"Sunburned in Seattle"

photo: 10 person group

This is what a full-member meeting looks like. The audio portion has been rejected by the FCC.

Florida Makes 'Sticky Spot of the Week'

Paris:- Thursday, 12. October 2000:- In case you missed the club's last meeting, you missed the club's first annual birthday. About 16 new and existing members didn't and they didn't eat all of the cake either but I didn't let it go to waste.

Now we move ahead to the club's second year of existence without any regrets about the past, and especially not about abolishing all the rules, both official and unofficial. I bet there are few members alive today who even remember what they were.

The weather in Paris is varied. In my street, when I leave for the club, it is pouring. At the end of the block on the avenue, it is not pouring or even raining. This turns out to be the case on the Rue de Rivoli after the métro ride downtown.

A substitute 'Fiat 500 of the Week' is almost parked in the usual 'Fiat 500 of the Week' parking spot. By 'almost,' it is not parked in the 'no stopping' tow-away zone, but in a totally wild-cat 'no parking anytime-ever' zone. Obviously a graphic demonstration of survival of the fittest!

I arrive in La Corona, which is still the club's café, at five minutes to the hour and nobody is ahead of me. Today's 'Waiter of the Week' Patrick is hurriedly clearing away thephoto: robin, jane hutcheson mess and debris left by famished luncheoners. Crumbs, I sweep onto the floor with the members' booklet.

By the time I have written three-quarters of a universal scheme for local time, members Betty and Jerry Blizin arrive and they assure me they are not the Pappas' by pointing out I am confused because they do live in last week's 'City of the Week,' Tarpon Springs, Florida, with the ex-Greek sponge divers.

Robin and Jane Hutcheson are unaware of Seattle's potential for sunburn.

Next, totally new members arrive from Seattle and turn out to be Jane and Robin Hutcheson. Betty and Jerry say it is hard to change from southern France's climate to Paris' so-called climate, and since the subject is Seattle's weather, Jerry says, "Sunburned in Seattle."

This is in reference to a visit they made there on a day of rare southern France-type weather. Betty is thinking of moving to a new and small town in the midwest that has no weather at all. Nobody has any suggestions, because Betty says it has to have a good international airport.

The Hutchesons have not brought their kids, because they are in their late teens and in school. "How did your kids get so old?" Betty wants to know.

Later, when the Hutchesons say they are having their 25th wedding anniversary in Paris, Betty and I figure out they had their kids when they were about five.

Before Betty can completely hide under her scarf, we are saved from all these 'faux-pas' - is this plural? - by the arrival of 'in good standing' members, Shirley and Walter Pappas.photo: betty blizin

Shirley says, "I don't want to face packing." This is what visitors normally do when leaving Paris, but Betty has a solution for this. "We bring throwaway clothes," she says.

Is Betty hiding behind her disposable scarf, or is it one that can be eaten?

This faultless plan has become unglued, she adds, because of all the food spilled so far, and she has only the throwaway garment she's wearing left. She points out various meals still on it.

After tips about earplugs if you stay in one-star hotels near the TGV tracks in Avignon, and the disadvantage of sitting in row two at the opéra - "We could see the ceiling and the edges of the boards" - and - "The midnight museum shows have fewer heads in front of the pictures!"

Walter interrupts his story about the Canadian coast guard not being willing to give up its only radio frequency so the American coast guard could use it, by saying, "Florida is sticky and hot."

This is what it really says in my notes. Everybody has an opinion about Florida weather, and for once, everybody agrees it is like it is. I can't say because I know nothing about it.

On the radio frequencies, Walter says, "The Canadians weaseled out of it." This gives the club's secretary the chance to correct a member. "Canadians don't weasel, they otter." This is disqualified from being the 'Quote of the Week.'

By now Doug Fuss has arrived. He has just come from watching the World's Jeu de Paume Championships. This is a pre-tennis form of tenis, played with fat squash racquets, and the world championships are in Paris because Paris is the only place left in the world with working Jeu de Paume courts.

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