'Is Smoking Pot On Buses Legal?'

photo: me photos ric

When less than one charter member arrives, I shoot me through the one of the café's mirrors.

News from the 'Café Metropole Club'

Paris:- Thursday, 25. November 1999:- The city is not staggering under the effects of a heatwave, but it is noticeably warmer than last week. Nearly 'normal' November weather, I'd say.

I've seen an ad for Christmas trees from a shop on the Quai de la Mégisserie. This is the pleasant stroll, past all the greenery of the plants and the animal shops, but there are not many Christmas items, which is a good thing because it is Thanksgiving today in the United States.

What has this got to do with anything? Simply this; the server-lady, Linda Thalman, who was at the 'Club' last week told me she saw Christmas stuff at her hypermarché on Saturday - last. Apparently this breaks some rule or other.

But not in Paris! Christmas stuff started to appear as soon as Halloween was taken down. When I arrive at La Corona, Christmasphoto: mlle corona decor mixes with last week's Beaujolais Nouveau. You see, we have this extra 'season' called Beaujolais Nouveau day tucked in between Halloween and Christmas.

Also, Christmas was going full-blast at the 'grands magazins' on the Boulevard Haussmann last Saturday, without a care in the world about any Thanksgiving 'rule.' You didn't have to drive all the way out to a hypermarché near the Cadillac Ranch in the sticks to see it.

The 'Club's' very own and elegant Madesmoiselle Corona.

At 15:00 I am in the 'Club's' area in the 'grande salle' of the café La Corona. I take out the charter members' booklet and the 'Club' reports booklet and the 'Club's' official pen and write in today's date. Then nothing happens for a while.

So I take out a photocopy of the city's 'secret' Christmas program and study it. The only thing 'secret' about it are the vague details for the Christmas Mass at Notre-Dame. It also hints the construction of the Big Wheel at Concorde started the day after I was last there.

Monsieur Ferrat brings me my double-express café and I drink it slowly. It does not last long. Even if there are no members, I still have to do a 'Club Report,' so I photograph the 'Club's' area of the café with nobody in it.

This reminds me that I've never read all of the camera's user manual. This induces me to try out somephoto: annie of its trickier features, including shooting Monsieur Ferrat again - who is standing outside the café, looking for 'Club' members - or any likely customers who may need onion soup.

I shoot my café cup. I shoot the overhead lights that are draped with fake grapes. I shoot me shooting me, so I'll have an opening photo for this non-report. I shoot the vinegar and oil set, together with the plastic mustard container. I shoot La Corona's Mademoiselle Corona statue.

Meet Annie Salmona , fresh from touring the Musée d'Orsay.

About the time I am thinking of having a second dose of double-express, Annie Salmona asks me if this - this huge empty space in the 'Grande Salle' - is the Café Metropole Club. I almost tear off her hand, shaking it. She has brought Isabelle Eyman, her daughter, and Orion Litzau, her son. I almost pull their arms off too.

Whew! Annie and family were having such a good time in the Musée d'Orsay that they only remembered to get to the 'Club' 100 minutes after it started this week's session.

Annie has written several times over the past years and I am glad to see her at last. She was born in Paris at grew up at 9. Rue Chappe in Montmartre; on a street that is all steps.


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