"Do You Think We're Too Loud?"

photo: eileen de micca, club group in mirror

Eileen fronts today's group photo, in front of the mirrors.

"Poof," He Said, "POOF!"

Paris:- Thursday, 25. January 2001:- It is a typical winter day in every sense of the three words. The sky is half blue, the temperatures are 'normal for the time of year,' and half of everybody in the city is marching in demonstrations today.

Fortunately for the half that aren't, many of the non-demonstrators include the city's métro and bus drivers, and the RER line 'A' drivers.

All the other RER lines and train lines are partially on demo duty, so Paris' traffic is more snarled than usual - so much so that the Quai du Louvre is nearly empty on account of some monster jam somewhere upstream.

This allows the winter sun to quietly wash the front of the club's café La Corona and inside it splashes slices ofphoto: marilyn burke bright light across the area reserved for the club meetings. Today, I make up my mind, the camera is going to 'beat the sun' or I'm going to beat it.

To offset the club's recent preponderance of new members from the San Francisco area, Marilyn Burke returns from New Jersey. She is followed by member Eileen De Micco, also from New Jersey, and Charles Eitel who claims to live in Tampa sometimes.

Marilyn Burke, outlined by today's sunlight.

This trio is closely followed by the Bay Area member-folks, Michelle Royston and Paul Rupert, who are both generally from Sausalito, California. Score - two for two coasts, and no tie-breakers in sight.

The meeting gets off to a fast start because nobody needs to sign the members' booklet again. Paul opens with, "I just saw 'les flics' giving a ticket to a Rolls Royce in the bus lane."

Compared to normal French cars a Roller is about as big as a double-decker bus, so maybe the driver thought he was supposed to be there. Paul has just come straight from playing golf - after changing his wet clothes - and Marilyn wants to know where the course is in Orgeval.

I wonder why nobody asks where Orgeval is. It is a place out west where I've been lost several times and I think its hundreds of round-abouts are its only memorable feature, although they all look exactly alike.

Today's group - all members - who introduce themselves to each other, even if they have already met before - are comfortable being together. Not to talk over 'old times,' but to tradephoto: charles eitel Paris experiences. For example, about the winter sales -

Charles says, "I bought two clocks, a two-pack of clocks - and a three-scissor set. Sets of things are cheaper."

Charles 'Two-Clocks-are-Better- than-One' Eitel.

Marilyn then tells us how she showed Charles how to buy a chair at Ikea. Michelle says they are really good chairs, really comfortable. Charles says he got a set of 100 candles too.

"But," he adds, "My wife said I bought a set of 100 candles last year."

Apparently the chair is a dilly but doesn't fit into his other household decor, so he's had to put it in the small room full of lots of still-wrapped sets of things - which doesn't even have a TV set of one.

"All I spent was 159 francs," Marilyn says, "I'm not rich like Charles." Paul thinksphoto: apero of the week Charles should sell his 'options' and become even richer. But these are currently 'down' at the moment and Charles thinks he can afford to wait 40 years until they come up again.

Marilyn is not interested in 'options.' She is interested in Elieen's story about getting engaged on the Pont Neuf sometime since the last meeting she attended.

Eileen shows me the engagement ring and tells me it has no diamonds, because her fiancée is a poor law student who will become nearly as rich as Charles by 10. August 2002, which is the date set for the wedding.

This good news - a new 'first' too! - the first Café Metropole Club member to get engaged on the Pont Neuf - and prompts Michelle to tell us about her boyfriend who doesn't speak English. I don't think this is a true 'first' because its easy to find boyfriends in Paris who don't speak English.

For a while the club's conversation dips into an area of unprintable comments involving pushing matches - "A little poof" - and 'no class' - and 'road rage' - until the ladies get tired of it andphoto: michelle royston gang up on Charles, to try and get him to agree to go to cooking school.

Marilyn is especially keen on this for her husband - who we have not yet met - because, "I've been cooking for 35 years and I'm fed up with it."

Michelle agrees with this even though she's got three cooking jobs, and saved up for two years to come to Paris to learn more about it.

Cooking for three places is better than for one, according to Michelle Royston.

Charles says he is going to go to a 'Lower Taxes' political party meeting that intends to organize a victory celebration. "Do you know who he pardoned first?" he asks the assembled members.

None of us know that anybody has been 'pardoned.' "He pardoned Patti Hearst!" he claims loudly. In fact, all conversation is loud by this time, but this is only because the café is large and there are not many other people in it. The few that are, are sitting a long way away.

I don't know how somebody who got kidnapped could manage to get a pardon, but apparently I am not up-to-date about the latest legal aspects of life in the USA and there are no lawyers present today to set me straight.

Paul says, about his earlier game of golf, "It was a nice walkphoto: paul rupert in a swamp, ruined by playing golf." The members who know Paris well assure Paul that yesterday's rain usually stays around for a couple of days, lying on golf courses for the unwary.

Just before the end of today's meeting I suddenly realize that we have not chosen a 'City of the Week' because there are no new members with new names to put forward.

Paul Rupert could have nominated Orgeval for the 'Golf Swamp of the Week' award, but didn't.

My notes say, "My accountant figured out how I could come to Paris for free," but do not explicitly name the person who suggested Gurdon, Arkansas for the 'City of the Week' award.

No member present today actually lives in Gurdon. If non-present members would care to vote on this, do so. In the meantime, Gurdon, Arkansas becomes 'Acting City of the Week.' It may be untidy, but this is this meeting's final word.

Repeat Shopping Tip, Forever

Paris' Winter Sales - the 'Soldes d'Hiver' - began just over two weeks ago and continue for four weeks to come. If you hit them soon, there may still be some three-for-one sets of things left, like 50-percent-off oyster openers.

The 'About the Café Metropole Club' Page

Actual true historical details about your Café Metropole Paris Club - as opposed to recent 'reports' - in Paris, can be found on the 'About the Café Metropole Club page,' which is about your club and has a link here, and from each issue's 'home' page.

Date, Time and Location of Next Meeting

If you skip the 'about the club' stuff you should read this about the next Café Metropole Club meeting. It will be held on Thursday, 1. February 2001. If you are in Paris it will be Sainte-Ella's Day - which will be followed by Friday, which will be the annual Présentation Day - whatever it is.

The café La Corona meeting place will be open as it is every day and every Thursday of the 3rdphoto: patrick the waiter millennium. The time for your club's meeting will be from 15:00 to 17:00 in Europe's Central European Time Zone - 'CET' for short and not 'PIMOT' - but otherwise known as 3 pm to 5 pm elsewhere.

The club's regular secretary will be taking 'report' notes during the coming meeting. Despite the feeling I had about the meetings being quiet at this time of year, I was wrong. If your audios are sensitive, wear earmuffs.

Today's 'Waiter of the Week' is Patrick again.

If few members are loudly present, you will have some chance to make your 'Quote of the Week' or be from the 'City of the Week' - so long as I can hear you shout.

The café's location is:

Café-Tabac La Corona
2. Rue de l'Amiral Coligny - or - 30. Quai du Louvre
Paris 1. Métro: Pont-Neuf or Châtelet.

A bientôt à Paris,
signature, regards, ric

Send email concerning the
contents to: Ric Erickson, Editor.
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