'Unmentionable of the Week'

photo: l->r, larry, denise, catharine, cauleen

Meetings are cheerier with members. From left; Larry, Denise, Catharine and Cauleen.

Two More Non-Readers Become Members

Paris:- Thursday, 8. June 2000:- The sun must be doing pretty well in Spain because it has pushed warm air and sunshine all the way up to Paris. Instead of an alarm waking me up this morning, it sounds like the street is being ripped apart with a thousand poorly-oiled claw hammers.

But it is only a city crew removing graffiti from my walls; using a lot of compressed high pressure - which is turning a layer of the stone into fine grit - so it's better that I keep the shutters shut. Otherwise it is a nice day.

At the club's café La Corona, it is even a nicer day. People are laid out like Mayan sun worshipers on the Seine's banks, while the street's trees make La Corona's parasols redundant. A little brightness makes a big change; it almost looks like down south.

I have hardly time to write the meeting number and date into the members' and the club-reports' bookletsphoto: larry, denise when Denise and Larry Wechsler arrive from DC on what Larry says is a 'red-eye.' Two in fact, because they started out from Seattle.

Larry and Denise are jet-lagged and goofy - about becoming parents.

They are hungry and jet-lagged. Denise orders something - which I don't ever find out what it is, so it doesn't become 'Food of the Week.' Larry has a 'croque provençal' which has been 'Food of the Week' before, twice I think - and because I recognize it, it makes it for a third time. This is a good demonstration of how elastic your club's 'rules' can be.

Denise and I ask for orange juice and Larry orders a 'moyen' beer. This was offered by the club's waiter, as a choice between 'petit' and 'moyen.'

In Paris, 'moyen' beers do not exist, officially. There are 'bocks' - which are often served to little old ladies in balloon wine glasses - 'demis' and 'formidables.' When asked, our waiter says there is a 'superior' too - which must be a whole litre.

Denise and Larry apologize for having had a nap before coming to the club. To show that this needs no apology, it becomes the 'Nap of the Week.'

Larry asks me how I got into this racket and I am interrupted halfway through chapter 23 when club member 71 arrives. I think she looks like somebody I've seen before - and I have because it is Catharine Saxberg, who became a member at the club's meeting on 25. May. I am embarrassed.

Catharine is the lady who is already sore at me because I thought she worked for 'Radio Cabs' in Toronto. For this incredible gaff, I callphoto: catharine it the 'Faux-pas of the Week.' Nobody disagrees with this.

For Larry's benefit, if he reads this, the second half of chapter 23 concludes with, 'And then I got online and became the Internet Reporter for Paris.'

Catharine is looking cool, despite having an insane neighbor - who has never met her.

Catharine has a story about a neighbor who was pounding on her door at 01:30 this morning, yelling that she should quit opening and shutting doors, and talking. We all think this is a loony-neighbor story and offer all sorts of silly and ineffective solutions for it.

Denise has already told me she has never read Metropole. When Catharine's friend Cauleen Viscoff arrives, she admits that she has never read Metropole either. Both are now members of the club, and I think this brings the non-reader membership up to about five. A huge number, considering.

Cauleen wants a beer after some serious shopping at Samaritaine a couple of doors away. Without listening too closely to the very extensive list of beers available in La Corona, she orders a 'Corona.'

And, heck! this is what she gets! Nobody has ever had a Corona in La Corona before at a club meeting, so of course it becomes the 'Beer of the Week,' if not of all time.

It is even served in a 'Desperado' glass with a slice of lemon. Somebody says it is a slice of lime. This is not possible because limes do not exist in France - they are 'citron verts' here - greenphoto: croque provencal lemons. The French have no explanation for why they taste like limes. Maybe nobody has noticed.

Denise is pregnant, which is another club 'first.' It is, in fact, a possible reader - and club member! - who has not even been born yet.

Voila! for the third time - 'Food of the Week' - the croque provençal sets a world record.

The Wechslers think the baby's name should start with 'C' so we all pitch in with 'C' names, none of which can be 'official' because none of the future grandparents are present to referee, object, get steamed up, and so on. It is fun while it lasts.

About this time all of the ladies decide to make a mass attack on La Corona's downstairs waterworks department, and off they all go with a sack full of coins. After a decent interval, they return with the sack of coins - apparently because the Madame of the waters wasn't there.

This stroke of luck has everybody in a good mood. So good, that Cauleen hauls out the swag she's picked up at Samaritaine on the way to the club.

Out of her bag she pulls a pink box that has 'Aubade' written on it. Now, vigilant readers and members, it is the time to remember that Cauleen has never read Metropole and has no idea that one Aubade poster blew away all of the contestants on the recent 'bikini war' posters content in Paris.

She says, "It's just down the street, just inside the door. Limit yourself to ten minutes or it'll wipe out your budget!"

Then she opens the pink box and shows off the treasures she's managed to gather in only ten minutes. They say, just about in unison, "Lookit that lace!" And, "Ooh" photo: corona's corona beerand "Ahh!" Out of some other small bags she displays more treasures. She must have gone over her 'limit.'

I know it might be in dubious taste, but this is too good to pass up because there's no chance of this ever happening again. Without asking the permission of the members who are present, I say Cauleen's loot - by Aubade - should be formally accepted as the club's 'Underwear of the Week.'

Astounding new club 'first' - a Corona beer in the club's café La Corona!

With this, the meeting is 15 minutes into overtime and by mutual agreement is deemed at an end. Outside, the temperature has reached its high of about 28 and it is still a very fine day in Paris, with a lot of afternoon and a whole evening left to go.

All members file out to where the Quai de Seine traffic is being its usual rush-hour self. Catharine has already said the sound of it is somehow friendlier than traffic in Toronto. All I can remember about Toronto's traffic was that it seemed to be asleep.

Date, Time and Location of Next Meeting

The date for the club's next 'real' meeting is Thursday, 15. June. This happens to be Sainte-Germaine's Day in Paris. If it seems to be Thursday and you seem to be lost, come to the meeting instead.

By the way, the TV-weather lady said today's Saint-Médard's Day is famous for a huge amount of rain, but I was only half listening and don't know the details.

If you don't have the good luck - 'bon chance' in French - to be in Paris, but you do remember itphoto: cauleen with aubade package is the day for your club's meeting - wherever you are you can say "It is Café Metropole Club day in Paris again!" to all nearby friends and strangers alike.

The café La Corona meeting place will again be open on both outside terraces like today - plus all of its inside places - 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 what sort of chronometre you may have.

Non-reader but new member Cauleen shows off prize loot found in nearby Samaritaine department store.

Come as you are - even in jeans, so long as they are not 'sprayed on' - 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. In particular, there is nothing particular to read, I think..

Monday's 'club news' will be available next week in Metropole's regular edition, pretty much as usual unless something unusual happens.

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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