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 the 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.

As it is, it has its good days and its so-so days.

Jokes were on Dimitri's mind the other night in the café. Someone he knows gets them from the Internet and gives Dimitri printed copies, which he forgets to bring with him. The result is, he gets the jokes all wrong, or forgets the punch-lines.

There are some people who 'know' all these jokes, and even in the café there is one customer who has made them a major part of his - and the café's life. Dimitri says he can't understand half of them; but they really crack the other customers up. The café is a very noisy place at times.

But. Where do jokes come from? Who makes them up? Are there people sitting around somewhere, doing nothing but dreaming up jokes? Jokes have to come from somebody, somewhere.

You know, the Internet will kill them. The idea is that the jokes have to be oral, so they can be passed on by the loyal joke-passers - you know them - the one who are always ready with the new jokes.

These joke-passers also have their delivery tricks, their gestures, their whole show, their performance. The Internet reduces all of this to zero.

But from where, where do the joke-passers get their supply of new jokes from? Does anybody know? I mean, our 'café guy' has a French source - does every language have its own joke-smiths? Who are they? Where are they? Who pays them? What do their wives say?

Metropole's Services

The three firms mentioned below have chosen Metropole Paris for affiliate association for the same reasons as you've chosen to read it, so you have something in common.

Affiliation is a way for Metropole to offer you products or services related to Paris. You benefit, these firms benefit and any modest benefits for Metropole will help it to stay online.

Health Care In Paris

You may have planned your trip to Paris long in advance. It is unlikely to happen to you, but if you are hit by an ugly 'bug' after getting here, it doesn't have mean that your holiday is spoiled.

The service provider HighwayToHealth allows you to seek medical aid here almost as easily as if you were at home. A 'cityphoto: aeroflot pizza health profile' has been created by HighwayToHealth for Paris, to give you information about local health care, including the ability to make appointments for access to medical services.

Many of this issue's photos are from Friday's visit to the Champs-Elysées.

For peace of mind, check this out before you leave home. See 'HighwayToHealth' for its healthcare and insurance services for travellers.

Pétanque In America

The French game of pétanque - or boules - can be played anywhere, almost anytime - by everybody. Any old dirt patch can be used as a playing field - as you are probably aware of if you've seen the game played around Paris.

Regulation boules are made out of metal. These are available in France, but they are a bit heavy to haul around in your luggage.

'Petanque America' imports France's quality Obut boules and will ship them to you anywhere in the Americas.

Petanque America's online shop also has books about the game and its short list of rules, plus junior boules for children. Get Petanque America to do the heavy work for you while you shop around for the less weighty treasures of Paris.

Online Paris Hotel Reservations

Don't wait until you get to Paris to book your hotel, only to learn that 40,000 dentists have arrived the day before you. Book now through 'Bookings' Paris hotel reservation service. Doing this will permit you to preview of hotels available in Paris and enable you to choose your accommodations with a minimum of fuss and bother.

2nd Meeting of the Café Metropole Club's 2nd Year

Last Thursday's meeting was your club's 53rd, which was also the occasion of its first birthday - and - another 'first!' - its first meeting of its second year of existence.

The 'report' of the party is worth reading even if you have been too busy to read it already, even though it was a 'big' meeting you shouldn't have missed. See more about it and more photos too, in this issue's extra club feature.

Before getting too engrossed in all this, try to remember that the second meeting of the Café Metropole Club's second year will be on Thursday, 12. October at the usual time in the usual place.

Brand new readers can also take a look at the fairly new 'About the Club' page. This contains mildly useful and fairly accurate information about this magazine's club for readers in Paris. If you have not been aware that an online magazine can have a 'real' club, you are in for a surprise.

This Was Metropole One Year Ago:

Issue 4.41 - 11. Oct. 1999 - This week's Café Metropole column was headlined, 'The Suits Exchange B-Cards.' The 'Au Bistro' column'sphoto: sign, metro title was 'France's 'Euro' Springtime.' This issue had one feature titled 'The 'No Title' Bagnolet Non-Mystery.' This issue also saw the beginning of the Café Metropole Club with 'First Date for Café Metropole Club Meet' and 'Update: "Paris Has Ugly Dirt" - Club's 1st Meeting.' The 'Scene' column was headlined 'More Van Gogh; More Everything.' There were four new 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's Cartoon of the Week was captioned 'Who Makes the Weather?'

This Was Metropole Two Years Ago:

Issue 3.41 - 12. October 1998 - The week's Café Metropole column was titled, 'The Partial Strike That Was.' The 'Au Bistro' column was titled, 'Social Engineering Takes a Hit.' This issue had one feature, titled 'Auto Salon - 100 Years On Wheels.' The 'Scene' column was headlined 'Nice Day: See Tigers; Rainy Day: See Plants.' There werephoto: sign, champs-elysees four new 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's Cartoon of the Week had the caption of 'Flabby Tire?' Flabby what?

Metropole's Exclusive & Solo Countdown to 31. December 2000:

This countdown shows how people like 'Ed' can get things wrong - like the date of the club's anniversary. He shouldn't have counted on his own notes in the members' booklet, but looked here instead. See 'One Year Ago' above, for the club's 'real' start date. However, wiser people - they do exist! - know that the 21st Century does start on Monday, 1. January 2001. The big celebration we had - which was great! - for '2000' was just a rehersal; a tryout countdown. Last year's countdown was not the 'Big One.' The world didn't end, did it?

Now that everybody who wasn't wiped out by the 'End of the World' has it straight there really are only about 83 days (17 less than 100!) left to go until we arrive in the 3rd Millennium. Even if you remember the last countdown, you probably won't care that now 283 days have oozed away since New Year's 2000. What's gone is long gone and this includes the 2nd Millennium, which is now more nearly gone than ever, for good too.
signature, regards, ric

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contents to: Ric Erickson, Editor.
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