"Köln - Paris; Four Hours Six Minutes"

photo: corona terrace, quai du louvre

There's nothing wrong with La Corona's terrace, but club meetings are held inside all the same.

The 'Report' of the 45th Weekly Meeting

Paris:- Thursday, 10. August 2000:- It's club day again and it seems to actually be summer after all my recent doubts. It is not nearly as perfect as the nearly-perfect Tuesday about nine days ago, but it is not as hot or humid either.

I think I can put on my 'african' shirt without putting any jinx on it. I try on my $10 'Miami Vice' jacket too, but it has been in the closet even longer than the shirt, so its padded shoulders look like lumpy padding - which they are - sitting on top of my own shoulders. Too bad, old pal - back to the closet for you until Halloween.

Out on the avenue on the way to the métro, the light is right with its unblinding brightness mixed with spatterings of shade from the trees. Between pleasant and very good, the day is comfortably balanced.

The métro ride itself is unremarkable. The accordionist isn't great and there are no outlandish passengers. There's lots of empty seats. The Saint-Germain station, with its new 'literary-look,' looksphoto: stephan nowak just as bare as any station would without the customary panoramic métro posters.

Black slanted text is projected on its white tiled-brick walls, and there's some sort of display low down in the dimness below. At least it's not white text projected onto black tiles; Web-page-style.

Stephen isn't sure he wants to leave Paris, even after two years here.

From Châtelet to La Corona along the Seine there are a lot of strollers ambling along the quay's sidewalks; cluttered with café terraces, plant shop displays and the pet shops. The last block is solid with café terraces, ending with La Corona's, which has more seats taken than I've seen for a long time.

After I toss the standard 'greets' around the café the new 'waiter of the day' tells me I can't sit in the club's area because it is reserved. I tell him I'm it, the club, for which it is reserved. Nobody else at all is in the 'Grande Salle.'

Before I can continue reading a 'New Yorker' article I started on the plane ride back from my holidays - about going bust on the Internet - Doug Fuss strolls up and snags a chair.

Doug has escaped from the 95 percent humidity of Savannah, Georgia. He is also a long-time club regular, who signed on during a meeting late last December. We discuss humidity and he concludes that New Orleans has the worst.

Instead of 'wind-chill factor,' Doug says, they have a 'heat index.' This is why he comes to Paris, which has no such thing of either. I think it should have an 'over-long winter scale.'

Without warning Stephen Nowak is at thephoto: doug fuss table, asking, "Where's Marion?" Doug says she's probably in Samaritaine. Stephen looks worried for two seconds.

Stephen Nowak signed on as a member at club meeting number 33; preceded by Marion Nowak who prepared the way for him by joining the club during meeting 27.

Doug prefers Paris' low humidity to Savannah's over-abundance.

According to Stephen, Marion is collecting loot because they are leaving Paris after two years to return to Germany, to Köln, or Cologne as it is known off-continent. Stephen is a physicist and he's got himself a good job there which has a free white professor's coat thrown in with the deal.

Köln is on a direct line to Gare du Nord, so it is not as if its all the way to Moscow. But, work-oblige, the Nowaks may not attend many more club meetings unless they are held on weeends. All the same Stephen says, "Köln - Paris; four hours six minutes."


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