Autumn Is Here

photo: ben and jerrys, planet hollywood

One of the Champs-Elysées' many sidewalk cafés.

Chance for 'Color-Leaves' Is So-So

by Ric Erickson

Paris:- Monday, 9. October 2000:- During the week the weather here finally made up its mind to pass from early fall to the real thing. It has been flirting with this for some time and I think I've been mentioning it - moaning about it - since August, but now it's really real.

Do not bother arriving in Paris without some warm layers of clothing, or the time and the means to buy some on the spot. It is far from freezing, but it can be damp and chilly, and sometimes there is a bit of rain too.

The leaves on most Paris trees I've seen in the past week seem to be unaware of the season and are still mostly green. This means they still have a chance to get colorful.

They will either do this or they will gradually turn muddy-brown before falling. Some years it is one way and in some years it is the other. I don't know of any way the predict which it will be.

I also do not know of any way to tell the 'powers-that-be' that Paris deserves a extra-special color show for 2000. If you know how to do this, pass it on.

Café Life

My Tuesday Weekend

No matter how late these start, they are always the pits in the beginning. Last Tuesday was worse than usual because it was chilly inside my apartment.

After I got out from under my double blanket with the dressing robe laid on top of it, after I took off my shirt and socks, after I took off my watch that I knew would be like an ice cube when I put it back on, after I visited my triangular toilet with its unclosable window spewing northwest winds around, after getting the flow-through hot water and the cranky bathroom heater going, and after I took off my t-shirt, I felt it was truly chilly.

Breakfast was less cheery than usual without any OJ, especially with Radio France-Info telling me - what? - I don't remember; but it wasn't good noon news.

Being warm now is staying in bed with everything on as long as possible, so I had to hurry along to get to today's marché, which closes down about 13:00.

I caught up to Madame the Astrologer as we got to the sidewalk outside together and she asked me how I was doing. I asked her if her heat was on. Both negative. So we discussed some dump in a far off country, high up in the mountains where it is even colder; some place where the sun shines once every two years.

My bank's ATM was not serving any cash. On the way to the Post Office's machines I ran into a local painter who was in a hurry to see me in June and I am still waiting. We set a date for a week away, butphoto: mustang on boulard for a little earlier than noon. This was optimistic on my part; assuming it will be warm enough to get up this early.

Like vacation photos with no mosquitos, don't think the sunshine in the Rue Boulard was warm.

With cash in hand I got to the marché as my dealers were putting their stuff away. The charcuterie lady wanted to know why I was late. Why indeed? One or two hundred Tuesday mornings 'after Metropole;' what should I have told her? "I had a 'pepin' this morning," was all that came to mind. Pure fiction.

After getting orange juice in the sub-freezing Bonaprix - keeping up its 'cool-chain!' - getting a checkout staffed by somebody who actually says 'bonjour' occasionally, I asked how long her shift was. Sitting still at a checkout in the Bonaprix must be worse than sitting still and doing Metropole for hours.

She said 'five hours' and then asked me if she'd given me the right change. Without looking at it I'd dumped it into the pocket with the other change, so I had no idea. Say 'hello' and this is the kind of foul-up you get.

While waiting for the laundry across the street to finish swirling my duds around, I tackled a couple of emails, by putting two from one correspondent together. The response included remembering something from the end of the previous week and my mind was a total blank.

'Total blank' is how Tuesdays begin even if they begin at noon. Fundamental rule number one: make no decisions on Tuesdays. Get the apple-pie slice from the boulangerie instead and have a café as fast as possible.

Life kicked in while having the café, making me forget to enjoy its taste and heat. There was a metallic-blue '66 Mustang convertible with its top down parked in front of the bookshop across Rue Boulard, about one space in front of where the red Mustang was parked in front of Vin des Rues about six weeks ago.

I hustled the groceries back to the joint, grabbed the camera and some pre-packed garbage and got rid of it on the way out; and went back to Boulard and put a couple of angles of the Mustang into the can.

This reminded me to go to the Mairie and get the city's magazine. They know me, so the head receptionist lady phoned downtown to ask when it is coming. I found two 'events' items posted up and noted them. They will be over and gone before the city's events' magazine comes out.

On returning, just outside my door a young lady coming down the street stopped to ask me for the direction to the Mairie. Since I remembered to say 'bonjour' before pointing it out, I guessed that the amnesia part of Tuesday was over.

Score: one rendez-vous, a 'Car of the Week' photo and two events; plus what I'd written here for 'Café Life,' and there was still seven and a half whole hours left of my 'day off.'

In this time, with life now flowing, I was able to face the previous week's unfinished business and get it restarted, catch up on weekend emails and top up two Tuesday 'jobs' and bung them off to the 'net.

As it usually goes, I shut down my personal weekend called 'Tuesday' around two hours into Wednesday. I didn't get the time I'd thought I'd have to watch the movie I'd taped the Tuesday before - but this is normal for my 'day off' on Tuesdays; my 'weekend.'

The Rest of The Week

Tuesday seems so long ago now; it is lucky I made some notes about it even if they now seem to be a month old. The astrology lady's horoscope joggled the furnace into action; it came sneaking on - on Wednesday, I think.

The cast-iron radiators stopped feeling like the grave and began to grow warm. It's like the arrival of spring in reverse.

The radiators gradually get warmer until they are almost hot to the touch. Even though my placephoto: roasting chickens is drafty and damp because it's on the ground floor, with the cool courtyard supplying most of the air in transit, the radiators do a fair job of neutralizing the humidity.

Paris streets often have handy hand-warmers placed outside for needy freezers like me.

It took another day or two to remember to switch to my winter jacket. Doing this has about balanced my environment and everything is much more comfortable. My mood has switched from miserable to mildly rosy.

Eccentric is a good description for my magic camera. On my way to Claudio's last Wednesday, my photographer neighbors were in the courtyard so I popped off some shots of them while they kidded me about 'illegal' photography - because of all of us being on private property.

At Claudio's, while he was doing some whisker mowing, I set up the camera to shoot some of this by itself. And when I didn't have to sit still, I took a couple more shots. Claudio's hair salon is full of mirrors - so I didn't expect to get anything but blurs because the camera wouldn't know what to focus on.

The results showed that th camera lowered its speed to compensate for the dim courtyard, giving three blurred shots of the photographers there. In Claudio's, the camera outfoxed the mirrors somehow and even found enough useable light. If there was some way to control it, it would be a good if boring machine.

Continued on page 2...
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