The Club's New 'Class' of Members

photo: corona, rue de l'amiral coligny

Despite lack of outright sunshine, the temperatures are warm enough for the terraces.

News About the 'Café Metropole Club'

Paris:- Saturday, 22. April 2000:- It's a good thing your Café Metropole Club has members. If it didn't, it would be pretty dull even if its headquarters - its clubhouse - is in Paris.

Take last Thursday for example. I was sitting in the club's café La Corona by myself, looking around at all the non-club members who were in Paris for Easter, and wondering if I should just recruit some willy-nilly.

But I did not consider this for long when I realized I would have to explain the difference between 'virtual' and 'real' to people who might not even know about the Internet or Metropole or such things such as the 'Food of the Week.'

One thing the club meeting did have without members was a 'Smell of the Week,' due to all the civilians withphoto: bunny of the week their croque-monsieurs and hot dogs. This is not a great smell but it is better than any you get from fast-food places.

Finally, the expected unexpectedly happened, and club members were present. R.C. Cofer from Tampa, Florida was asking the waiter of the day if I was the 'club' and being satisfied I was, introduced Anne and Will Towler to me. He has met them 10 minutes before, and had done the very thing I had not done.

The 'Bunny of the Week' is the bunny 'on time.'

The Towlers, on a stopover in Paris between Shanghai and Seattle had been minding their own business, when they were 'shanghaied' by R. C. Cofer, and I picked up the relay by signing them up as bona-fide 'real' club members.

This has obviously broken new ground and possibly old club rules at the same time. If 'virtual' members become 'real' by signing the members' booklet at a weekly club meeting in Paris - what is the status of non-virtual 'members?' Et voilà! Your club now has a new, but always unofficial, rule.

Reading about this spur-of-the-moment 'member-friendly' club policy, caused 'Charter' member number seven, Dana Shaw, to write an emotional comment to the club's ad-hoc secretary, who is also Metropole's 'Ed,' me.

"Melbourne, Florida is the next major town north of where we live. I thought you would be thrilled to have this piece of information."

At the meeting, R. C. Cofer seemed to be unsure of the whereabouts of Tampa, and the meeting went along at such a furious pace that I did not get a chance to pin him down. If I recall correctly, Tampa is somewhere near Brownsville, Texas. Wherever it is, it is nowhere near the club's 'City of the Week,' Shanghai.

Dana Shaw continues, "In spite of my 45-year love affair with Paris and the wonderful opportunity Jan and I had to spend two months there, I miss the club meetings at La Corona morephoto: fiat500 of the week than anything else I remember of our most recent trip. I guess when all is said and done, people truly are more important than places. We have some wonderful memories of the folk we met through your good auspices."

Well, I am thrilled to be the secretary of a club in Paris that has such wonderful members, both 'virtual' and 'real,' and now 'unsuspecting' as well.

The 'Fiat 500 of the Week' is every week, not just at Easter.

This has added an unique dimension to what was basically a purely 'virtual' Internet operation. Dana is quite correct to note that a handful of 'real' members count for far more than the millions of 'virtual' hit-and-runners that some Web sites claim as their faithful.

As for the Café Metropole Club's 'virtual' members, more and more of you are writing to announce your impending arrival to sign the 'real' members' booklet.

Some of you are also taking the trouble to write to say that you are unable to be present in Paris in order to become 'real,' and this makes all of us wistful; although I remain optimistic that some fine day, you'll make it come true.

This is quite enough kleenex-drenched sentimentality for one week, so let's get on with the standard boilerplate argle-bargle that ends this 'club news' column every week.

But before doing this I should mention that Carmel McKenzie and Alan Savage made a return visit to the club on Thursday. Marion Nowak wrote in advance to say she was not coming again, nor for the coming meeting, and did not actually come after all - unlike the previous week.

If any of the club's other German-speaking 'virtual' members are reading this and intending to become 'real' members, the term 'argle-bargle' above is spelled 'argel-bargel' in German.

Some Coming Dates To Note

La Corona's patron told me he had the dates for the movie shoot in the café in May. But because of the Easter crush, he said he would give them to me later. Later, we both forgot. The café will be occupied by a movie crew for a couple of days one week in May, so the club's meeting will probably be put forward to a Wednesday.

I will be absent from two meetings - the last one in June and the first one in July, which are Thursday, 29. June and Thursday, 6. July. Now that I've lookedphoto: cafes of the week closely at my flight tickets, it looks like whoever booked them was unaware that the airport I will return from is in a timezone in the minus area.

As I requested, I am scheduled to leave from it on 12. July - but near midnight GMT. Even flying counter-clockwise, my flight will not gain enough time to land at a reasonable hour in European time.

These 'cafés of the Week' are not supposed to be addictive.

If the plane is on schedule and if I can transfer from its landing place to Eurostar's Paris departure station, and m&eacue;tro line four is operating correctly, then I will arrive for the club's meeting on Thursday, 13. July, late.

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