The Club's First Hat Day

photo: L->R, stephan, marion, susan, doug, catharine, jason

A true 'group' photo - another 'first' for your club.

Besides This - Nothing Remarkable

Paris:- Thursday, 25. May 2000:- The weather is unremarkable so I won't make any remarks about it other than to say I'd rather go to today's club meeting than stay home with my winter jacket on.

Paris' armored cars are in service again so I won't remark about the lack of cash either. The 'bikini wars were on last week's posters all around Paris, and this week's are unremarkable except for the new ones for Aubade's underwear, which make the 'bikini wars' highly forgettable.

I get halfway to the métro before remembering I've left my tickets at home, but my faulty memory is unremarkable too. The métro does nothing remarkable on the ride to Châtelet and when I get out of it, the Rue de Rivoli looks like it always does when it looks normal.

One of the 'Fiat 500s of the Week' from several weeks ago is illegally parked in the same place as last time, but now has parking tickets on it - but this is more inevitable than remarkable.

Across from the Louvre, there is another Fiat 500, but I think it got the 'Fiat 500 of the Week' awardphoto: catharine, soup of the week before. With today's two photos of them, I think they will become the 'Fiat 500s of the Week II' in Monday's issue of Metropole.

In La Corona, as soon as the civilians clear out of the club's area of the café I move new members Catharine Saxberg and Jason Hraynyk from the Siberia they're in to the club's luxurious portion.

Then I put the date of 24. May in both the member's and the club 'reports' booklets, and add 'Queen Victoria's Birthday' to the 'reports' booklet.

Even if it is not 'Food of the Week,' Catharine's soup has everything.

Catharine is in the 'VMRR' category. All readers and 'VMs' who remember what this means, raise your hands. 'RMs' are here, so I don't have to explain the initials, obviously. Well, not exactly 'here,' but they'll be here soon.

Jason Hraynyk is none of the club's new initials designating various states of membership, because he is not a reader of Metropole, but another one of these innocents who have been shanghaied into coming to a meeting.

The first thing I want to know from Catharine is what it is she does with Radiocabs in Toronto. Ha, ha, what a joke! It is not 'Radiocabs' but 'Radio Broadcast Sales.' I am the 'Nitwit of the Week.' The patient Catharine has been waiting a long time for this revenge.

Jason was in Paris on holiday recently and when he returned to Canada, he found that he was fired. He came back to Paris because it is more amusing to be unemployed here than in Oshawa - which is so close to Toronto that nobody knows were it is.

This is fine for 'City of the Week.' After a little mapwork - in the member's booklet again! - it becomes clearphoto: perrier of the week that Oshawa is nowhere near Duluth, Thunder Bay or SS-Marie. I secretly think it is closer to Detroit, but Catharine and Jason assure me this is Windsor.

Obviously members are pacing themselves at La Corona. No 'Drink of the Week' for Perrier!

Of course all this thinking makes these two new Charter members extremely hungry. Monsieur Ferrat assures Catharine that the menu's 'Choc-Soupe Gratinée' is tomato, onions or - not 'and' but 'or' - légumes. Catharine asks for légumes. I ask Monsieur Ferrat if it is possible to have everything in the soup all at once, sort of like a four-seasons pizza and he says yes.

This is how Catharine ends up with everything instead of just plain old légumes. Jason has a typical ham and cheese sandwich, which includes half of a tasty-looking baguette.

The latest news from Canada concerns hockey of course - what else do Canadians ever talk about? Hockey is now permitted to have up to seven and a half periods; no doubt in an effort to match the day-long lacrosse games played by the locals before any Europeans showed up there.

I spot a Zorro hat in the distance and it turns out to be Charter member Marion Nowak returning for another visit. Susan and Doug Fuss arrive with their Savannah, Georgia suntans and then I see another! 'Zorro' Hat! in the distance.

This other hat gets turned around by the café's crew and ends up with us. Underneath it is Stephan Nowak, who is closely related to Marion by marriage. This is too good to be true, so the Zorro hats become the 'Hat of the Week' because they outnumber all other hats by two to zero.

Stephan is from Kronach, which is east of Coburg in Oberfranken, not far from Bamberg. I think it is the name of a bird, but Marion corrects me with the 'Quote of the Week.'

She says, "Just replace the 'o' with an 'a' and replace the 'a' with an 'i' and this equals the bird, 'Kranich.'"

I was sure it was something like this.

Susan starts telling us about a 'Roman' tour she has taken with an umbrella, from Cluny. Beforephoto: french ham sandwich I can hear how this excursion turned out I decide to tell Stephan - and this is a definite club 'faux-pas' - the club's secretary is supposed to listen, not yak - about how many times I've been nearly bombed, partly because he is in the laser business.

Jason's ham-and-cheese sandwich would be his two dozenth of the week if he hadn't returned to Paris only yesterday..

What really distracted me was two or three ladies, with eight to twelve hungry kids, near the club's area. Monsieur Ferrat arrived suddenly with dozens of La Corona-style hot dogs for all of them at once, somehow balanced on three or four serving tablets - a truly impressive sight.

This reminded me to urge all present members to rise so I could get one decent group photo, for a change. Everybody stiffened up until they got bored, so what we have above is the fifth photo.

This leads somehow to the discovery that the club has many more members with doctorates than I realized. Besides Stephan's, and Marion's, Catherine has an 'ABD,' which means 'All-But-Dissertation.' In history.

At this point my notes about today's meeting seem to run out of ink. Susan and Doug Fuss are returning - or at least, not coming to the club again for a while - and Catharine must do some shopping, while Jason intends to take advantage of his unemployment, in Paris.

The Nowaks and I cross the Pont des Arts and take the shortcut to the Rue de Seine, and study some of the gallery windows that are participating in the 'Art Saint-Germain-des -Prés'photo: marion, stephan, in st germain wine-and-cheese hoopla evening.

After looking at Pascin's drawings in the Rue Visconti, we get stuck in the Gallerie de l'Europe with the very different but big paintings by Safet Zec and Jean-François Oudry.

The 'hat' members, cavorting in Saint-Germain after today's meeting.

Although it is late afternoon for everybody else, it is lunchtime for me and I head for the nearest métro. This does not involve taking a straight line because there are none in Saint-Germain. As I drop into the métro's entrance the last thing I see is a clown on the boulevard with a half-full 1.5-litre bottle of Orangina balanced on his head.

Date, Time and Location of Next Meeting

The date for the club's next 'real' meeting is Thursday, 1. June, which is the Ascension holiday in Paris. If it seems to be Thursday and you are definitely in Paris, come to the meeting.

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

The café La Corona meeting place will be open on both outsides as usual, plus inside, next Thursday, 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, depending on which sort of sundial you may have.

Come as you are, with or without hats, 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. Next week's 'club news' will be available next week, I suppose, as usual.

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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