"Nothing Better To Do"

photo: eveline aron, jan and dana shaw

Eveline, Jan and Dana - today's 'group' - minus
'missing' Anita.

Is Rejected as the 'Quote of the Week'

Paris:- Thursday, 16. August 2001:- Last week's brown leaves that were rustling around the gutters - the ones that had fallen off trees that are still very green - got blown around corners last night by lightening, thunder, some huge gusts of wind and a great gushing fall of rain.

This morning, the skies struggled to return to the state of good weather that has prevailed since last week, and by club time today they were being mostly blue and the temperatures were beyond the predicted highs - but not as elevated as the recent extra-summery levels.

Frankly, for yesterday's mid-summer day, 33 was quite enough and visitors and Parisians rewarded it by thronging the Seine-side speedway for its last closed weekday of the year - which was also a public holiday anyway.

Coming to the club today does not seem much different from a holiday either. When I get close to the Seine, there are many people ambling along the quays - which are quieter than they have been now that the motor-folks have their lower-level scenic speedway back.

Although the Hôtel de Ville's management is officially 'out of town,' it has left word that 'many lessons' have been learned about shutting the right bank's riverside expressphoto: anita niser roadway. You can expect it to be freed of motors again for for a month, beginning on Monday, 15. July 2002 - plus on most Sundays between now and then.

At the café La Corona there are a few more people on its terraces than last week when I arrive, but its 'grande salle' is just as deserted. As it is only 15:00 I am not worried yet.

Anita Niser wraps up the coveted 'City of the Week' award, but only gets a 'honorable mention' for 'Quote of the Week.'

This proves to be the proper attitude when today's new member arrives five minutes later, and turns out to be Anita Niser from Detroit, Michigan.

However, since the founding date of Detroit nearly became a subject for a 'Café' column 'count-up' recently, I question Anita closely until she admits that she comes from the Southfield part of it - which I need to know just in case it may need to be pressganged into becoming the 'City of the Week.'

I notice that this bit of wonderful club-type news is puzzling Anita. After interrogation she admits that she is attending the club meeting because she has 'nothing better to do.'

When I explain the lack of need to do anything about the sign-in questionnaire, she freely agrees to do it because all of the rules have been 'suspended' and besides, she has 'nothing better to do.'

Twice obviously means that it must be the 'Quote of the Week' but when I announce this, Anita says, "Don't quote me."

A few more questions reveal that Anita is attending the meeting at the suggestion on the server-lady, Linda Thalman, and has never heard of the online magazine 'Metropole Paris' or its free club for readers who are in Paris on a Thursday with nothing better to do.

Dear members - you who now number 266! - I am beginning to think that even if you have 'nothing better to do' in Paris on Thursdays in August, I am definitely going to consider being somewhere else next August - especially after last week's incident of a prospective new member finding 'something better to do' after only five minutes at a meeting, and promptly doing it somewhere else.

However, Anita warms to the concept of the club and manages to arrange for today's 'Waiter of the Week' - Patrick still - to bring her a 'citron pressé,' which is known in other parts of the world as lemonade, but is France's favorite cocktail 'au natural.'

And, at about this point, Jan and Dana Shaw arrive with Eveline Aron, who is Jan's mother - and all three are original club members who joined back in its early days during meetingsphoto: eveline aron three and four at the end of October, 1999.

This calls for larger drinks and food of course and much more work for Patrick, who arranges it all in a quick jiffy.

Eveline Aron has been at more club meeting than I can count - because they were mostly a long time ago.

Aside from the magazine's feeble efforts, Dana has been running his own personal 'count-down' which has consisted of emailing the club secretary - myself, in fact - the number of weeks remaining until his arrival at today's club meeting.

I think I can safely say his 'count-down' is now at an end.

But there is better news than this. The Shaws have rented another club member's Paris apartment for their current Paris stay and the lady who runs the nearest corner grocery to it sensed they were coming and thoughtfully took her vacation in July so she could be open for trade in August.

Jan also seems pleased to be at a club meeting again after a longish absence. For this occasion she announces the formation of a 'strong underground movement' to begin a semi-exclusive club for all couples who have been married for at least 25 years.

There are a barrae of questions about this. Obviously, getting divorced before 25 years have passed is a ground for expulsion - but then so is getting divorced after 25 years and getting remarried, because then you have to stay married for another 25 years before requalifying.


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