Resistance implies discretion. Also, the places and names have been changed. Only the facts and sayings are sincere. Somewhere in France.
Since the first confinement, Jeannine has never closed her cafe. In the heart of this village of Corrèze, resembling hundreds of others, opposite the town hall, Jeannine welcomes her regulars, neighbors and curious people every morning at 8 am. The dispatch rider of the National Gendarmerie passes several times a day, as usual, in front of the establishment and in no way hinders this space of freedom, of “resistance” as the owner expresses it loud and clear behind her counter. Near the sixties of spring, Jeannine is a widow and has been running this business for over 15 years. Asking her why she remained open, why she defied the ban, the risk of a fine, the prosecution, she admits to opening “more for my clients” than for herself. “I wrote on my signs that I sold to take away, they will not be able to get me in trouble. She ignores the risks involved but her gaze does not deceive. It is that of a woman who contemplates helplessly the economic decomposition of his canton, and more painfully that of his business, his “baby.” “The bonuses are not a solution, neither is the EMP, what we (the traders) want is to open up. Let them let us do it in Paris. We know how a business works, and we pay attention. We can put in place protocols. Not everything is written in the books “. Sometimes the most loyal customers are installed at the back of the café, far from the glances of the large windows of the establishment. This morning in January 2021, the Christmas tree was still shining in the window and the caffeine illegals were leaning on the counter or perched on the moleskin benches.
Maurice is 58 years old, strong, his hair salt and pepper, the dungarees pegged, like a standard. Craftsman roofer, he settled in the village in 1992. He loves his job, “works from [s]es mains “he says proudly. The typical profile of the child of Portuguese immigrants who will spend his life thriving in and through work. He no longer trusts” this government of amateurs, he takes us straight in the wall. “He is worried about the survival of his company:” the order book is soon empty. It’s my whole life. I bet everything in my box. At this rate, my next site will be Pole Emploi “he blurted out with an ironic air. His son saw his temporary contract come to an end precipitously. Morale is at half mast. Like everyone in this coffee.
With two bar stools, sanitary distance requires, Camille turns her little cream, placed on the zinc near a vial of hydroalcoholic gel. A compendium of common sense over a few square centimeters. Surrealist. She is a household help in the surrounding villages. Every day, Camille visits the elderly to support them in their daily tasks. “I help them to get dressed, I cook for them”. She lets her anger express itself: “I couldn’t kiss Mum who has been in a retirement home for 9 months. She is dying slowly, that’s nonsense, I can’t even approach my own mother anymore. while I go to visit dozens of elderly people every day “. Ubuesque.
“Legitimate anger” said Mickaël. He defines himself as “sovereignist” but he says, is not included. “I do not find myself in the parties today. Since they stole the referendum of 2005 from us.” Maurice the roofer told him that he was not old enough to vote 15 years ago. Everyone laughs, collective therapy that does not bear his name. Mickaël comes to this bar, believing to carry out an act of resistance. From the height of his 28 years, he portrays a “puppeteer show, a caricature of power”, convinced that this epidemic is “the perfect opportunity for the powerful to force the most fragile, to monitor them, to control them”.
If you ask them questions about the Covid-19 crisis, they answer with a single being, they have no doubts about the presence of the epidemic but are disillusioned by the management of the crisis, the lies of the government . “They’re going to destroy the country, ruin each of us. They don’t realize up there. The masks, the tests, the vaccines, the freezers for the vaccines. There’s always something stuck.” Expression of “France from below” by Raffarin, “silent France” as evoked by Jean Castex. It is clear that it is not France that is silent, but its rulers who are deaf. Basically, the television broadcasts Pascal Praud later, Morandini will replace him. Like every morning, CNews was invited into the conversations.
Funny atmosphere. Sharing of mood, doubts and hope too, as a sort of collective outlet, makeshift socialization to break with telework, isolation, fear of tomorrow. Here, the weaknesses of each are obvious. The lack of modesty is undoubtedly linked to this crying need for humanity. Simply slices of life that intersect and support each other.
It doesn’t prove anything. This bistro is not the reflection of France. It is however like this drop of water that the hummingbird carries in its beak against the general opinion. The other animals of the forest, frightened, have become too conciliatory fellow citizens; the burning forest, our country. This café echoes what characterizes the French spirit, that of freedom. There is no doubt that in each region of France, hundreds of Jeannines open every morning and remain the crucible of our essential social bond. From roundabouts to restaurant back rooms.
Who would have imagined that in 2021 the French are hiding to continue making people, “the greatest fear of those who govern us”.