A 'Change of Scene' Meeting

photo: group, stephen, marion, michelle, dinny

This week's club group 'Photo of the Week Minus One.'

"Are Rainy Days Only In the Daytime?"

Paris:- Thursday, 1.November 2001:- Last night the TV-weather lady said the temperature would dump, and this morning she was proved right. 'Indian Summer' is still going on, but with a high of 12 degrees instead of 17.

The sun is still shining, the days are getting a lot shorter fast, some leaves are lying on the sidewalks, but most of the leaves are still on the trees and they are still green. All in all, Paris is doing pretty good in the fine weather department.

Mind you, none of this is 'normal' for 'this time of year,' nor for any year at this time. With this disclaimer on record, all you have to do to enjoy it is go out in it and bask.

Thus, for the second Thursday in a row, I start out early to get to the club. But. But I stop in thephoto: stephen, palm, marion, michelle café Rendez-vous first for a double-jolt of café. And Dimitri is there, thinking about having a sandwich somewhere, because it is Toussaint and our regular café is closed.

Stephen shows Marion and Michelle how to make mice squeak.

So I reduce my ambitions to getting out of the métro at Cité, to see the plant market there and see how Notre Dame is handling its gawkers. Then I take the sunny side of the island to the Place Dauphine.

This is like a funnel, and only a little light gets in it. All the same, it is the Place Dauphine - this sort of quiet mini-village only a few paces away from the bustle of Paris having a 'day off' on the Pont Neuf.

I suppose this has no connection to the two city employees who ask me if I own a dog. After I take my 'village' photo of the place I turn back to ask them why they are looking for dog owners.

It is, they say, to inform them of the brand new dispensers of dog 'ejection' baggies. Luckily, right here turns up a lady with a dog. Before they can explain the utility of the doggie-bag dispenser the lady trumps them by whipping out her own personal plastic doggie bag to show them.

I leave this civic scene in the Place Dauphine and get drenched with sunlight on the Pont Neuf, where I see that Parisians have taken over the right bank speedway in pretty large numbers.

I finally remember it is a holiday - a day when Parisians and visitors get more of Paris to play around in, while drivers get less.

This is the reason my arrival at the café La Corona turns out to be a couple of minutes late. I follow club member Michelle Royston into the café and through it, and out onto the Quai du Louvre terrace, where she is asking Patrick for the location of the club's secretary.

Patrick is able to tell Michelle that the club secretary is right beside her instead of in the 'grande salle,' and then we go in and install the club secretary where he is supposed to be.

I give Michelle the sack of sunflower seeds she was looking for last week. Before she can startphoto: diable corona decor eating them, members Marion and Stephen Nowak show up, fresh from Cologne.

My notes do not say how the subject comes up, but Stephen shows us his Palm Vx which he uses for 'Galax' games during the boring meetings he goes to. When he turns on the sound, it sounds like it is full of hysterical mice. He says he leaves the sound off during the boring meetings.

Newly discovered detail of decor in the club's area of La Corona.

Marion says when he forgets to take the Palm to work and it starts to 'beep' to warn him about boring meetings, she can't find it sometimes. She gets a second chance ten minutes later - and if she finds it in time, she emails Stephen to tell him about the boring meeting he is about to miss.

When I ask how they have have had time to visit the Père Lachaise cemetery and the 16th arrondissement in the same day, Marion tells me about a 'useful thing called the métro.'

Which makes Stephen ask me if I have seen the film called 'Matrix.' When I say I haven't, the explanation involves using elevators to 'change scenes.'

"First," Stephen says, "You push a button to activate the 'scene changer.' Then when the door opens you go in and push one of the other program buttons. After a short pause the doors open on a new scene."

Stephen insists that pushing the buttons set the 'scene changers' into action and they have the new scene ready by the time you are ready to step into it. "It could be floor 18 or the street outside Passy's métro station. It depends on what button from which program you've chosen," he says.

Marion says that in the métro they show movies while the relatively slow 'scene change' is happening, so game players won't get bored.

Stephen claims flying is pretty much the same. "But going through clouds after takeoff is not a perfect 'scene change.'" he says.

Marion adds that the night trains are cheaper because they need 'less scenery.'

Then Stephen, because he is a doctor-doctor - or plain 'Herr Doktor' for short - relates a bit of the history of the universe, which happened 100 years ago.

He says that someone - he forgets the name - decided that popular wisdom was backwards, and that we aren't within an expanding sphere - we are inside a finite one.

Before he can tell us how this story ends, he produces a great club 'first' by noticingphoto: design, sproingi, marion a 'diable' that is included in the Corona's marble wall decor. Nobody has ever seen it before during any of the club's 108 meetings.

"But it is only here today," he claims with confidence. The guys from 'Matrix' put it here - because 'they' found out about Stephen figuring out this type of 'scene.'

As you can see, this has caused the club's secretary to become weary from writing incomprehensible 'notes,' which causes him to describe the civic 'scene' in the Place Dauphine in self-defense.

"If the person is blind how are they goin to know how to pick 'it' up?" Michelle wants to know.


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