Tuesday, March 7, 2017

What is social services mum?
Once in the building’s hall I collected the mail. The Paris social services navy blue logo on an envelope attracted the attention of Laura who can now read well.
-          What is social services mummy? She asked.
-          It is a service that gives money to poor people, I replied without thinking twice about what I was saying.
-          Are we poor? Laura asked incredulous.
-          No, well, no. We are not rich but not poor either. We are normal, I lied.
-          Then what is the letter? She asked.
-          Oh, this one. It must be an advertisement, I said opening the envelope.
-          Yes, they now advertise their services to all Parisians. They want everybody to know that they can give money in case somebody is in need, I explained reading the letter at the same time.

This one was, in fact, inviting Laura to Red Cross's Mardi Gras Party for underprivileged children. Before Christmas she had pointed to the Red Cross collection on a street corner asking me how they know who the poor people are and where they live. I responded they have their registers. Had I gone too far in downplaying my life? Until now I had avoided to talking about social services, benefits and allowances in my daughter’s presence. I was afraid that she would start playing “social services” or “benefits claimant” with her classmates during the school recreation. However, the pretending started becoming more and more difficult. Last time we went to the public swimming pool she asked what was the RSA benefits claimer I was talking about and what papers I was presenting to get a free entry. This time also I had told some stupid lie. 

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