Euroflation Hits Europe

photo: cafe daguerre, sunday

Café, métro, a bit of sun - on a Sunday in Paris.

Like It Used To Be - the One Day Weekend

by Ric Erickson

Paris:- Monday, 8. October 2001:- I really doubt if anybody cares about the weather in Paris, but in case you happen to be 'anybody' for some personal reason, the past and future news about it is not good.

Météo-France launched its 'weather-vigilance' warning service, with a real 'weather-vigilance' warning - about a lot of rain, which happened exactly as predicted, but not in Paris.

Now one has to wonder whether these warningsphoto: antique fiat 500 of the week cause rotten weather, because there has been about a 'warning' per day - with the weather to go with it. Optimism from the newspapers and the TV-weather people does no good either.

Back by popular demand - the 'Fiat 500 of the Week.'

If they offer, even feeble, promises of brief sunny periods, then there are none. They have even caused my apartment's heat to remain off. It has been slightly warmer outside, but you have to dress for it like a duck.

'Café Life'

Café Futures Look Bright

This morning, out to get a hint of warmer air - and breezes that were brisk - I was really looking forward to my habitual double-jolt of café in the café Le Bouquet.

I don't think the heating is on in this café yet, but if you stand in the right place it is possible to avoid most of the breezes. While I was doing this I noticed that some of the other customers were wearing scarves.

This means I can wear mine without feeling like some nervous-nellie, afraid of being called a limp wimp. Of course I can wear a scarf in the privacy of the editorial office too, but I am wary about doing this because I forget them and invariably trip over them when I stand up.

My café came and I put in its 150 grams of sugar, until the spoon was standing up nicely in it. Then, as I usually do, I fumbled in my pocket for change to pay for it, and put 13 francs 50 on the bar.

I do this because I think I am absent-minded and thinkphoto: open doors for art treehouse I might walk out of the café without paying. Most people don't pay until they are finished and leaving; This is the usual way to do it, but I think I'm absent-minded - as I think I've already written.

Yes - a black and white photo of a treehouse - but what's the green thing?

The first sip of café this morning was exceptionally good. It tasted full and round and it smelled like strong café, with a lot of sugar in it. Sometimes I wish double-cafés were twice as big.

Philippe, who starts getting my café ready when he sees me leaving the boulangerie across the street, seldom says anything. So I was somewhat startled when he deliberately stopped what he was doing - serving endless Kirs to the Spaniards beside me - leaned close with his hands on the bar and said in a low, secretive voice, "The café is 14 francs now."

I think it is the most he has ever said to me. I also think everybody in the café must of had a conference about how to break the news, and Philippe lost the toss - or he was volunteered, 'because he never speaks to me' and thus cannot cause offense.

In fact, no sooner had he uttered the words than he zipped around the corner, to the bar's other side, safely out of sight. 'Gazooks,' I thought, 'maybe it's been 14 francs for weeks.'


Dimitri started hammering on my door when I was at the other end of my apartment, about two kilometres away. My apartment isn't big, but it is long, and its shortcut was filled-in with a closet - which used to be big enough to walk through before it quit being a hallway and became a closet.

Dimitri 'hammers' on my door because he was the one who discovered the electric buzzer doesn't work. How long it didn't work before Dimitri showed me, I don't know. One of the utility metre-readers recently said he hadn't read my water-metre for two years.

I got to the door before plaster started to fall off the ceiling. I wanted to go out anyway to get warm, so I turned Dimitri around and suggested we go for a café - but to the La Comédia.

When we got there Dimitri said it was a good choice, because glasses of wine had gone up at Le Bouquet. In fact, he said they cost as much as a double-café now.

As a matter of economic interest, we asked the Comédia's guy if his wine and café were 14 francs yet. He said no, not yet.

There are two times when prices rise in France and these are traditionally the beginning of the year and just after the beginning of the summer holidays. October is neither of these times, but the 'euro' is on the horizon.

All sorts of big outfits - water, gas, electricity, telephone - have been putting euro amounts on their bills, and who knows - rounding things up a bit? Some big chains are advertising they will 'round' their prices down, while others say they will merely do it to the nearest five centimes.

With the euro's introduction, the five-centime piece will be minimalized out of existence, so both the 'rounder-uppers' and the 'rounder-downers' are pretty safe - if they chose 'up' more than 'down.'

On the café and glass of wine front, here is the conclusion Dimitri and I reached.

Seven francs is more than a euro and maybe a little less than a dollar, but the euro and dollar havephoto: wedding band, rue daguerre, sunday been pretty close lately. A café in a café is a staple, like a baguette in a boulangerie - and with the five-centime piece about to become ancient history, it makes sense that the minimum price for anything may become 'one euro.'

Sunday on Daguerre - with a little jazz from the 'Wedding Band.'

All of this is so immensely complicated that certain merchants - like the utility company - have decided to do their 'rounding-up' early, rather than get caught on a rush on Tuesday, 1 January 2002.

There's a word for it and it is 'euroflation.' Just saying it, made Dimitri so bitter that he stayed behind in La Comédia to drink some more wine before it gets introduced there.

About 'Au Bistro'

As winter comes on it isn't just days that are getting shorter, but they seem to be losing minutes and perhaps hours too. Whatever the reason might be, my time for doing Metropole this week has run out - leaving 'Au Bistro' undone.

Last week I was moaning about 'administrative' muck, and it was true. This week simply seems to have been shorter. I will wrap the week's newspapers around my ankles instead of a scarf, and I hope you'll take my word for it that there wasn't much in the way of crazy news in Paris last week.

With this out of the way, I intend to enjoy my weekend tomorrow.

Big Metropole Photos

Metropole's large-size photos, even if they are not new ones, are on show every week - with this link to the last new photos on the most recent photo / image page. This is not to say these photos were 'super,' it is just to say there were two new ones, fairly recently. Well, within the last months.

Café Metropole Club 'Updates'

When Le Parisien doesn't appear on newsstands, there are usually other papers to buy. When Le Parisien gets straight with its distributors, sometimes it will say, 'excuse us, but the distributors wouldn't deliver the paper like they promised.'

Last week when the club's 'report' didn't go online around the usual time, neither I nor the server-lady could say 'excuse us' because the 'report' got so lost that we couldn't even put up anything, let alone something as lame as an 'excuse.'

The 'report' was found on Saturday and went online. Better late than never is not something I like havingphoto: rivoli bus divider with plantation to say, but we really didn't know where it was hiding. If readers were inconvenienced, write to me and I will reply with some soothing geek-talk, even though I will have to make it up.

Paris' ugly bus-lane dividers sprouted green 'plantations' last week.

You can try to catch up with last week's important club subjects by reading this meeting's digest of a 'report,' which won't tell you much more or less than you already know - except about the new mascot.

The coming meeting of the Café Metropole Club will be on Thursday, 11. October. This day will be another ordinary Thursday-type day.

Metropole readers and those intending to become club members can learn a fraction more about this free club by looking at the 'About the Club' page which explains how to join it, its meeting time and location and so on, and other true facts such as being free.

Next Week - the Café Metropole Club's Birthday

I have checked - for the hundredth time - that the club's very first meeting was really held on Thursday, 14. October 1999. Not only this, there were witnesses.

This year the 14th is on a Sunday instead of a Thursday, so I suggest that the club's 2nd anniversary be celebrated during the meeting on the Thursday before, on 11. October - on Saint-Firmin's Day.

To mark this event - which it a 'first' - there is an extra feature about the club in this issue. Even though it is mostly nonsense, I wrote it because there were no good TV-movies on the day I wrote it, which was recently, I think.

If new and existing members intend to turn up in numbers higher than 13, please decide what you will want drink now and have your orders ready for the club's 'Waiter of the Week' who will be Patrick. He got the 'short straw' and won the dubious distinction of serving the Café Metropole Club's 'first' 2nd birthday.

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This Was Metropole One Year Ago:

Issue 5.41 - 9. Oct 2000 - This week's Café Metropole column was titled, 'Autumn Is Here' and the 'Au Bistro' news column was titled, 'Rotten Summer Blues.' This issue had one feature, titled 'The Champs-Elysées Revisited, Again.' The Café Metropole Club's weekly blurb reappeared for 'Your Club Is Now Two.' This issue's update for the club meeting on 12. October became the "Sunburned in Seattle" Report. The week's 'Scene' column was titled 'A Couple More 'Big' Shows.' Therephoto: sign, rue cels were four new 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's Cartoon of the Week was captioned 'You Took Him To the Auto Salon!' And why the heck not?

This Was Metropole Two Years Ago

Issue 4.41 - 11. Oct. 1999 - This week's Café Metropole column was titled 'The Suits Exchange B-Cards.' The 'Au Bistro' column was titled 'France's 'Euro' Springtime.' This issue had one feature titled 'The 'No Title' Bagnolet Non-Mystery.' The first Café Metropole Club meeting was announced and then was followed up by the very first 'report' - which was "Paris Has Ugly Dirt" - the Club's 1st Meeting.' 'The 'Scene' column was titled, 'More Van Gogh; More Everything.' The usual four 'Posters of the Week' appeared and Ric's Cartoon of the Week had the all-weather caption of 'Who Makes the Weather?'

The 'Count-Up/Down' - Version 41

As there was an 'exceptional exception' here last week to explain why there is no current 'count-up' I see no reason why there should be another one this week, to explain why there is no current 'count-up.'

photo: sign, defense de deposer les orduresThe Other Exception

The number of days remaining this year is 84. This means there are only less than three months remaining until the 'euro' currency introduction day on Tuesday, 1. January 2002 at 00:01.

'Euromania,' with its companion 'euroflation' is here. This paragraph is now reduced to these two phrases, because these manias are accelerating at a rate faster than a speedy pinball.

If you have the strength, to learn more about the new European-style money take a look at the French government's 'Euro' Web site for whatever it has to say about the arrival of the euro just about exactly less than three months from now.
signature, regards, ric

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