Frontal Pratfall

photo: expo, monnaie de paris

Today's solo photo of the cause of the secretary's downfall.

And Greetings from Tranquility, N.J.

Paris:- Thursday, 30. November 2000:- Paris' five-day November heat wave is coming to an end softly, with enough warning to put away our flowered shirts and smoked-glass shades. The sky is grey but it is a warmish grey.

On the way to today's club meeting I am working a little harder than usual. The Christmas program is about to appear in Metropole, and it needs its Christmas photos.

Samaritaine has its Christmas windows - located between the street stalls on the Rue de Rivoli - and others are not finished yet.

Samaritaine's smallish windows require close-up viewing - but always leave enough space for kids to get right in front. I jostle with stall browsers, bigger window fans and Rivoli pedestrians - to get photos to go with the next issue's seasonal program pages.

Yesterday I saw the BHV and it appeared to have removed some of its stalls to open spaces for a few windows, which were in the process of receiving some decoration for the season.

I was in the area to see the giant Christmas tree in front of the Hôtel de Ville. It was not present. Thephoto: more beaujolais nouveau space was being prepared for the skating rink instead. It wasn't in front of Notre Dame either. Where is that tree?

Some of the not-so-rare leftover Beaujolais Nouveau, is the club's 'Drink of the Week.'

In the same order of twirling my head around like a lighthouse beacon, I spot a huge banner-poster hanging across the Seine, from the front of the Hôtel des Monnaies. A quick glance to the west shows all traffic halted at the Amiral Coligny intersection, so I trot across the briefly empty Quai du Louvre roadway.

The white line on the road surface, dividing the bus lane from all other traffic turns out not to be flat, but a hump I trip over - to head for the curb nose-first. Part of my landing-gear stops this dive, but wrecks it somewhat.

I have done a frontal pratfall to myself. It doesn't feel good. Besides hurting, it feels stupid. Felled by a lateral speed-bump for trotting too fast!

Before the buses, taxis, cars, motorcycles and speedy trucks arrive, I stagger up to the quay wall - one leg still works - and shoot the banner-poster across the river even if it is still too far away. This proves the camera still works too.

After hobbling up to the nearest far-away crosswalk and hobbling across it to La Corona, the big news of the week in the café is that a letter has come for the club - from Tranquility, New Jersey.

Also already in attendance - my hobbling has caused some tardiness - are Marilyn Burke and Charles Eitel. At first I think they are going to call an ambulance when they see the faces I make as I try to sit down - but instead, I get tips for miracle creams to wipe on that will make shattered knees whole again in a twinkle.

Charles keeps telling my to go downstairs and wash my hands as I enter today's vital texts into the members' booklet and the reports' booklet.

My hands aren't all that dirty but Charles insists that thousands of dogs have used the place where I went down. I really doubt it, but eventually do go downstairs to see how bad the knee looks. It doesn't look as if it was shattered by the Quai du Louvre, but going back upstairs is another story.

While I was in the depths Monsieur Ferrat has brought a whole bottle of Beaujolais Nouveauphoto: marilyn burke, charles eitel and three glasses for the entertainment of the two club members. Members may be only two today, but they intend to be lively, unlike the club's secretary.

Marilyn Burke shares a three- quarter-litre cocktail with Charles Eitel today.

Marilyn and Charles both live in Paris' 16th arrondissement, so this is the nearest thing we can get to a 'City of the Week.' Charles did a round-trip to Tampa in Florida since his last club meeting three weeks ago, but didn't get into any ballot counting there.

Marilyn moved apartments - since the last meeting she attended? - and says she has been having a lot of fun in the BHV department store's basement hardware heaven.

The two members talk about the wonders of shopping at, as Marilyn says, "Lumberama," which turns out not be in New Jersey, but is our own beloved 'Castorama,' which is named after the busy type of beaver. Charles knows this place well too.

In some of these self-service places the service isn't too good smetimes, they both say. At other times, the cash ladies will stop what they are doing to carefully put cellotape on customer's plastic cards' magnetic strips, in order to make them function.

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