'Nothing of the Week'

photo: corona louvre terrace, mr ferrat

M. Ferrat calmly awaits the arrival of the club's
secretary on La Corona's terrace.

No 'Geek of the Week' Either

Paris:- Thursday, 28. June 2001:- The mini-heat wave popped the temperature up to about 35 on Tuesday and a big clap of thunder early Wednesday morning finished it off. Yesterday it was cooler, mostly overcast and it got a bit humid in the afternoon.

This morning it was bright again, with a bit of wind pushing the gas around. The city announced free residential parking again to try to get motorists off the roads and into the métro or on the buses.

Getting out into the brightness woke me up, and shifted my sluggish brain into a higher gear, getting it set up for this afternoon's club meeting.

Climbing down into the métro for the ride to Châtelet showed it had retained some of Tuesday's heat - the métro takes longer to cool off and makes its own heat in winter. Not many people were riding it.

I think this is because they are already on the Rue de Rivoli, cruising around looking for the best of the best summer sales bargains. The 'Soldes d'Eté' started on Tuesday after all.

Radio-news said this season's discounts are starting at 40 percent off, because shops have stocks of springphoto: paris shirts, 3 for 100 f goods a third higher than usual, and everything has got to go so the fall stuff can get on the shelves. Everybody I see is carrying shopping bags, both small and big ones.

At the Quai du Louvre a troop of Spanish kids is on the corner trying to get its bearings. The block between Samaritaine and La Corona has turned into snack-joint city & terrace, to waylay the starving after their adventures in the Louvre.

Now 'on sale' - designer t-shirts, every one with 'Paris' written on them.

There isn't much sidewalk left after this but it opens wide again near the club's café, where some of the terrace is occupied by people who like cool drinks on terraces more than snack bars.

In the café's 'grande salle' there is exactly one customer. The club's 'Waiter of the Week' Monsieur Ferrat shows me how tidy the club's section is, and I compliment him on the job he did on it a couple of weeks ago too.

I get to write the date and meeting number in both the members' booklet and in the reports' booklet before anybody arrives. There is even time to assign numbers to the last eight week's worth of new members. As of last week's meeting, the total is 251.

There is time for it so I wonder how the sun can blaze off car windshields into the café. In theory, the sun is on the other side, but the way the reflections are you would think it is somewhere in the east - maybe above Samaritaine's roof.

Outside, motorcycles make motor noises, brakes squeal, trucks growl, scooters whine or whir, andphoto: classic club decor traffic idles, while hot drivers talk into their telephones. The métro underground rumbles too.

I think telephoning has replaced listening to car radios. They won't hear Radio-FIP tell them they are in a big traffic jam on the Quai du Louvre. Maybe they are all ordering pizza.

At 15:55 there are five people in the 'grande salle,' and none of them are Café Metropole members. I cheer Monsieur Ferrat up by ordering an Orangina. He was looking worried.

A piece of La Corona's tastefully classic decor, with fronds.

By 16:20 it is getting a bit cloudy, stopping the light reflections from windshields. The café's crowd has reduced itself to a couple, who have been in it since 15:30.

Idly I go through the members' booklet. It is full of facts - or statistics, like a long-running baseball game. It is beginning to look like a no-member meeting, and when I check I see it is the first one of these this year. Can I call this the 'No-member of the Week' meeting?

In fact, I have to go back all the way to 20. July 2000 to find the last one. There have been meetings with no new members, like the one on 30. November when I fractured my knee and members Marilyn Burke and Charles Eitel sat for two hours watching me turn green.Continued on page 2...

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