It's Crummy Weather Season

photo: cafe terrace, ile saint louis

Sun on a deserted terrace, before clouds
joined the coolness.

The Laundromat Guy

by Ric Erickson

Paris:- Monday, 19. November 2001:- There are sunny-looking photos in this issue because they were taken last week when it was sunny in Paris. It was not warm, but it was sunny.

Today, neither is the case. It is overcast, it is damp and it is cold. I think this means it is winter. TV-news has been showing certain types being very cheerful on mountains above a certain altitude. These people are the lift operators and they are cheerful because snow has arrived many weeks earlier than last year.

Overnight temperatures in Paris are supposed to rise from this morning's zero to about six above by Friday. Corresponding daytime 'high' levels are supposed to go up from today's six to 11 degrees. Not much sunshine is forecast for the near future.

All of this is very normal, and I can't think of anything funny to say about it. It is going to last for a couple of months too.

'Café Life' - Part I

My Laundromat's Fan

Familiarity doesn't always breed contempt, but after 30 months I am pretty used to the laundromat across the street. It is the first thing I see when I open my iron shutters and the last thing I see when I close them.

In winter, sometimes I don't bother to do either. On my 'weekend' on Tuesdays - take last week's for example - I finished the magazine so late - so early in the morning, I didn't know exactly what to do with the shutters. Open them, or sleep to five in the afternoon, leaving them closed all day.

But the outdoor marché on Tuesdays only goes to about 13:00, so I got up for that. To do this, I wasphoto: column, place vendome standing up, so I decided to do my washing before dark and in a fit of fancy, I decided to use machine number three instead of my old regular, machine number two.

Except for the machine change, it was routine. Until I went back to get the stuff out of the dryer. I was blearily piling the stuff together, when this tall guy comes in and started sniffing machine number two.

The Place Vendôme's column, pointed at a cool sky.

"This has crud in it," he said, and then he inspected machine number three's soap receptacle. From this he pulled some minor crud I had never seen before in my life, I swear.

I said, "There's about a dozen other machines you can use," using a free hand to gesture at the shoddy featureless landscape of the empty laundromat.

"Yes, I know," he said, adding, "But this set of three are my favorites." I didn't tell him I had just finished using machine number three, which he decided to use.

"These are the best machines in the place," he said. I thought they were 'good' because they are closest to the dryers - otherwise they are the same as all of the other machines in the place.

"Do you come here often?" I asked.

"Oh yes! I used to live near here, so I guess I've been using this laundromat for six years at least," he said.

"Oh? Where do you live now?"

"Near the Bon Marché," he replied.

How can I put it? The Bon Marché is about two kilometres away from my laundromat across my street, and there must be about 379 others laundromats between here and there.

The way this guy talked, he practically lived in this laundromat. He said he knew the Portuguese cleaning lady. "She opens it in the morning and closes it at night. But the owners have changed and they don't pay as much, so she doesn't care anymore," shaking his head at the thought of declining standards and increasing cruddiness.

He too, knew that the machines are old. Spare parts are hard to find for them. His favorite dryer is the number 22, but it is falling apart. "Sometimes you can get a free 'dry' out of it," he said.

He measured the water softener into the machine with an eyedropper. "You know," he said, "I don't think these machines even use hot water."

I disagreed with him, but he pointed out that the round front windows never even feel warm. "You can select any temperature you want, but the water is always cold," he said.

After I put the coins in the remote cash machine, I always listen for the sound of the water starting to gush into the machine I'm using. It has never occurred to me to hang around and see if it gets hot.

But, hey! This guy, so fussy about clean machines, didn't seen to care that they washed with cold water. I wanted to ask him about this detail, but I had everything folded and thought I had enough of my laundromat for the week. We shook hands and I left him, while he turned to help a lady with a big bundle of washing select a suitable, uncruddy machine.

The Rest of Café Life

For various reasons, this issue has no feature article. One of these reasons has been an excessive amount of 'Café Life' during the week.

If, for some reason, you have been wondering where to find the follow-up to the Buffalo Grass saga, you should hit this link to 'Café Life' - Part II. This page can also be accessed from the contents page of this issue.

Good intentions to provide full photo documentation of the Buffalo Grass saga came to nought, so most of the photos in this issue are misplaced 'good intentions.' And, despite the best of intentions, there is no photo of the 'Fiat 500 of the Week.' Please accept the image of a 1940 Chrysler 'yellow cab' below, as a substitute.

On the 'Network'

Nobody wrote during the past week to complain about a lack of a visible Metropole on the Web. This might be because readers got tired of doing it.

On the whole, getting the issue online has worked pretty well. The only hitch seemed to be the reluctance of the 'past issues' index for this year to be 'found.' Eventually it 'found' itself, I think.

For those who tried to access last week's club 'report' from the contents page, there was hitch, and it was my fault. I left a vital number out of the access-link code. I don't remember whether this was due to having my glasses on or off because sometimes I forget to look through them even if they are 'on.'

Café Metropole Club 'Updates'

You can catch up with last week's club subjects - about the 'Beaujolais Nouveau Day of the Year' for example - by reading this meeting's digest of a 'report.'

Before you stop reading now because you think you've read this before - there is some more 'new' news too, and it may concern you. See 'Location Alert II' below.

Meanwhile, the coming meeting of the Café Metropole Club will be on Thursday, 22. November, but not at the café La Corona. See the 'Change -Location Alert I' below. See it again even if you've read it before.

Next Thursday will not be just another ordinary Thursday-type day called Sainte-Cécilephoto: sign bricolo cafe, bhv because it is the fourth Thursday in November, which also means that it will be 'Thanksgiving Day' in the USA part of the world.

Sign for the 'Bricolo Café, mentioned in Part II.

Metropole readers and those wishing to become club members can learn oodles more about this free club by looking at the 'About the Club' page which explains how to join it, its meeting time and so on, and other true facts such as being free. This page also contains a location map for the club's regular café, La Corona, which is in temporary suspension.


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