Lost Siestas

photo: wine bar, le rubis

At siesta time, the Rubis stays open, on the
Rue Marché Saint-Honoré.

How Not To Do This Magazine

by Ric Erickson

Paris:- Monday, 15. May 2000:- Do you know what life is like when you have no plan? If you were in Paris, it would be like my life. If you are in Paris you probably do have a plan because you've got important things to do. The only thing I have to do each week is get this magazine together and online.

Oh, sure, I brush my teeth and I comb my hair, and I go shopping for food and go across the street and do the washing, to watch the dryer attach lint to my old shirts. About once a week, I have to do something administrative, but this is a duty for everyone living in France.

All of the above I do on my weekly 'day off' when I am half blind from monitor overdose, witless from computer noise and can only walk with a tilt because of the crummy chair I've been sitting on for 72 hours.

I don't know how I get away with this. I used to be reallyphoto: la cantine russe busy; driving a school car-pool, getting the car fixed to drive it - and driving to Spain for a holiday every August. I even used to have siestas fairly regularly somehow, and washed a greater number of dishes before helping my kids watch a fair amount of TV.

Find La Cantine Russe on the Avenue de New York.

These days, I tape a TV-movie and see it in 'parts,' over several days. I quit using dishes, and sometimes I even miss the high-point of the day, the evening's TV-news. I don't read the newspapers; once a week I take a week's worth and rip out the oddest stuff I can find. If I run out of time, I throw it all on the floor.

Every once in a while, some pending 'events' pile up in my head, and because I have no 'plan,' I just wander out to get the goods on them - like the 'incroyable pique-nique.'

You readers send me stuff too and I go out looking for this, because it saves me from thinking up something of my own. Occasionally Adrian Leeds sends me an article and I have to get some kind of photos for it.

Finally, 'events' are starting to fall in on me. 'Le Mai des Montparnos' has been going on for some time - I think - but it was only last week that I found out that its program would be available today.

But on Saturday, the 'disappeared' Lucile popped into my face - with the printed program already! - plus an invitation to her part of 'Le Mai des Montparnos,' which will take place in a nearby café.

Some good folks in way-out Western Australia got a bit spiffed and have decided to re-stage 'Clochmerle,' in honor of a poor French sailor who was stranded or drowned there in 1801, and this has led them to the idea of having a Paris-style toilet-building competition in a place named Augusta, half the world away.

For this they need a photo of a Paris toilet. No problem! The only Vespasienne left is just around the corner. Anything for Oz.

I forgot. Early in the week - on my 'day off' actually - I checked up on Mark Kritz' alert about the Varian Fryphoto: pokka, dr pepper exhibition at the Mona Bismarck foundation. Never heard of it? Neither had I, and I also found the Cantine Russe on account of it. Once 'found, ' what should I do with it?

Result: an issue with no feature other than Adrian's highly educational tour of new world beaneries, with tips on what to eat without utensils, plus a bunch of snacks of this and that.

Tea in cans, Pokka and Dr. Pepper - Paris has nearly everything!

Have I left anything out? Of course - there's the sculpture in the Place Vendôme I touted last week, sight unseen. Finding the latest info about the coming Friday, 14. July 'incroyable pique-nique' at the '2000 In France' headquarters was nearly beside Vendôme's stone courtyard.

Getting there, overloaded with two kilos of excess documentation, took me past the photo ops for Adrian's feature, plus I had a glass of water in one of my formerly-favorite wine bars, in addition to having a pretty good sandwich - with a free salad thrown in - as my 'Meal of the Week.'

So I've put this stuff down on its own page. Even though most of it falls into the 'events' category, the 'Scene' page is already overfull with the stuff that's already on or is coming soon.

This isn't the way to put any magazine together, but this is the way this week's edition has been done. With no plan at all. Let's start with Adrian, because she is everybody's favorite 'belle.'

Professional Eater, Adrian Leeds

Regular readers might recall past food scuffles I've had with Adrian Leeds. She is back in this issue with an outsider's inside look at lots of food in her home-town country, known nearly worldwide as the United States 'of A.'

'A' stands for America, a name which applies to two entire continents in addition to the United States' part. For those whose geography is hazy, Cuba in an 'American' country even if it is on an offshore island.

Adrian Leeds grew up as a 'belle' in New Orleans, attended university in New York City and spent a year on a kibbutz in Israel before settling down, first in Knoxville and then in Los Angeles. Despite all of this, Adrian is still 'belle.'

In 1994, Adrian moved to Paris with her daughter. Shephoto: hot dog kiosk, trocadero needed to eat so she wrote 'The Leeds Good Value Guide to Paris Restaurants,' which is the result of her insatiable desire for great food at bargain prices, plus an addiction to food.

Little snack stands are called 'buvettes,' and they are all over Paris.

Surprisingly, although 'living to eat,' Adrian is a normal-sized person, and I think she should write another book to explain exactly how she can do everything she does - except eat a whole club sandwich - while 'pigging-out' in America, or, as she puts it, 'dining' in France.

Not being able to find American delicacies such as pea soup in Paris, I have illustrated Adrian's article with photos of 'French stuff,' most of which can be 'taken out' and some of it can even be eaten with your own fingers, or borrowed ones.

Café Metropole Club's 31th Session

The 31th weekly meeting - over the 30-weeks mark! - of the 'Café Metropole Club' marked another unexpected mini upsurge in 'real' membership last Thursday, and included a minor accessory-style new 'First of the Week.' You can read about it on last week's 'Club 'Report'' page even if you have already read it once or twice.

If you haven't read it even once yet, you should do so because it isn't re-run in this issue - on account of an important issue raised by a 'virtual' Café Metropole Club member - which is on the weekly page that masquerades as 'Club News.'

The club's next meeting will be on Friday, 19. May - see this week's 'Club News' page for details on how to tell whether it is Friday or not when you are in Paris.

This Was Metropole One Year Ago:

Issue 4.20 - 17. May 1999 - This week's Café Metropole column was headlined, 'Doing the 'Scene' in Paris.' The 'Au Bistro' column was titled 'The 'Ponts' of May,' about Europe's no-work month. This issue had one whole feature, titled 'Boullay - London - Boullay' which was by Linda Thalman. There were two eMail pages. On one, Janet Norton and Sedona wanted to know 'Is Paris Safe?' On the other, 'The Brooms May change' was from Jim Auman, and there a no-return-address message from China. The 'Scene' columnphoto: place colette had 'No 'Prolongation' In Sight for Pont des Arts.' There were four 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's Cartoon of the Week was captioned 'Herb Meets Dali By Chance' - but then, how else could you meet him these days?

This Was Metropole Two Years Ago:

Issue 3.20 - 18. May 1998 - The Café Metropole column had an alarming title: 'No Cause For Alarm - Yet.' The 'Au Bistro' column was titled 'All Sorts of News For Visitors.' This issue had three snappy features, titled 'Who's Afraid of the RER?' by Linda Thalman - again! - plus the slightly snappier 'Life On the Road in France' by M-R Erickson, and the ultra snazzy 'Public Transport Tariff Maze Explained,' by nameless but-you-know-who. There were four 'Posters of the Week' as usual. Ric's Cartoon of the Week was had the theatening caption of 'Clochards Get Ready To Greet You.'

Metropole Paris' Nearly Solo Countdown to 31. December 2000:

This is the 20th issue of the year - the next one will require digits other than fingers and toes to count. Since I wrote last week that I wasn't going to whine about nobody but contest contestants reading this anymore, I haven't been able to think up an insanely easy, and exciting contest that will have lots of winners, even for contestants who don't read this.

Moreover - what a silly word! - I am still plugging away with all the stray centimos and odd Francisco Franco pesetas I have and putting them into the panzer-rackete-knackproof Deutschebundespost piggybank - mehr noch! - ausgeclipping all the kuponsphoto: l'ecume st honore I find on what few packaged goods I buy - such as cigarette packages. It doesn't add up. French cigarette packages don't have coupons. If only the darn piggybank would cough up!

Fresh fish on the dish - from the 'wave' on Rue Marché Saint-Honoré.

This new countdown will last only 366 days, minus the 136 days already gone. The official reason for doing this is to give the Tour Eiffel a new chance to 'hit the button' once and for all. This is a re-rundown for many count-down fans who missed shouting 'Zéro' on Friday, 31. December 1999 when Paris' countdown display blanked out with only minutes left to go. If you don't happen to be a count-down fan, then you can skip reading this. But I warn you that if you do - you will miss the next ultra-exciting contest, even if I don't know what the prize will be, yet.

There are only about 230 days left to go until the 3rd Millennium. For really alert readers, this figure is again correct, I guess. The thing I like least about the count-down is calculating the days gone and the days-to-go each week. I do this by taking lint out of one pocket and putting it into any other one.
signature, regards, ric

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contents to: Ric Erickson, Editor.
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