'Crowd of the Week'

photo: club group

From left to right - the 'Crowd of the Week.' Nellie and
Don are in the foreground.

Next Week: the Club's 1st Birthday

Paris:- Thursday, 28. September 2000:- The weather is like early November, except the leaves are still on the trees. On the day of the big train strike, everybody is in Paris except those trying to get to it via the SNCF's commuter trains or the RER from Versailles.

There will be no dazzling sunlight in the club's café today. There may not be enough light at all, but I decide not worry about it because there may be no members to photograph.

This state lasts a whole 15 minutes. The café's waiters make a minor fuss about pointing Terri Minami and John Lawton towardsphoto: john lawton where the club secretary is sitting. John apologizes for not coming last year. He says he was hung up with the Y2K thing.

Everything was going okay he says, "Until we starting wondering about 'Leap Year.'" Apparently 'Leap Years' only happen on centuries with three zeros. Finding out stuff like this makes being the club's secretary worthwhile.

After last years' 'Y2K' fix, John Lawton didn't say what he is fixing this year.

The couple come often to Paris from Mount Washington, which is a Los Angeles suburb and headquarters of the 'Self-Realization Association.' This has nothing to do with Professor Greb's 'World Improvement Association,' which is still going strong in Chico.

"What are the patches on the Pont des Arts?" I say they might be used for anchoring the Little Big Horn sculptures when they are on the bridge - which is a fact I'm supposed to know because I am club secretary; but really, I'm only guessing.

Just as our drinks arrive, so do Dannye and Lew Powell from Charlotte, North Carolina, and they order bowls of café too. Dannye says they have been looking for the Armée du Salut, in the 15th, "Off a big street starting with 'M' and a small street starting with 'C'."

John guesses right away that they should have been in the 13th. As for me, I always think the Boulevard Massena is somewhere near the Gare du Nord.

Otherwise, Dannye thinks her McDonald's map is really handy. "Does France have orphans?" she wants to know. We get to discuss this possibility a bit before Paul Binkley arrives from 'LA CA USA,' closely followed by Nellie and Don Smith from Seattle.

Don is already a club member, but I completely forget to get Nellie signed up as a new member. Consider yourself 'signed up,' Nellie!

This all happens pretty suddenly, and when Diane and Livio Broccolino follow shortly afterwards, onephoto: dannye, lew powell of the clever club members says it is the 'Crowd of the Week.' Everybody looks at the camera twice, for the group shot to prove nine members are present.

As good as the McDonald's map may be, Dannye and Lew study a real map for clues to streets named 'M.'

The Broccolino's are well-dressed because there were impressing some restaurant's doorman at lunchtime and not especially because they are from Baltimore, Maryland.

Everybody wants to know how strikes function in France. Before I can explain that residents here would like to know too, I realize we have too many cities, so the 'Vote of the Week' is organized.

After quite a few abstentions and modest shows of hands, Charlotte, North Carolina wins the 'City of the Week' distinction handily. I'm not sure it hasn't won this before.

"If it has, then it can be the first city to be 'City of the Week' a second time," someone suggests. I think this may be the 'Quote of the Week.'

Livio tells a story about riding in a Paris taxi. When it stopped at a light a clochard camephoto: terri minami up to say something and Livio rolled the window down.

"Je suis clochard," said the clochard.

Livio says he thought this over for a whole two seconds and replied, "Je suis un Américain." The light changed to green and the taxi continued its journey.

Terri may have been the author of the wonderful quote, "If it has, then it can be the first city to be 'Cty of the Week' a second time,"
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