The Dogs' Day

photo: cobia is not the dog of the week

Cobia is not the 'Dog of the Week.'

Looming Perpetual Summer?

Paris:- Thursday, 23. August 2001:- While shops begin filling their selves for the back-to-school onslaughts and as summer withers away to the somber fall period of the year, the weather continues to confound all and wide by perpetuating its summer attitude, with little sign of stopping.

This is not normal. Despite the unreality of it all, the TV-weather news has ceased to describe it as 'abnormal for this time of year,' and simply says tomorrow will be nice and clear and hot. Plus the day after and the day after that.

Parisians not only seem to be taking all of this with cool aplomb by wearing as few clothes as possible - but the ones who have returned brown from sun-filled France even appear as if they consider it a continuation of their holidays.

Car drivers are, of course, irritated. Not only are pedestrians wandering around as if they are on the streets of Saint-Tropez - if it has streets - but the automobilistas are also getting a foretaste of the city's plan to make bus lanes so wide thatphoto: scrumpy is not the dog of the week driving in Saint-Tropez might actually be easier - if it has any streets.

But enough of this. It is club day, or as it is usually known, Thursday - and I have a hot ride down to Châtelet in a hot métro wagon, that lets me out to a hot Rue de Rivoli where the buses are trying out their very own new autobahns.

Scrumpy is not the 'Dog of the Week' either.

I pick up the first of today's members when I catch up with Jan Shaw who is ambling along the Quai du Louvre towards the club's café, La Corona. Once inside, we join Dana Shaw who is ready and waiting for the club meeting to begin.

Jan's first story is about the wonderful and free bus ride she caught at Austerlitz, to cruise west along the left bank beside the Seine. This bus is a replacement for the RER line 'C' which is still having its summer vacation in central Paris.

Within a few minutes the meeting's first new member arrives along with two friends. These are a Dalmatian named Cobai and a Jack-Russel Terrier named Scrumpy, who is formally called 'Louis XIV.' The new member's name is Dinny Moyer, and she has moved to Paris from Arlington, Virginia.

Cobai's name is Cobai because, Dinny says, "We didn't want to name him Spot."

The two dogs arrange themselves politely, without lying on anybody's feet. Neither of them is the 'Dog of the Week' because there are two of them.

They could be 'Dogs of the Week' and it would be a 'first,' but since it is impossible to tell whether one or the other is 'first,' it seems likely that they tie for the honor of 'First Couple of Dogs of the Week,' which is in fact, a genuine 'first.' It won't be today's only one.

It is over 30 outside in the shade and inside La Corona it may be somewhat more, so Jan orders a whoppingphoto: double coca of the week great drink she tells me is a 'double-coca light,' surely another 'first.' "It is also," she says, "Full of ice and three lemon slices."

Right she is! Usually double-coca-lights only have two lemon slices,and come in somewhat smaller glasses.

Dinny grew up in Boulogne-Billancourt and moved to the US in 1968 where she lived until last year. Now, she says, she lives near La Motte-Piquet-Grenelle, on the 15th arrondissement side. "Did you know," she asks, "That 'Grenelle' means rabbit-warren?"

Of course there is a fair amount of talk about Cobai and Scrumpy. Do they find Paris odors fascinating? But it turns out only Cobai is from Arlington - and yes, being a canine visitor to Paris has its interests.

Dana, who lived in Paris in the mid-50s for a school term, wants to know if the club's two new honorary members like horsemeat - which was a lot more common then than it is now.

Before there's an answer, the server-lady, Linda Thalman sails in. "Ohh! The 'Dogs of the Week,'" she says. Quite naturally the club's secretary - who is me - frowns at this breach of club etiquette.

Before action can be taken, Linda has to tell us she's arrived by way of one of the tandem bicycle taxis, which have a cab stand around the corner in front of the Saint-Germain L'Auxerrois church.

Her ride was 2.5 kilometres. "I had to pedal!" she says, "And I drove in from the Cadillac Ranch in only 35 minutes!"

This is a 'first' indeed. Linda says, "Word of the Week is - traffic is fluide!"

Everybody, not just the secretary, disagrees. Dana says he saw buses 'jammed up like sardine cans.'

While I explain about the Hôtel de Ville's plan for autobahns for buses, Linda decides to quit drinking tonic with lemon slices and orders a beer. "Frais!" she shouts at the receding back of the 'Waiter of the Week,' whose name I haven't managed to get.

Dinny shows us all the 'Sani-Canins,' which look like very small black plastic bags. She says, "There are better bags, with handles, in Biarritz."

She also says she finds the pollution to be a lot less than in 'the good old days,' when Paris was - well - stinkier.

The ladies do a bit of shopping talk. For example, it is not difficult now in Paris to get groceries delivered - even ordered by using the Web. This is handy if you live on the fourth floorphoto: dish of glacons of a walkup, without air conditioning.

"Just buying one of those six-bottle packs," says Linda, "And you drink three of them by the time to get them up the stairs."

The club's official excess ice cube dish, for superfluous 'glaçons.'

We have some extra water on the table and Dinny pours it into one of the 'Sani-Canins' for the two dogs. They do not like this much - it must smell like the plastic garbage-bag factory - so quite a bit of it lands under our feet on the café's tile floor.

This makes me notice one of Jan's socks. I don't often notice members' socks and I think her's are unusual enough to be the 'Socks of the Week.' You may object, but socks do come in pairs, so I say the plural is okay in this case.

Since she is also wearing 'Anot' sandals, this allows me to make a fashion statement - one that I've been forgetting to make ever since the weather turned into summer.

While the white sports shoes - called 'baskets' here - debate probably rages on in the DC area on the other side of the Atlantic, everybody in Europe has decided to wear sandals this year.

Everybody except Linda. She pulls off one of her black canvas slippers and waves it about and shouts, "Only 25 francs a pair - at Carrefour!" Then she apologizes for the brown gardening muck on it.

With this, Dinny pulls out a string sling-bag she's got, and says, "Only 40 francs!" withoutphoto: partial group, jan, linda, dana giving any brand-name a free plug. She shows us all of its handy inside pockets too.

Then, since there's only 15 minutes left, Linda says she is going to 'leave early,' "To beat the traffic jams."

Three-quarters of today's club members, looking at something.

Since these will get worse in about ten days, Dinny wants to know about taking Cobia on the métro. We collectively think she can do it if she buys him a half-price ticket, and puts on dark glasses and pretends to be blind.

First to come, and last to leave, Jan and Dana have a final tip for club members and Metropole readers. "If you forget Metropole's name, just put the secretary's name into 'Google' and up pops Metropole," she says.

As club secretary, I have managed to remember 'Google' until writing this, because I have written it in today's club notes.

The 'About the Café Metropole Club' Page

You can, if you are so inclined, find out quite a bit of other nonsense concerning 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 some of the '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 in order 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 will be held on Thursday, 30. August, which is the annual day known as Saint-Fiacre's Day, in Paris at least.

The following day will be another Saint-Aristide's Day, which most people hope will be perfectly ordinary. Other than this, the day will be Friday as well, except it will be the last one in August this year.

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

Finally - the 'Sock of the Week.' Not forgotten after all!

The club's secretary, occasionally known as 'Ed,' will be making a few 'report' notes during the coming meeting but this is not worth one millimetre of your attention. However, please note that putting 'Ed' into 'Google' will not get you 'Metropole,' if you forgotten it.

Try to have your new 'Quote of the Week' ready or bring your own new 'City of the Week' along for consideration or even invent any other 'Things of the Week,' including any new pets, if they are not terribly hungry. Having these on hand might be enough to get them mentioned in a meeting's club 'report,' like this one.

Your carefully chosen chit-chat will be welcomed by the other members present - and all readers of this online magazine with the free and real Paris club deal for readers who 'just want to be' members, and don't mind 'reports' full of strange 'firsts' about its 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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