'Feet of the Week'

photo: l->r, neil, edna, bob, priscilla

From left to right - Glennis Desbien, Linda Thalman, Doug
and Laura Houston fill up today's group photo.

An Award for Tonkawa, Oklahoma

Paris:- Thursday, 21. June 2001:- Before club time the weather isn't quite matching the last day of spring yesterday - which was nearly the first day of 'spring' - yesterday too, but it looks fine enough for a club meeting and today's 'Fête de la Musique' in Paris.

Getting to the clubhouse at the Café La Corona, going along the Quai du Louvre isn't quite the usual stroll because of all the people on the café and snack places' terraces. Some of these customers have long legs that they've left dangling in the path between the ice cream signs, postcard displays and the trees.

Mobs are crawling along the other side of thephoto: watch of the week street too, browsing the used booksellers, and off in the distance I see a herd of colorful pedestrians marching across the Pont des Arts, heading towards the left bank.

Presenting another terrific club 'first' - the 'Watch of the Week.'

This means it must be summer. When the season shows up with a day to match, people just get out and march all over the place until they wear out and park themselves on café terraces, to cool their heels.

La Corona has a terrace big enough to cool lots of heels and has a sidewalk big enough to get past without tripping over them. If the weather was closer to perfect I'd give it all three stars instead of only 2.7.

The club's area within the café is all neat and tidy again. Within a minute of my arrival, a bit before I can get set up, Glennis Desbien arrives from Tonkawa, Oklahoma. I don't care where any of today's other new members come from - Tonkawaphoto: glennis desbien is the 'City of the Week' without a shred of doubt.

Within a minute or two, Laura and Doug Houston arrive to join the club. They've come from Boulder, Colorado - nearly directly, by way of Chicago - because the other direct flight goes to Frankfurt before getting to Paris. I guess it is a way to pick airlines - do you prefer having to change planes in Chicago or Frankfurt?

Tonkawa, Oklahoma is already 'on the map,' but Glennis Desbien gets it named 'City of the Week' too.

Then - oh surprise! - the server lady in person, Linda Thalman arrives, directly from Samaritaine - where she has just acquired a new watch so she can arrive at club meetings on time.

We have to admire it. It nearly does have the right time even though Linda says she doesn't know how to adjust it yet. The real reason she got it, was because she became allergic to her three-year old 'Swatch,' and has mismanaged her time for three months without it.

For 'City of the Week' fans without proper maps handy, Tonkawa can be pinpointed within a triangle between Wichita in Kansas, Tulsa and Oklahoma City. I only mention this because Linda thinks I don't know where it is and wants to take up a collection from members, to get me an atlas.

Glennis has visited Paris many times because she teaches French in Tonkawa. She comes herephoto: laura houston and collects facts to take back to tell her students.

Like many club members she knows all sorts of Paris lore I've never heard of. Today she wants to know the proper form for motorists and crosswalks.

At the beginning of the meeting we don't know that Laura's feet have something in common with Glennis' feet.

Linda, who drives more than I do, knows that a new law was passed - last week sometime - making it illegal to run over pedestrians if they are crossing streets on painted crosswalks. She says there is one penalty for hitting pedestrians who have the 'green man' in their favor, and another version for those who don't.

Since none of us can remember the exact details, we switch the subject slightly to 'jaywalking.' I didn't think there was a word for this common Parisian custom - and thus no penalty other than possible serious injury - but there is.

The word for 'jaywalking' is 'traverser la rue en dehors du passage clouté, à gogo,' and a 'jaywalker' is a 'piéton imprudent,' whether he or she is 'à gogo' or not.

For those learning French I may as well add the longer term for 'jaywalker' since I still have the book open. It is 'piéton imprudent qui traverse la rue en dehors du passage clouté,photo: drinks of the week à gogo.' The phrase 'la rue' is optional if it happens to an avenue or a boulevard instead.

In case you think the Houstons have gone to sleep because they are jet-lagged, which they are, they haven't.

At some point during the meeting, we have the 'Drinks of the Week' too.

After Linda says, &quot:Jaywalking is a French national sport, and may become an Olympic discipline if Paris gets the 2008 games," the following subjects are touched upon:

Car tax, car insurance stickers, the TV license fee, the pay-per-view Canal+ TV channel, France's export TV5 channel - which Glennis watches in Oklahoma - and here we learn that Laura is a teacher too - plus Linda used to be one before she got into the server-lady game.


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