Well hello from Provence!
As promised, I have spent the last few weeks finishing my book. I am almost finished but I wanted to ask all of you a favor. As most of you know, the book that I am writing is about the last six years of my life detailing a fun little journey I am having with ALS. I have learned a lot these past six years and I thought I would pass along anything that has been helpful for me regarding ALS and life in general. When you get a diagnosis of ALS, life pretty much smacks you right in the face… And you learn a lot. It would be selfish of me not to pass along the lessons that I have learned. I thought that it would be useful/helpful/insightful if I wrote a chapter answering all of your questions. Feel free to ask me anything… I am an open book and I hope that my trials and tribulations may help some of you with yours. Leave your questions in the comments … All of the questions will be anonymous and I will not use your name in the book, unless you want me to, so feel free to be open/direct/vulnerable with your questions. Thank you so much!
*So, how is life in Provence, you ask? To tell you the truth I find myself saying a lot, “I miss United States.” And is it weird/awful that I want Ivanka Trump to be First Lady? Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate France… Entirely… Just partially. I will say with absolute certainty that I hate the French postal system. They’re stupid. Don’t even argue with me, they are. If I hear one more person say, “That’s just the way it is in Provence”, I am going to puke. I just have never appreciated that defeatist attitude. If something is not working, I tend to think, “Well, fucking fix it!” And I absolutely deplore the fact that everything is closed on Sundays in France. If I want to spend time with my family, I will, but don’t force me! When I remember how I read ‘A Year in Provence’ and I thought that all of the Provençal quirks were charming, I now think to myself that it’s actually just annoying. Just for fun, I thought I would point out reasons why not to live in Provence… Or France for that matter.
• There is no such thing as customer service in Provence. If you want to return something… Good fucking luck.
• Since there are exactly 0.05 restaurants open on Sundays in Provence, you are forced to go to fast food restaurants that you would never step foot in in America like Kentucky Fried Chicken. But then, you are extra duped when you learn that there are no biscuits, no mashed potatoes and gravy and no coleslaw… So really, what’s the point? Your second option on a Sunday is McDonald’s but be careful… The sodas are flat, the fries suck and there are no hashbrowns. I mean, c’mon, in the land of potatoes here in France and no hashbrowns! You could cook at home on a Sunday but plan ahead because all the grocery stores are closed.
• The goat cheese here tastes too much like goat cheese, if you catch my drift.
• My house does not physically have a number address so I get mail about 20% of the time.
• When the mistral winds kick in, my Internet immediately goes out. Additionally, the wind knocks out the electricity to my front gate so when my nurses come to the house every day, they cannot get in the gate which means I don’t get to have a bath. True story.
• The town that I live in is basically 90% Arab. I have no qualms with Arabs but when they decide to capitalize on the fact that every Westerner is afraid of them because they think that we think that they belong to ISIS and should be feared, I get annoyed. Just because you have a long beard and a copy of the Koran tucked in your back pocket doesn’t mean I’m going to pay you €150 for two hours of garden work.
• Even though I grew up in America, land of the Second Amendment, I have heard more gunshots in the past week in Provence than I have in my entire life in the US.
• Why is everything so fucking small here? Drinks, cars, hair, boobs.
• There are no Costco’s and no Costco’s hot dogs… Not that I would ever eat one but I want the opportunity to deny myself of one.
• Dog shows in Provence suck. 200 puppies and not one of them I wanted. Who wants to go to a politically correct dog show and only see “farm dogs.” I want something fluffy, overpriced and born to a morally corrupt breeder.
• It is sad and pathetic that my favorite place to shop in Provence is the pharmacy.
Okay, I will shut my pie hole now about why I hate Provence then tell you what I do like about Provence but beware… The list is short and getting shorter.
• The farmers markets and flea markets are fantastic.
• The antiques are sublime and unpretentious.
• The weather is wonderful, not Santa Barbara wonderful, but wonderful.
• The charm of the old houses is undeniable.
• I like that my closest neighbors are sheep.
• I can probably kill someone and bury them on my property and no one would ever know.
• My newly hired angelic nighttime caregiver is Muslim (not that there’s anything wrong with that) and wears a pink prayer gown to pray and he has suggested on numerous occasions that I should read the Koran “to relax.” That humors me to no end.
• There is actually space to breathe here.
• The quality of life in Provence is remarkable… If you like that sort of thing.
Okay, that’s it for today… I will get back to finishing the book and by the way, I am on Season 2 of Downton Abbey!