Family Life

The Traffic Sword and The Invisible Drone

Two traffic policemen, about 120 cm tall each, arrive at the site. They blow their impromptu whistles made of large duplo blocks and walk towards the only civilian in sight.

She’s sitting on the sofa, scrolling surprisingly joyful Tiktok dance videos, which she just yesterday discovered offer a passage to an alternative world where everyone gets along.

The policemen approach her in bright red jackets. “You’re such cute firefighters,” she says and quickly gets corrected. “We’re the traffic police. This is my traffic sword.”

The civilian has just been pondering her upcoming trip to Paris, wondering if she should cancel because of the riots. She would cancel, but then she’d loose several hundreds of euros. Travel insurance hasn’t been very useful, but a traffic sword – now that certainly does sound like it belongs to our current world.

The other policeman shows his remote control, “And this controls my invisible drone.”

When the woman on the sofa was a little police girl herself, many decades ago, she hadn’t heard of drones, invisible or not, but she often played Penny from Inspector Gadget, who had an awesome notebook that could look up anything. One might imagine that the inventors of the iPad had been glued to the very same show in their childhood.

Travel used to be a way to pamper oneself. Now, it has become a calculated risk. Last autumn, it was wild fires in Spain and rumours of Covid resurging. A quote floating about says, if you don’t know for sure, let’s assume everything will turn out alright.

It’s been almost 20 years since she lived in Paris, half her age. Mademoiselle, she was called. Now she would almost certainly be a madame. Maybe the Paris she remembers is as intangible as the Tiktok universe of cheerful dance challenges. Or maybe it’ll catch on, like a viral video, or like Benalmádena, where she had the pleasant sensation of remembering who she once was, back when she used to live and breathe travel.

Last night, the traffic police had a disco party for just the two of them. Smart lights turned Living Room City into a turquoise and violet dance floor, Spotify played 70’s disco, and inventive dance moves appeared from nowhere. The enormous and cuddly Little Teddy was invited, but he was a bit out of shape and needed to be held up. There was even surfing at some point, on a tropical print cushion.

It’s a hard decision. To stay in the comfort of the imaginary world or to venture out and explore the real world, warts and all?

The photos are from Benalmádena, Spain, February 2023.


46 replies on “The Traffic Sword and The Invisible Drone”

A very good write-up Snow, past, present, future – all in one! I enjoyed reading it..I’d say, as there is no guarantee of anything in life except that it will go by, whether we do something or we don’t. So I feel that we should just go ahead and do whatever our hearts tell us to do.

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Oh yes, I guess it does have past, present and future! I’m happy you enjoyed it, thank you! And that’s true, life will certainly go by, with or without us, and we’ll regret what we didn’t do more than what we tried to do. But… I’m still undecided. I wanted to relax for a few days and pamper myself. But riots, tear gas and fires don’t sound very relaxing. Not to mention strikes. Sounds like getting from/to the airport is going to be super stressful. 😩

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Oh yes, that I understand. I didn’t mean to say that one should take risks like these! I just meant in general, to do more of the things one wants to do instead of postponing then for an unknown future. About your Paris trip, the situation is not good 🙁. If there is a chance to reschedule with some deductions, then that would be better than complete cancellation and losing all the money. May be you can talk to the service providers.

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Can’t you borrow the Traffic Sword from traffic policemen to flash your way from and to the airport, providing the sword does indeed flash? (I’m quite sure it does, in my younger years traffic swords did so and also had a siren!) It’s cool that every generation had it’s own magic devices. (You had your notebook, I had a super scooter that ran on invisible fuel that it extracted out of air) Mostly riots occur only at a few spots and Paris is a large city. I won’t be to hard to avoid them, I guess. The problem with comfort zones is that one might lose the ability to leave them once in a while. Don’t unlearn your dancing skills. I read your piece with lots of joy, as always Snow. I’m going to have a look if I can find my super scooter again.) 🙂

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A magical traffic wand would be perfect – althought I’m not sure it’d pass security control at the airport! My kids have swords with lights and sirens and also completely silent ones – I never wanted to buy them a weapon as a toy but somehoe boys just like them. Pirates and all that!
I think I’m going to go to Paris. I have a bit of a flu and I’m wondering about that, too. Maybe everything will be fine. If you don’t hear from me again, I was probably thrown in jail for visiting a bakery looking like a protester! You’re right about comfort zones. I think I’ve gotten stuck in mine.
Hope you find your magic scooter, sounds lovely that you still remember it. Some things stick with us!

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I’ll hit up the police station once or twice while you are in Paris. See if you are not put in jail, and if so, demand you be released immediately (I know the head police officer there, madame Dupont, nice lady albeit somewhat grumpy now and then because of an obstinate corn on her left little toe) AND provide you with at least two baguettes and a pain au chocolat. I wish you lots of fun, Snow. Come back safely.

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To go or Not to go to Paris. Hard choice that. The King of England decided Not to Go but maybe it’s because the history of the French with Royals. An invisible travel sword might be a good travel accessory.

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I’m all out of swords, but I think I’ll try to go to Paris anyway. It would be such a hassle to try to rebook another mini holiday somewhere else at another time soonish and I’d loose some money, too. On the other hand, there’s the possibility that Paris will be quite fine. They are always protesting about something. The strikes are what worry me the most, mainly getting to and from the airport… and also the idea of travelling solo to a place with an ongoing crisis. But… it’s a city of 11 million and most people are carrying on with their lives. So… let’s see what kind of war report I come back with!

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You are a such a good writer – just the right amount of imagination, whimsy and real world concerns. Paris, like most big cities, is fun to see when young but when you crave comfort and safety as you travel, well it loses it’s appeal unless you have lots of $$$. I prefer the out of the way spots to the cities. Good luck no matter what you decide!

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Thank you so very much for these kind words about my writing! You made my day! I completely agree with choosing comfort and safety over adventure nowadays. Too bad travel insurances aren’t really up to date with the world we live in, so we could be more flexible about our plans if a situation breaks out at your destination…


I’m beginning to wonder more and more whether I actually like real world. I enjoy many bits of it, but fake seventies disco world sounds much better. (And definitely sounds like something I want to do with the family 😅)

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Paris is always great, riots or not, though I hear it has something of an aroma currently! If you go, I hope you have a wonderful time and I look forward to hearing your report from the front lines. Love your presentation of this dilemma, by the way.

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You are so good at transporting your emotions. Maybe this is what drew me to you, all those years ago (8?). You reminisce, and invent, and predict, and dream, all at once. Amazing photos as well. Is this where you were staying, the building in the last two photos? 😮

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Yes, my employer decided that since the world didn’t fall down after us working from home for 3 years straight that we were now allowed to work from anywhere in Europe. Since I can’t offer my kids an expat childhood, this at least was something we could do. They loved it and it was perfect! So sunny! But not hot. Some sunblocker involved, too 😋

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Well, that was a good move… on both parts. Don’t worry about your children’s childhood. We can’t repeat the past. And I’m sure they have the best childhood available. Pas de souci.
The important thing is that they loved it.
Sunblocker makes me laugh. y daughter and son-in-law almost never allow our grandkids to be in the swimming pool without a T-shirt. And sunblocker. While I agree mostly. I also think they should take the T-shirts off ten minutes so they get used to the sun… 🌞
Bon week-end Lumi.

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Oh I loved reading this post! I didn’t know you used to live in Paris! It’s always a beautiful city and if you are not in the area of riots it should be fine. The pictures of Spain look beautiful too!

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Thanks, Juliette! I lived in Paris for a couple of years. And in Montpellier and Nice too, for a bit over a year. Are you located in Paris? I’m glad I didn’t come this week because I got sick, and also because I heard people had to walk 10min from the airport to a nearby field to get a taxi since the airport had been blocked off. I would have arrived on strike day so maybe that would have been me! But I really do miss Paris and will just have to reschedule

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