Airpocalypse Now! – How Paris Mayor Ruined my 10th Wedding Anniversary
Ten years ago today was a beautiful day. Central London, St. James Park, 78.8 F, bright sunny sky. Flowers blooming everywhere, birds tweeting above our heads, expensive Champagne flowing from Magnum bottles and a suspiciously happy couple joining in matrimony (yes, that would be us).
In contrast, today is an odd (as in mathematical sense – odd), depressive and gloomy day – and all due to divisibility and the politics of Mrs. Anne Hidalgo, the mayor of the City of Light.
I don’t know at which point Mrs. Hidalgo decided to ruin my wedding anniversary, but I’m sure it was no coincidence that she would pick today to introduce the even car ban in Paris. (Not to mention, that damned be the License Plate Registration Office that issued us an even number a few years back).
So, here we are. Due to the mayor’s intention to save the capital of France from drowning in pollution by banning half the city’s vehicles from circulating the roads of Paris (for two days in a row), I wasn’t able to access the capital coming from the countryside because my number plate ends with a 6. Now, how odd is that?
I mean, I do feel for the doomed Parisians engulfing in noxious smog, downing on them like a curtain of dung. As it turns out, when it comes to air quality, the French capital is running dangerously close to Delhi and Beijing (which was one of the reasons we moved to the countryside, to give our children a chance of breathing oxygen instead of exhaust particles).
Still, is it my fault that I don’t own an electrical car (the only ones, besides taxis and public transport, admitted to circulate on the roads), which would take me 6 hours to arrive in Paris, instead of a merely one (that’s the closest you can be to metropolitan civilisation when you’re on a limited housing budget)?
In that respect, I find London’s solution to road space rationing (in the aftermath of the famous pea soup fog) way more effective in restricting access to the down town area, through imposing the infamous Congestion Charge of £11.50 daily (if you can’t afford it, stay at home or take the damn bus).
Nevertheless, coming back to my personal celebration, I would like to append, that along with a farewell to our restaurant reservation and my favorite macaron treat from Ladurée came a daunting realization that no matter how much you try, you can’t stop sh*t from hitting you in the face.
If it’s not an earthquake, a crashing meteorite or other natural disaster, then undoubtedly the metropolitan smog will destroy your dream of an evening out. When all you want to do, is to celebrate your 10 years jubilee and get totally pie-eyed.
Meanwhile, in the French countryside: 55.4 F, sunny, bright sky and no sight of suffocating smog what so ever!