'Election of the Week'

photo: today's club group

Today's group photo - with attending non-members
carefully cropped out.

Provides Dominant Topic

Paris:- Thursday, 9. November 2000:- To get the most boring part of the club 'report' over with quickly, I can say the weather is perfectly 'normal for November,' in the French TV-news sense of normalcy.

It is not warm, it is not windy, it is not raining and it is not sunny, except for very brief moments that you'll miss if you blink. For waving palm trees and good surf, you wouldn't come to Paris. On the other hand, if you like daytime highs of 10 C, Paris is perfect for you.

The café La Corona, as predicted last week by Patrick - last week's 'Waiter of the Week' - is not full of Toussaint revelers. In fact, counting the outside terrace seats which are too cool anyway, the café has about 150 empty seats plus plenty of free standing space at its small bar.

This is a perfect omen for a peaceful and quiet Café Metropole Club meeting. Except for one thing.

For some unknown reason, two days ago, American voters failed to elect a new President of the United States of America.

As most club members will already know, this feat makes no difference one way or other to the club'sphoto: susan f, carolyn s, thea r secretary who is strenuously neutral, on account of having being born in a foreign country; and remaining in one by residing in Paris.

This is an ideal situation for the club's secretary, but I don't know this until the first member arrives. My notes are not exactly clear who this was - is, rather -but since she is a brand-new member, I will say it is Susan Fiscarelli from Pennington, New Jersey.

The animated Susan, Thea and Carolyn.

I know, I know - it's New Jersey again. I don't have any control over this.

Because Susan is today's only new member, I note Pennington as the 'City of the Week' to get it over with. All the rest of today's members show up quickly; with just enough time between them so that I can hop up and down like a jack-in-the-box to shake hands.

Today's conversational theme is decided by the members and they choose the US elections on Tuesday as a subject. This they watched on TV; and now that the votes in Florida are being recounted, it is the stuff of wagering.

Whether this is legal or not in the United States I neither know nor care, because I'm pretty sure it is legal in Paris if everybody pays the betting tax to the proper authorities.

Charles Eitel, who became a 'signed-in' member last week, creates some emotion because he mailed in his ballot from Paris - to Tampa in Florida, which is the state which will have to wait for Charles' ballot to show up.

Charles makes no secret of which camp he has backed by post; and this causes a bit of frisson because everybody else seems to be in the other camp. It is Charles who brings up the idea of wagering.

"How do you like this?" asks Dan Robertson, from the left-coast. "A bunch of Americans who don't even know who their President is!"

To try and actually get the others to put some money in the pot, Charles says, "Gore has been in Tampa twice and Bush, only once!"

There is really a lot of talk about this affair of state, but before you get the idea that this was a totally boring meeting, Carolyn, Thea, Dan, Charles and Dan also discuss serious Paris matters - about bus rides to the Marché des Puces, getting so distracted that they don't get where they're going; and about a wonderful tour guide in the Louvre, plus the fact that the balloon in the Parc André Citroën is still flying.

However the conversation drifts back to the election when Charles produces a photocopy of a Florida ballot - or a photocopy of an illustration of one.

Most people - including those who voted - may think American voters only had two choices but this is not true. Otherphoto: tea pots & hands parties included the Libertarians, the Greens, the Reform, the Socialists, the Constitution Party, Worker's World - and, when I ask, Charles thinks the CPUSA was on it too, but got clipped from the bottom of the photocopy.

Animated hands; still glasses, tea pots and café cups.

As for most of today's members being from New Jersey, Susan thinks it is because flights are cheaper from New Jersey to Paris than from Paris to Madrid.

Meanwhile, Marilyn who has taken some time off from the meeting to visit the downstairs par of the café, returns with two non-member ladies who she says are from Manhattan. However, they say they are from Brooklyn, which is also a New York City borough.


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