August Laziness Sets In

photo: cafe la rotonde, montparnasse

The terrace of La Rotonde, at Vavin, on
the Boulevard Montparnasse.

When In Doubt, Always Do Nothing

by Ric Erickson

Paris:- Monday, 9. August 1999:- If I didn't think I have so much to do, I could be lazy. From long habit, I have worked hard in order to be lazy in August - but everything is changed this year.

After three weeks in my new apartment in Paris it still looks like a used-book dealer's annual inventory in progress. The boxes remaining to be emptied are full of brick-a-brack and forgotten souvenirs, and I still cannot find the remote-control - 'télécommande' in French - for the TV set.

I 'solved' this problem by buying a cheapo video-recorder - 'magnétoscope' in French - a machine for scopingphoto: metro mouton duvernet magnets - which does have a télécommande, which I can use to drive the TV set. I use it to watch the TV-news, because there does not seem to be anything else - nor much news.

When last seen in one connected piece, the hifi had a problem with the speaker switch - I think only one pair of them worked. Whether this was a problem with the switch or with loose connections, I don't know. How long it'll take to provisionally wire it together for a test, I don't know.

My other 'closest' métro station.

Where to put the speakers is another problem. I suppose I'll eventually solve this with a lot of cable. Ah, cables. The whole computer rig looks like a jungle of spaghetti. I like tidy; what to do?

I have to divide the books into two categories: one with relevance to Paris and France, and the other for the others. In the Paris category, I need to place the books I use most often closest to where I work; so this is another sub-division problem.

In going through the boxes I've found I have a whole pile of photos from my days in Germany. I don't remember taking so many photos. Coupled with all the drawings I did in the seven yearsphoto: cafe le select, montparnasse there, I have to decide whether these are 'deep' archive material - or stuff for more immediate use. Maybe a winter job.

Also on the Boulevard Montparnasse - Le Select.

There are several very large packets of pictures for hanging on the walls. Somebody did a very good job of hiding the old nail-holes under plaster and white paint. Being all thumbs when it comes to hanging pictures, I'm afraid to touch my virgin walls. If I didn't need to get the pictures out of the way, I'd leave the walls nicely bare. 'Look at the beautiful moldings,' I could say.

The bathroom needs a light and a tray, soap holders and a cabinet, and a bath mat would be nice. Civilizing the shower head so I don't have to hold it, is a luxury I don't want to do without for too much longer.

The kitchen needs its coffee machine and toaster. When I saw the apartment for the first time, it had all this stuff; now it has all the ambiance of an underground garage.

photo: resto tables, montparnasseSummer is do-it-yourself time in France but no time has always been do-it-myself time for me. Some people can look at a blank wall and something happens to it. I look, and nothing happens except rising fear of a horrible crack in the plaster.

I try to tell myself that if I keep at it on a regular basis it will gradually turn into a comfortable, liveable space. The question is, how long is 'gradually?'

Further west on the boulevard, tables waiting for diners.

Wouldn't I rather be on a beach in Spain instead of in an unfinished apartment in Paris for August?

If I was down there, I could be thinking of future directions for 'Metropole.' Well, doing that would be kind of like work, wouldn't it? Putting pictures on the walls seems like work too.

With the way things are, I'm not sure of what kind of lazy I am. It is obviously time for a siesta. I partially 'fixed up' the bedroom first.

Metropole's Summer Guide:- appeared in Issue 4.27 in the form of two extra pages in addition to the 'Scene' column. You can quickly get to these by hitting this link to the issue's home page, or by taping on All Past Issues at the top and bottom of most pages in Metropole.

Over the past weeks I've found myself typing 'La Villette' a lot so I went out there the week before last and had a look around. Around midday not much was happening outside; but I added even more nighttime and weekend activities and put them into their own 'events' page, called 'A Multi-Theme Park.'

Paris 2000 - since the beginning of the year, readers have been hinting that they intend to be in Paris for the turnover from 1999 to 2000. The Ville de Paris has not been asleep; its plan is called 'Paris 2000.' It is a fairly modest plan - 'from thephoto: mobilis card, ticket heart' - and brief details of some of the planned events are in this week's 'Scene' column.

My under-utilized day transport pass - see 'The Big Tour - Short Version' in this issue.

For the second week in a row, the week's 'Scene' column has gotten a lot longer, even after cutting out all of the out-of-date events. After cutting out all the 'eclipse' items next week, the details for 'Paris 2000' will gradually fill it up again.

It will be a bit like starting the Christmas program in September, but I think I'll have to give 'Paris 2000' a page of its own - because it has already started, and in September it gets into full swing.

Café Metropole Club - this idea for having a fixed, weekly meeting place for readers in a Paris café has not faded away. I fully expect I will announce the startup of the 'Club' in late September, with the first session taking place then or in early October. I'm looking forward to seeing you at it when you are in Paris.

This Was Metropole One Year Ago:

count down Eiffel TowerIssue 3.32/33 - 17. August 1998 - This was an issue done before I went on holiday to Spain, to tide you over half of August. For this reason the Café Metropole's subtitle was - 'The Shortest 'Café' Column.' This issue had two features, entitled 'Going Wrong In Normandy' and 'Extra Photos From Back Then.' There were two 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's Cartoon of the Week was captioned 'Siesta In Trouble' which wasn't about problems I was having in Spain.

The Tour Eiffel Countdown to 31. December 1999:

Only 145 more sunny, occasionally hot, or occasionally unsettled Paris and Ile-de-France summer days to go until the next really big depressing weather front comes along.
signature, regards, ric

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