'No Rules'

photo: mark, michelle, walter, shirley, elizabeth

Club members practising the 'no rules' version of the
'group photo of the week.'

Is the Club's 'Rule of the Week'

Paris:- Thursday, 18. October 2001:- Last night's 'lousy' forecast turns out to be crummy alright. I have listened very carefully to today's radio France-Info forecast, and according to it, Paris and the Ile-de-France will have no weather at all, while the other 82 percent of France will have it all.

Outside I find this is not true. It is not mostly sunny like yesterday, but it is not as crummy as predicted by last night's TV-weather news. It is sort of average Paris weather for October - and about average for any of the other 11 months.

It's finer details escape me once I am convinced there will be no hurricane winds, no torrential downpours and no stunning heatwaves. All in all, it is better weather than inside my apartment.

On the way to today's club meeting I idly wonder if there will be any members present now thatphoto: club sign in the momentous birthday 'gala' meeting is safely past. Between these idle musings I wonder about the métro's odd smells.

For a while I think it might be curry or something exotic from North Africa, until a man with a take-out pizza box sits across the aisle from me. From his pizza box, I smell nothing. I think I should take my nose in for a checkup.

The practical detail part of becoming a club member.

It has rained on the Rue de Rivoli but it is not raining when I reach it. I take my old back-alley route to La Corona, and see that it still hasn't changed much in 500 years, or since the last time I took it.

It is a bit cool for a lot of people to be sitting out on all the terraces along the Quai du Louvre, so nearly no people are doing it. I circle the block, but see no 'Fiat 500s of the Week' either.

At La Corona, Patrick the waiter says there are 'two ladies' waiting for the meeting to begin. It is not quite 15:00 and he is right. There are not many other people in the café's 'grande salle' so even before the meeting starts, club turnout is good.

I explain to Pam Sullivan from San Diego and Pat Bischoff from San Marcos - both in California - how to ignore the questionnaire in the members' booklet. On the question of photos for this report, Pat declines.

While I knash my teeth silently I see a familiar face. What is even odder, I can put a name to it. Walter Pappas doesn't believe I can do this, and I can't figure it out either. Walter's member number is 118, from about exactly a year ago. He says Shirley will be along as soon as shopping is finished.

About the photo, Pat says, "Ask my agent."

About shopping, Walter says, "For some members shopping is more important than clublife."

Let me not be the one to argue about this. How it can compare to clublife I have to wonder - but only until Pam says she used to live in 'Foggy Bottom.'

Before I can get to the bottom of this, Walterphoto: club food says that 'Kir' has a history. His says some guy wanted his name to become well known and he had a lot of idle burgundy - 'Nuits Saint-George' - and a bunch of cassis.

The heavy-duty substitute for a 'croque-monsieur.'

Michelle Royston has arrived with some hunger and we all help her decide not to have a skimpy 'Croque Monsieur' and to have one of the colossal Italian-type things, which are called something like 'Rustichetta.' Walter has the croque-monsieur instead.

The news from Elizabeth and Roy Trew is that the museums are still on strike. They have noticed, however, that this doesn't necessarily mean they are closed. "We heard a very nice organ recital on Sunday night," Elizabeth says, but doesn't say where.

Dotty Joos has arrived from Occidental, California - but she says she is not the ex-mayor of it. She says this because I have just remembered the ex-mayor of some place has emailed a warning of an intention of becoming a club member.

Walter says, "I am not the ex-mayor of Falls Church, Virginia."

Then he adds to club lore by pronouncing that, "The rule of the club is no rules!" As club secretary I know full well this is a difficult concept, but I am proud of Walter for putting it so succinctly.

This is how Occidental becomes the 'City of the Week.' This honor was to have be shared with some other city, but I have forgotten - honest! I have forgotten - to note its name. "How did I get here?" Pam asks.

Walter has a collection of photos he thinks I should see. He has good reason because they were all taken in Paris on one of its 99.5 percent 'blue-sky' days.

When I look at a photo of some street musicians, Walter hauls out a minuscule audio recorder, and plays the music the musicians were playing. Astounding! Multimedia! Too bad I can't include it as 'RealAudio' here.

Doug Fuss arrives, for his last meeting before heading back to his other home in Savannah. He is followed by Mark Kritz, who has not brought any new books by Louis Begley.

The members from California mention that there was a low-price 'window' for air fares fromphoto: walter's foto with music there to Paris - for $345. Apparently this 'window' was only open for five days - so if you are looking for 'open windows,' being alert is the key to success.

The tiny device on the left plays the musica version of Walter's photo.
Continued on page 2...
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