had our shots.)

But not all is golden, not yet. Because I have to finish a novel before I go!

There are only two nights left! I have only a couple scenes to go!

Anyone want to bet either way?

kat October 24, 2009 at 2:14 pm

Enjoy! I've never been, but my parents adore France. According to them, the French contempt for American tourists we're all supposed to hate them for occurs only in cities, and even then only if they have no Brits handy to hate. Though they did say the driving was rather hair-raising….

Anonymous October 24, 2009 at 4:48 pm

I'm looking forward to meet you in Nantes. Was hoping to introduce you to gourmet food, but it seems you don't need THAT.
Try to update your politics, though: the "Front National" is mostly history, as all right-wingers flocked to Sarkozy's side.
Good novel rush.

john_appel October 24, 2009 at 5:30 pm

Have a splendid trip. I find Paris a tad over-rated but can't wait for a chance to get back to the French countryside.

Ralf the Dog October 26, 2009 at 6:04 pm

You don't need to get vaccinated for swine flu if you have already had it.

PS. Have fun not dying.

Lance Larka October 27, 2009 at 4:38 am

The vaccine is made mostly in Europe. We shouldn't be surprised that the countries that host those companies will require that they get preferential treatment on the delivery schedule.

Also see my previous comment on my experience of emergency health care in France.

Ralf; That's sick. A colleague of mine has a 2 year old with it contracted while visiting family over a weekend trip out of town. The mother is in her 1st trimester with the families second child. They are in the difficult situation of having to quarantine their 1st child to save the life of a parent and second child and neither parent can comfort the ill one.

Ralf the Dog October 27, 2009 at 4:41 pm

Lance, early this year, Mr. Williams posted that he had swine flu. He bravely fought off the disease with much valor, whimpering and complaining to the world.

I was just pointing out that because he has already suffered (And caused his friends to suffer) He has a get out of flu free card.

I don't know if he required the shot due to his travel plans.

I hope everything works out well for your colleague's family.

Note: This website needs an edit your post button.

Lance Larka October 27, 2009 at 4:43 pm

Ralf. Sorry for jumping on you.
I had forgotten that WJW had already contracted it (or at least one of the A strains) and your comment is actually quite on point 🙂

And thank you for the well wishes. We just found out that his son's fever broke and as soon as the 72 hour infectious window passes he will be coming home.

dubjay October 28, 2009 at 9:07 am

My doc tells me that I didn`t have swine flu long enough (before Tamiuflu saved me) to develop sufficient antibodies, so I could get sick all over again.

Lance I`m glad your friend`s case turned out okay.

(posted in haste—b on to the Island of Giant Machines!)

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