'Mystery of the Week'

photo: corona coligny terrace

This neat 'Fiat 500 of the Week' stands in for the usual 'Group Photo of the Week.'

Not One, But Several

Paris:- Thursday, 9. August 2001:- The leaves on trees are too green to fall off, but dead and brown leaves are drifting in the breezes around the sidewalks. They must have been strewn about by mysterious night workers because they do not appear to have fallen off local trees.

Otherwise it seems as if it is an ordinary August day in Paris. There are less people riding the métro and fewer get off it at Cité, and after Châtelet, the Rue de Rivoli seems a bit lifeless because the summer sales have finished and all the shelves are empty.

Although I do not yet know today's meeting will be as mysterious as the imported dead leaves, I capture the 'Fiat 500 of the Week' in passing. Is this mere reflex, or is this a premonition?

At the club's café La Corona only a few clients are occupying its Amiral Coligny terrace and there are none at all on the long expanse of the Quai du Louvre side.

Inside the café the small 'salle' seems full and the café's staff seems occupied, but the 'grande salle' is nearly empty. Patrick, thephoto: server lady of the week 'Waiter of the Week' announces the club secretary's arrival to a waiting new member, who has been searching the empty tables and chairs for the club.

The server-lady, Linda Thalman - captured in focus in a candid pose.

It is on the dot of 15:00 when we occupy a table, as soon as I've established that this is well and truly the 'club.' On the second try I get the new member's name. It is a familiar one on account of past emails, but this is our first encounter.

Before the proceedings can begin, within only a minute or two, the new member asks for the direction to the café's waterworks, and rapidly departs in that direction.

After I ascertain that the club no longer possesses an 'official' pen with green ink - I loathe green ink! - I note the issue number, the meeting's number and the date. With this done and the members' booklet waiting for its new member's name, I pass the time by reading a clipping about a recent game of hot dog between the Mets and the Yankees.

I learn a great deal about the different races of hot dogs at New York area ballparks, but do not get the last two paragraphs digested before the server-lady, Linda Thalman, and Doug Fuss arrive together.

Since they seem to have arrived together I ask them if they have arrived together, and the answer is that they have been looking at historical stuff in the city's Musée Carnavalet together.

"Do you know how many times Paris' Hôtel de Ville has been burned down?" Doug asks me.

While the answer seems to be, in '1772' and '1871' - neither of the history buffs know why it was burned down in 1772. Maybe somebody forgot to put out a candle.

Linda thinks she has seen Henri IV's 'real' foot in the museum, because it is very big - much bigger, she thinks, than the one on the statue that is nearby, just off the Pont Neuf. Um - which one is, in fact, bigger?

None of us know the answer to this one, so Linda tells us about how, after the last meeting she attended, she drove home in bare feet because she wore them out walking around on the way to the club.

That was two weeks ago, when Paris had a freakish brief spell of summer weather, and it was pretty warm. That particular day has impressed Linda so much that she hauls out her new permanent addition to her excursion kit - a box of bandages and even opens it and pulls out all its bandages, to prove, I guess, that it does contain real bandages.

The lesson here is - and I will write it out loud and clear instead of obscurely hinting at it 'between the lines' - if youphoto: doug fuss are in Paris you can get easily carried away with walking, and kind of forget your poor feet and walk them to pieces.

So, then, please remember your feet are vital, and treat them right. Do not sacrifice them just to get to the club! But if you are forgetful, bring along some bandages just in case.

For the first time in 37 meetings Doug Fuss wears a green shirt - in a café that is generally red. This is now his 'official' club portrait.

Suddenly all this talk of extending excursions to extremes causes me to recall that the new member has now been gone a long time, and the trip to the café's waterworks, while downstairs, is not all that great a distance.

As far as the three of us know it is safe enough down there, so no search party is sent out.

Instead Linda wants to propose a 'Tip of the Week.' It is simply this - put bandages on your feet before they get blisters. Then she spells 'blisters' in French, which I forget to note - even though this is a handy word to use in pharmacies when you limp in to urgently request bandages.

The mysterious absence of the new member - whose name I know, but who has not signed the members' booklet - is now causing comment. Linda says this is a true 'first' - the first new unsigned-up member to disappear while going to the waterworks.

While it is a true 'first' it is not entirely unusual, because Linda also has a rendez-vous at this meeting with a 'date' - who is a no-show.

Amazing! Here we are sitting at the meeting having all of our interesting conversations, and all these club 'firsts' are happening without us having anything to do with them.

We all agree that last Tuesday's rain was unusual, because it rained all day long. Linda's answer for this type of situation is typically pragmatic - "Grab a scarf if it looks like rain," she says, sagely adding, "But it's got to be a big one!"

We have talked about other things too - things that have been discussed at other meetings - so you shouldn't think there is anything 'between the lines' here - it is just one of the club's lower-key meetings, with a couple of its own mysteries to make it a unique meeting.

Linda has provided the rain tip about scarves because she is trying to make up her mind to get to a bookstore to get a copy of a cave painting book, and she's having trouble deciding where to get it and how to get there - and it looks like it might rain.

She can go one way or the other way, she can go by métro - but either way she goes, both placesphoto: swizzle stick of the week are close - so they are most likely easier to get to overland, but is her scarf big enough to withstand the rain?

When the meeting is over I go downstairs to make sure the unsigned-up new member is not helping the lady who guards the waterworks, and who makes salads on the side, but I don't see him anywhere.

Just when you may have begun to think this meeting is a big zilch - here is the 'Swizzle-stick of the Week!'

Then, outside it is pretty breezy, and there's a few drops flying around. We go halfway across Pont Neuf - without stopping off to see Henri IV's feet - and zip through the Place Dauphine, and get across to Saint-Michel and the many bookstores there, without her even having to use her scarf much.

If there is to be a 'City of the Week' this week, I guess it will have to be Boulogne-Billancourt, because Doug has mentioned that its northern end might be a pretty good place to live - especially if you like tennis and palm trees.

The 'About the Café Metropole Club' Page

As amazing as it may seem, you can find out quite a bit about what this is about by reading the 'About the Café Metropole Club' page - which will also tell you where to find the club in Paris and the day and time of the meetings.

If you read the whole 'About' page you will also learn that you can become a member of this online magazine's club in Paris, by simply coming to a meeting and agreeing to ignore all of its expired 'rules,' which have been discontinued for quite some time now.

Date, Time and Location of Next Meeting

The next Café Metropole Club meeting in Paris will be held on Thursday, 16. August, which is the annual day known as Saint-Armel's Day. Saint-Armel's day? Oh yes, it is. Not a shred of doubt about it.

The following day will be just another ordinary Saint-Hyacinthe's Day. Other than this, the day will be an unremarkable Friday as well, except it will be the third one in August, which will have five of them of course.

The café La Corona meeting place will have most of its doors open wide as it has on all weeks containing Thursdays. Your club's meeting time will begin at 15:00 and continue until 17:00 in Europe's Central European Time Zone - which is 'CET' for short and not 'GLAX' - and elsewhere known as 3 pm to 5 pm in zones without metrics.

photo: bandaids of the weekThe club's secretary, occasionally known as 'Ed,' will be making a few 'report' notes during the coming meeting but this is not worth one ounce of your attention.

And here is solid evidence of the 'Tip of the Week.' Remember that your feet are the only ones you have!

Make sure to have your new 'Quote of the Week' ready or put your own new 'City of the Week' up for consideration or even invent any other 'Things of the Week,' including the highly popular 'firsts.' Having these on hand might be enough to get them mentioned in a meeting's club 'report,' like this one.

Your wise words and thoughtful thoughts will be welcomed by the other members present - and all readers of this online magazine with the free and real Paris club for readers who 'just want to be' members, and don't mind mysterious 'reports' about is meetings.

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.
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