Two Astonishing 'Firsts!'

photo: club mascots of the week, from fischer, smith

Two mascots are easier to fit in here than nine
names of members.

Unusual No 'City of the Week' Meeting

Paris:- Thursday, 22. November 2001:- The long and short of the weather for today and the forecasted weather until next Monday, is lousy. If you are coming to Paris at this time of year put away any ideas you have of doing a little water-skiing.

Before installing myself in Le Café Lodi for today's meeting of the Café Metropole Club, I check out the club's regular café - La Corona. Workmen are crawling all over it, dragging out rubble, and putting spanking new stuff inside. It is too soon to tell how it will look when it is fully renovated, but the signs of considerable activity are encouraging.

With my sidewalk superintendent duties over, I stroll the 50 metres or so to Le Café Lodi. I will remember this brief interlude of calm, because there won't be any more of them.

I get my cap, gloves and scarf off but I don't get to sit down before members Joanne Fischer and Paul Smith - their real names! - arrive from Houston. This is the second or third of their visits to club meetings - at one-year intervals.

They have big news. They got married in 'absolutely fabulous' Park City, in Utah. This is not good enough for the 'City of the Week' honor, but it is still big news because they did this thing after being not married together for 23 years.

Joanne says, "We believe in long engagements." She does not say they believe in sharing lastphoto: newlyweds, fischer, smith names though. This saves me from the tedious chore of adjusting their club membership records.

A club 'first' - members Joanne and Paul got married in Utah after 23 years of being 'good friends.'

While this is sinking in, while Paul is telling me it is possible for men to get married multiple times in Utah where divorce rates are low, Michelle Royston arrives. The first thing she says is that she's not staying long on account of it being Thanksgiving, and she has a big meal to cook for it. She keeps her coat on.

Then the server-lady, Linda Thalman, arrives. She is like a secret signal for other members lurking out of the grey Quai du Louvre, signalling them to come in all at once.

Our club-space in Le Café Lodi is not expansive. We turn sideways tables longways, shift a bunch of chairs, annoy some nearby innocent civilians, and pretty soon we have a tidy but tight setup that seats ten, if one remains standing.

For this reason, I never do take my coat off. I hope the members present today will forgive me if this seems offensive and I have their order of arrival wrong. I don't think well with my coat on.

Dinny Moyer arrives with Mary Kvitashvili. This simple act creates an incredible 'First of the Week' - Mary is the 'mom' of Scruffy, the neat little dog who joined the club on Thursday, 23. August, and who was incorrectly identified as 'Schrumpy' by the semi-deaf club's secretary, who is me.

The first 'First of the Week' is Mary being the first club member to join the club after her dog became a member. To tell the truth, I think getting married in Utah - it cost 50 bucks by the way, with 'no waiting!' - after a 23-year engagement, is a pretty good 'first' too.

When the tables and chairs have settled into their new arrangement I find that I have to make a diagram, because new members Allison and Etienne Stettler - from Washington, DC, and newphoto: club drinks of the week members Patricia and Frank Emerson - from Manhattan in New York City, are sitting in some of the chairs.

Standing up is also an aid in getting the members' booklet passed around for the new sign-ins, and I even remember to warn new members not to let me use their photos if they are being sought for crossing the ocean illegally, or some such other infraction.

Some the many 'Drinks of the Week' that I've forgotten.

The Stettlers live in some part of Washington, which is not near Rock Creek Park. The Emersons live on the 'Upper West Side' of Manhattan. Neither of these count as a 'City of the Week' so this honor is held over until next week.

Sometime between noting that some Texas bird named guinea fowl is no longer known in the Houston area as a 'trashbird' and is now known as a 'watchbird' - "Bigger than a chicken, smaller than a turkey," says Joanne - sometime between noting this, and -

There's two blank pages in the 'reports booklet.'

And noting, "I haven't got any, only a real unripe lemon," which turns out to be wrong, because it is about a piece of lime floating in a glass of Corona beer. Um, limes in France are often called 'citron-vert' and if there aren't any, according to Dinny, any kind of unripe lemon will do -

But! When I look this up and find out I've got the crucial word wrong, I discover my antique 'Nouveau' Petit Larousse doesn't even have 'citron-vert,' but has the word 'lime' instead. This usually means 'nail-file' or any kind of file. I give up. French is too exceptional for me.

Suddenly, it is hours later and Michelle still has her coat on. She finally gets around to 'leaving early' to go home and finish doing her turkey, and, she says, after thatphoto: half group of the week she will go to a movie and eat popcorn. "It's a family tradition," she says. Usually her family numbers about 70 people stuffed with turkey.

One-half of the 'Group Photo of the Week' shows some members less than clearly.

While I am beginning to mull over why club members choose to tell me their most intimate family secrets, Joanne plunks down the Fischer-Smith family mascots, 'Gumpy' and 'Pokey,' who have been to about half the countries in the world as well as the quickie- wedding state of Utah.

These two mascots have been to a club meeting before, maybe twice, and here they are again. It seems like a thousand years since I've seen them last.

Somebody says, "Eddie Murphy is not a member of this club," and, for some other unknown reason, Etienne says it snows too much at Park City for the winter Olympics to be held there.

Members are throwing money on the table in a vain effort to figure out what part of the tab is theirs, and this is when Dinny poses the 'Question of the Week' for the second week in a row.

I mean, I sidestepped this question last week and here it is back again, to haunt me. I didn't know the answer last week and I don't know it now, so she lets me off the hook a bit by posing a new 'Question of the Week.'

Let's go back to the first question. You should know that France is pretty modern these days, and some toiletsphoto: other half group of the week here have some push-button thing that when you push the button a sleeve of clear, totally unused and antiseptic plastic zips out of the toilet from somewhere and surrounds the toilet seat, making it neat, safe and clean to sit on.

The other half of the 'Group Photo of the Week' shows some members equally unclearly.

Dinny wants me to find out how a user can tell if these things work. She thinks I should go downstairs to the 'Dames' and mark the plastic sleeve cover with a 'X' and push the button. If the 'X' comes around again, well...

The 'Hommes' downstairs at Le Café Lodi does not have any such thing like this. I do not have anything to 'mark' anything with either. In fact the 'Hommes' has a very low ceiling, and anybody taller than one-metre-fifty should go elsewhere.

The second question for which I have no answer, is why do men in Paris 'go elsewhere,' usually in public places that are not underground in Le Café Lodi or other special underground places that are properly fitted out for the purpose.

Joanne overhears this question and supplies the answer, "Because they are Euro-peen!"

Next week, I think I will skip the 'Question of the Week' entirely.

Some Vital Dates - Paris' Winter Sales 2002

Here is good news for you if you arrive long before the Winter Sales begin on Wednesday, 9. January early next year.

All of Paris' 'grands magazins' will be open on the Sundays of 8, 16 and 23. in December. They are also tying to fit in one more Sunday - either the 25. November or the 2. December - but they may be forced to conform to the last three Sundays already permitted, because all other stores in Paris will be open on these Sundays too.

As for the Winter Sales, these will continue until Saturday, 16. February 2002, when 'spring shopping' starts.

Another Vital Date - the Club Meeting In Manhattan

No details have been worked out for this, but it will be held on Thursday, 27. December. All club members in the New York area of the United States will be receiving emails inviting them to this extraordinary club meeting, and asking them to suggest to the club's secretary where it should be held.

It is also highly possible that the Café Metropole Club's regular meeting in Paris on Thursday, 27. December will take place simultaneously - both 27. Decembers are on Thursdays - by being hosted by a long-time club member.

La Corona's Renovation

The club's 'home' café meeting location is the café La Corona, which is currently being renovated. While this goes on, the meeting place has temporarily moved to Le Café Lodi.

To-become members and signed-in club members may find La Corona re-opening for meetings - possibly as soon as Thursday, 6. December. Watch this space for the definitive date.

Temporary Location, Vital Dates

The next meeting of the Café Metropole Club, on Thursday, 29. November, will be held in Le Café Lodi. Future club meetings will also be at the Cafe Lodi, on Thursday, 29. November and possibly on 6. and 13. December.

Le Café Lodi is located at 24. Quai du Louvre. It is about 43 or 62 metres away from La Corona, towards the Pont Neuf, next to the second souvenir shop, next to the pet shop.

After La Corona's renovation, the first meeting to be held in the regular and by now hallowed club's café will be on Thursday, 6 or 13 or 20. December.

The 'About the Café Metropole Club' Page

You can find out some other stuff about this club if you really feel you must - by reading 'About the Café Metropole Club' - which also explains exactly where to find the club in Paris - usually - and the day and time of the meetings.

You will also be able to find out that you can become a member of this online magazine's free club in Paris, by simply coming to a meeting. You can safely ignore all of the club's expired 'rules,' because they have been abolished. They were abolished because 'no rules' is the club 'rule' now.

Date, Time and Location of Next Meeting

The next Café Metropole Club meeting will be held on Thursday, 29. November, which is on a Thursday again. It is also the annual day known as Saint-Saturnin, which is not any kind of a holiday in France.

The following day will be an ordinary Friday, called Saint-André's Day. If you like Fridays, make the most of it - there will only be 5 more of them this year.

Your club's meeting time will begin at 15:00 and zip along to 17:00 in Europe's Central Europeanphoto: members sandwich of the week Time Zone - which is 'CET' for short and not 'ULULT' - and elsewhere known as 3 pm to 5 pm in zones without numerical 24-hour time.

Although this photo is called the 'Sandwich of the Week' it is not the 'Food of the Week.'

The club's secretary, known as 'Ed' occasionally, will be making some 'report' notes during the coming meeting. This is strictly a regular club routine - not a 'rule!' This will explain why some of this week's notes ended up skipping two pages.

Be sure to have a new 'Quote of the Week' ready or come with your own 'City of the Week' if it is a new one, or even drag along any other 'Things of the Week.' New 'rules' are ineligible.

Your comments, casual or deliberate, will be eagerly received by the other members present, if they happen to overhear them - and by all readers of this online magazine, if they happen to read them.

The club's temporary location-café is:

Le Café Lodi
24. 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.
Metropole Midi © 2014
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