A New Member - the Server-Lady!

photo: linda, jan, dana shaw, group

When less than six charter members meet, I shoot
the group through the café's window.

News from the 'Café Metropole Club'

Paris:- Thursday, 18. November 1999:- It is a good thing we hold this week's club meeting inside because outside is unspeakable.

French state radio and TV are on strike about the 35 hour work week business, so FIP radio plays classical music, France-Info plays FIP's music and nobody plays the news. The TV weather news looks unreliable, but is accurately forecasting mucky weather, which is what we've got.

In other words, everything is perfect for Beaujolais Nouveau day in Paris as well as the Café Metropole Club's weekly meeting.

Patrick, the club's number one waiter, went to Tahiti for a while and today Vincent has taken over. I immediately appoint him as a new charter member of the club, and then explain what it means.

Because of Beaujolais Nouveau - everything can be blamed on this today! - I arrive a couple of minutes late, to find Jan and Dana Shaw already comfortably installed in the club's area of the Café La Corona.

Things are pretty quiet with just four members present, until the server-lady, Linda Thalman, shows up; outphoto: corona waiter vincent of breath. She printed out the club's map and wrote down its name and address, and still has had to ask the way.

Once she has entered her personal info into the 'guestbook,' she too becomes a charter member. I wish I looked at the book before declaring this, because she hasn't answered any of the six questions about Paris and none of the three questions about "Metropole Paris.' She did write in the date, and a complaint.

This is Vincent, wearing the official Beaujolais Nouveau boater, tie and apron - for this day only.

She wants the 'virtual' membership card in a 'prettier' color. She has printed it out in black and white and I point out that it looks much better in color because it shows the true richness of the brown envelope paper I used to make it. Sort of like 'nice' dirt.

After Jan and I have a long discussion about where to find leather bags in Paris' garment district, we discuss how to find the garment district because I know where it is. I don't know about the bags though - so don't write to ask where they are until Jan tells me where to find them.

It doesn't bother me a bit that other charter members who are in Paris have chosen to drink their Beaujolais Nouveau elsewhere today. Maybe, like me, they started at eight this morning and have got themselves hung up somewhere.

Both Jan and Dana have made many visits to Paris. Dana remembers looking at shoes in a restaurant in 1962 to see what might be proper feet attire, and being astounded to see a pair of white tennis shoes walk by - in some snazzy sort of place.

Mortified - he didn't and doesn't want to be an 'ugly American' - he looked up to see Jack Lemmon in them just before he sat down to lunch with Billy Wilder.

As everybody knows well, Jack Lemmon is anything but an 'ugly American' so Dana went over to their table and asked for an autograph.

Normally in Paris, this is not done, no matter how famous the celebrity. But it is generally okay ifphoto: beaujolais nouveau est arrive both parties are American - since it is doubtful that either will know this unwritten, unpublished and unvoted silent French 'rule.'

A last reminder of today's 'official' name - 'Arrivé.'

For some reason the only thing to write on was Dana's 'note' for his lunch. Jack Lemmon looked it over to see what they'd had and signed it on the back, dryly saying he wasn't going to pay it. If it had been a 'note' for just drinks, the waiter would have probably innocently torn it in half - but I didn't hear what happened to this famous note.

Linda then mentioned all of the 493 places where she has worn white shoes.

Dana also remembered the size and cost of fancy steaks in Paris in 1962. Lolling off the plate sides, two biggies came in at 36 francs, and a huge pitcher of rosé brought the note to 42 francs; not including the voluntary tip.

These days in Frnce, with 'Mad-Cow' scare, nobody eats beef anymore and if they do, the portions are very small. You'd think you'd be paid to eat it, but instead hording seems to be taking place.


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