What Is a Paris Monsoon?

photo: monsoon on corona terrace

This is a Paris monsoon.

And An Update to the Last Meeting

Paris:- Thursday, 11. May 2000:- For once the weather prediction is right on time. In fact, it is 'on time' about once an hour. It is pouring, it is hosing down; it is smashing weak umbrellas, making them look like sodden hibernating bats.

Last night the same weather sunk Rouen. The night before it was Calais - finally ending the longest fourth-division football loser's party in the history of the world.

Walking to the métro, it feels like lumpy rain is pounding on my cap. It is bouncing off and lying like white pebbles on the glistening sidewalk between the lakes. It is about 25 degrees celsius and the pebbles are hail. By the métro the hail is bouncing.

At Châtelet, as my eye becomes level with the sidewalk, it is no different. Rangoon weather on the Rue de Rivoli. Car drivers are steam-bathing in their tin rickshaws. Shoppers are huddled in doorways, watching for bargains to float past.

At the club's café La Corona, there are even two heavy-rain fanciers sitting outside on the Quai du Louvre terrace - well back from the floods - watching the traffic barge past. I should write 'flow,' but the traffic never does this here, even when it is dry.

While taking photos of this unusual scene - photos of wet murk - Monsieur Ferrat comes outsidephoto: l->r, kay, doug, marion and tells me there is a club member waiting. Then the new member comes out and I assure her I'm coming in - but first I have to make the handshake round of the bar.

Kay Thompson, Doug Fuss and Marion Nowak; all safe and dry inside La Corona.

With this done, I find the club's area of the café is mostly full of civilians, cowardly seeking shelter from the elements. I take off cap, coat; take out the unofficial members' booklet and 'reports' booklet, and the club's two unofficial Bic pens.

Kay Thompson borrows one of them to sign in as a 'real' member. She has come straight from a 28-hour stay-awake trip; which included getting kicked in the airplane seat-back all across the Atlantic, by a hyperactive little girl.

Kay is dying of hunger too so I order a 'croque provençal' for her because it has Mediterranean stuff in it. When I see it has a fired egg on top, I order salt and pepper too.

For Kay - who is also known as Ms. Nomer, of 1985 BBS fame - she ran the 'Dr. Who' club - on her first Paris visit, her hometown of Sweetwater, Oklahoma gets the 'City of the Week' award. No question about it.

You see, before coming she wrote as Ms. Nomer and I suggested shephoto: cafe corona decor have lunch and catch a bit of sun in the Tuileries while waiting for the meeting to start. She has wisely not done this; so I declare the 'croque provençal' to be the club's 'Food of the Week.'

Other than calling this a bit of La Corona's decor, I don't know what it is.

'Real' club member number 59 Marion Nowak comes in, wearing the Zorro hat she wore last week. If she wears it again it'll become 'Hat of the Week.' No hat or umbrella will get this distinction today.

Kay tells us about nearly being pegged as a shoplifter by Larry McMurty at his bookstore in Archer City. She also says she has been through Paris, Texas - and is still sorry she didn't buy any of their Paris, Texas souvenir Tour Eiffels.

Thieves get a going over by Marion. 'Not Paris,' but London, Florence, Rome - Marion says some people have "Rob me!" stickers on their foreheads.

Doug Fuss wades in. He is a 'Charter Member' - which means he is 'real' - number 28, and he is back in Paris after getting 'cabin fever' in Georgia all winter long. "Bucolic fever," he calls it, adding "The only known cure for it is Paris," and thus we have our 'Quote of the Week.' Or is it two?

While he is getting us to guess which two French cars found themselves on the list for '10 Worst Cars in the World,' another 'real' member in the form of Mark Kritz shows up, carrying a industrial-strength umbrella.

This is in one hand. In the other, he is carrying a wine-colored knitted tie. I don't believe it. Last week's 'Suit of the Week' is matched by this week's 'Tie of the Week,' even though Mark is not wearing it - or a suit.

Before some joker turns up with the 'Socks of the Week' or the 'Fake Nose of the Week' - not farfetched; I saw some in a shop - some order must be restored; unofficially of course. As bothphoto: mark kritz and tie 'real' and 'virtual' club members know, the club's rules are infinitely flexible - so long as they don't exceed our solar system.

However, at some point during the meeting - between "Rob me!" and "Bucolic fever" I choked on my lukewarm double-express café, which put a big blot on the unofficial members' booklet - and! - the unofficial 'club reports' booklet. Two blots during one meeting!

Mark Kritz holds up the red knitted tie, for which he has no suit.

Normally your club is not this crude. And as the club's unofficial secretary I am certainly not going to put either of these blots forward for the distinction of 'Blots of the Week.'

A short time before the time is up, the 'Monsoon of the Week' stops and Paris turns on its spring again. No club meeting ever starts out unpromising, but this particular meeting has been very successful, although it has had no 'firsts' other than Kay's 'first time' in Paris; and this is a 'first' we should not forget.

She promises to return next week with her husband, who has been sent by his software company to ride a bicycle around Toulon, possibly as a cure for jet-lag.

Doug Fuss says drugstores don't have anything good for it - so cycling around Toulon may be the secret formula. We'll find out at the next club meeting.

Date, Time and Location of Next Meeting

The date for the club's next 'real' meeting is Friday, 19. May. If it seems to be Thursday and you are definitely in Paris, do not come to the meeting - because a film crewphoto: cafe terrace, after will be using the club's café as a location. Come on Friday instead!

But if you don't happen to be in Paris and you happen to remember it is your club's day - a day late! - wherever you are you can say "It is Café Metropole Club day again!"

Luckily for today's members, Paris returns to spring by the end of the meeting.

The café La Corona meeting place will be open on both outsides as usual, plus inside, next Friday, so the time for your club's meeting remains from 15:00 to 17:00 - which is also known as 3 pm to 5 pm, even if you have an Arabic watch converted to metric.

Come however you are, especially if you can. If you do not expect to be present you can read the regular - this week's - Monday page for this week's general club's news.

The Film Shoot Club Day-Change

This is mentioned above. Next week's club meeting will be on Friday, 19. May - not on Thursday. The café La Corona's management has now doubly re-confirmed that the club's café will be taken over by a crew to film some movie scenes. This will happen on Wednesday and Thursday, 17 and 18. May; because the Louvre is always closed on Tuesdays.

The café's location is still:

Café-Tabac La Corona
2. Rue de l'Amiral Coligny - or - 30. Quai du Louvre
Paris 1. Métro: Louvre-Rivoli or Pont-Neuf

A bientôt à Paris,
signature, regards, ric

Send email concerning the
contents to: Ric Erickson, Editor.
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