'Tootsie Roll of the Week'

photo: fr left, mike, ray, priscilla, donna, larry, edna, bob, eva, marilyn, tom

From left to right - oh, forget it - here are
today's ten members.

And Not Many Other Matters

Paris:- Thursday, 24. May 2001:- Today has the good fortune to be the third in a row of a trend to have room temperatures both inside and out. For this reason many more people than usual are gasping their way through the throngs on the Rue de Rivoli, when they could be lying around doing nearly nothing in any handy park.

In the area of the Quai du Louvre, past Samaritaine, all café terraces are full of happy soldiers taking in lungfulls of the exquisite gases given off by the steadily replenishing traffic clogging the roadway.

To make it to La Corona I have to hold my breath a bit longer than I'm used to, but I do it because the city does not provide air capsules for pedestrians - like the ones some automobile drivers have.

When I ask 'how many?' after Patrick tells me "Il y a du monde," he shouts back over his shoulder, 'two.' Two is twice as much 'monde' as last week. Um - maybe it was the week before.

Anyway, I am saying 'welcome to Paris' to Priscilla and Ray Garcia, who live in Paris, before I can write the vital meeting number and date in the members booklet and in the 'report' booklet.

This is very important because I've just discovered, after 84 club meetings, that I forgot to add this information to the very first meeting's booklet entries - which makes it a bit hard to tellphoto: beers of the week new members the club's inaugural date.

Saying this is the club's 85th meeting doesn't help much, even if I am pretty sure it is the 85th meeting, more or less.

Before I can follow this line of philosophy very far, Donna Norris arrives from Evanston, Illinois, immediately after Edna and Bob Bradley, who joined the club for the first time in their lives last week.

The club's two hours was a heavy shift for today's 'Waiter of the Week.

Donna tells me she has written several emails, which I don't remember. Maybe she wrote them to some other online magazine in Paris which has the only club for readers - but this is obvious nonsense and I wonder if she has written using a 'nom de plume' because Norris is not a forgettable family name.

Somewhere here I have to give up this deep thinking because new members are pouring in. While another one is merrily writing all sorts of inventive fiction in the members' booklet, Michael Muhlenkamp is confusing the hell out of me by calling me Ed.

Michael is from Pacifica, California. I suddenly remember who 'Ed' is, and Eva Lee shows up from New Jersey and orders ice cubes to go with her white wine - while today's 'Waiter of the Week' is plunking down huge one-litre glasses of beer all over the place.

Eva has brought the club a 170-gram bag of 'midgee' Tootsie Rolls, so these become the 'Tootsie Rolls of the Week.' And, excuse me, but to hell with it - the club has another 'first' by having both Evanston and Pacifica as the 'City of the Week.'

I am anticipating members' protests about this, but it is a bit unfair for so many new members to show up all at once and confuse me with 'Ed' names and emails.

The air clears for a moment briefer than a lightning bolt when Marilyn Burke arrives with Mr. Tom Burke, who has decided to join the club because they are leaving town. For all of Marilyn's fans the good news is that they are not going to Britain after all.

These long-time Paris residents are hunting for house on the Costa Brava instead. Score - UK, zero - Catalonia, one!

The fellow opposite where I'm sitting - the one writing fiction - suddenly realizes the club's area of the café La Corona is full of accents, and so is he.

While I'm no less than 13 vital 'notes' behind, suddenly he is babbling in a Jersey accent, a Chicago accent - &quot:How do you say 'orange?'" and all the other members arephoto: big skol of the week making him guess their accents.

Then the game switches and he rattles off a whole series of regional accents - all Yankee ones - oops, he does Canadian ones too - and Australian, he says, "These people from Oz thought I was a Brit." They probably still think so.

Before the first mutual clink, some beer has already evaporated.

Everybody is yelling garble at John, trying to guess if he comes from a 'City of the Week' or from Nebraska or North Dakota - he wants us to guess 'North Dakota' so obviously this is not it.

Donna says, "A horse was a wedding guest too," as if this is a sufficient explanation - they met at a wedding in the Dordogne - the 'Dordogne' is some vague place in the middle of France where everything interesting happens, but the people who it happened to can't remember exactly where they were.

It is sort of France's equivalent of Nebraska, with the difference of it having a lot of foie gras and weddings that take at least two days to get through. The 'Auvergne' has this sort of thing too, with the curious difference - of most of the Auvergnats being in Paris running cafés.

John says, "I've hated Tootsie Rolls since I was three."

"That makes you the most important person at the table then," Marilyn retorts. Me, I think it is about time to get the week's 'Group Photo of the Week' while members are still being semi-polite.

"What sort of pin is that?" Edna asks Eva. Eva says, "UPS."

I ask Eva, "How long has UPS had stewardesses?" because it has 'wings' on it. It's a nice pin too, but the camera decides it won't focus on it.

In an effort to make up and all be friends again, somebody cleverly proposes calling the midget Tootsie Rolls the 'Tootsie Rolls of the Week.' Again.

So long as they are in the same week, the 'Tootsie Rolls of the Week' can be them twice. This might be another 'first.'

When Eva says, "I think he's a plant," I leap up and make windmill motions, towards the doorphoto: tootsies of the week to the terrace. If I don't get the 'Group Photo of the Week' in the can, there might be no group left if I don't hurry things along a bit.

Here's the full 170 grams of 'Tootsie Rolls.' My guess is 70 grams are still left.

We get out there and the people on the terrace - and there is a lot of them too - look at us as if we are some kind of circus act or a Shriner's convention on a binge, but the members behave and keep their eyes open and hold reasonably still.

Back inside, 'John' confesses to being Larry Nile, from Newburyport in New England somewhere. Marilyn says, "We're not gonna be friends if this keeps up."

"We weren't friends in the first place," Larry aka 'John' says.

From this you shouldn't get the impression that the good club members were at each others' throats. No, this was a meeting with a torrent of snappy dialogue, as perhaps can only happen at the Cafe Metropole Club in Paris, when there's a head-on collision between New Jersey and Boston.

Before I forget, I should mention that the club beverage was clearly 'Formidable-sized Beers of the Week,' served in deceptively small-looking one-litre glasses.

Before the meeting time is officially over, most of the members present at today's meeting packphoto: line of tables, line of glasses up their belongings and leave. There is some sort of concert being given at Notre Dame, and everybody seems to be headed for it.

Besides shouting and loud banter, laughter was common at both ends of the line of tables.

Left behind are Marilyn and Tom. We discuss the merits of places near the Golfo de Roses, and further down the Costa Brava coast to Palamós. We talk about the winds in the bay and the bugs around the waterways of Empuriabrava.

Like good club members for life, the Burkes say they will keep in touch. Via the Internet if necessary.

The 'About the Café Metropole Club' Page

Even if all the expired 'rules' and other so-called 'information' is utter nonsense, you can count on the 'About the Café Metropole Club' page to tell you where in Paris to find the club, and the day and time of the meetings.

If you have a feeling you don't know all of this already, it might a good idea to look at this page at least once. Of course, if you are not coming to a club meeting, looking at this page is a total waste of time.

Date, Time and Location of Next Meeting

The next Café Metropole Club meeting will be held on Thursday, 31. May, which is a week from today. This is also the day known in France as Saint-Robert, but it will not interfere with the club's regular meeting.

Luckily, the day after will be just another ordinary Saint-Justin's day, which is also 1. June. May does has 31 days because it is not a leap-year month.

The café La Corona meeting place will be open as it is all the time as well as every Thursday. Your club's meeting time will be from 15:00 to 17:00 in Europe's Central Europeanphoto: french mag cover of the week Time Zone - 'CET' for short and not 'FOTZ' - and elsewhere known as 3 pm to 5 pm otherwise.

The club's secretary, also known as 'Ed,' will be making some 'report' notes during the coming meeting, but there's no need to pay any attention to this because 'Ed' writes less notes than members say words, if he manages to write any words at all.

Totally unknown to the club's secretary - the reason for the display of this current magazine cover.

Get your new 'Quote of the Week' ready or propose your own new 'City of the Week' - or even invent any other 'Things of the Week,' especially if you want to become famous for nearly forever on account of maybe having these things mentioned in the meeting's club 'report.'

Share these words of wisdom with other members - and all readers of this online magazine with the free Paris club for readers who insist on being members if they are in Paris.

The café's location is:

Café-Tabac La Corona
2. Rue de l'Amiral de 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.
Metropole Midi © 2014
– unless stated otherwise.
logo, metropole sml midi logo No matter how good it tastes,
there is no such thing
as a free lunch.
Waldo Bini