The Big 'Oops' of the Week

photo: l->sccop, sharon, jules, elliot; sheila, alan, berta

All of today's club members who correctly came
to the wrong café.

Members Fallback To Lodi

Paris:- Thursday, 20. December 2001:- Last night's TV-weather forecast was quite definite about Paris having lousy weather today, with a sky full of lumpy grey clouds dropping occasional bomb-loads of snow - made possible by temperatures rising to three degrees.

Of course none of this has happened. The temperature might have risen a couple, or even more, degrees - but there has been no lumpiness in the heavens. There is even a moon showing tonight - during what is called locally, nighttime - after a day of clear blue skies on the second-shortest day of the year.

This good fortune did not hint to me that there was worse to come. But I spied it from half a block away in the form of builder's materials blocking the entrance to the Café-Tabac La Corona.

Inside I found a total shambles. If there was anything 'new' in the club's 'clubhouse' café, it was carefully hidden under piles of construction, disorganization, junk, garbage, bric and brac.

Within this chaos I found several 'Waiters of the Week' - not being ready to serve anybodyphoto: berta, sheila onion soup - dressed for a fine day at the centre of a fully-confused construction site. Not one of them was wearing a 'Waiter of the Week' tie either.

In a state of near shock I asked them to send lost club members to the Café Lodi, while hoping that the club's backup café was not full of any members of the Arkansas City Cub Scout Groupette 49 - the 'Rascals' - on tour in Paris.

Berta Maginniss and Sheila Stampfi, wearing their furry coats.

Luckily they were elsewhere at the club's starting time. While my brain was stuck between 'reverse' and 'second' gears, club member Alan Pavlik arrived from Hollywood, California, just as if the Lodi has become known world-wide as the club's number one backup café meeting place.

For simply showing up - and on time too! - I make Hollywood the 'City of the Week.' Alan doesn't have much time to tell me more than he lives, "One block north of Sunset, one block south of Hollywood Boulevard," - then Berta and Scoop Maginniss arrive with a new member in tow, and this is Sheila Stampfi from Washington, DC.

I'll tell you, now that the Maginniss' have bought an apartment in Paris, they think they can just come here any old time they want and buy more stuff for it.

In fact, Scoop tells me he has put a building workshop in it, which makes me wonder if they are going to stop with just one apartment. If they get more, maybe they'll come to club meeting so often that I can appoint Berta as 'secretary.'

Meanwhile - meaning, as in the space of time while I'm writing this - Sharon and Elliot Medrich arrive from San Francisco or Oakland, just like they did a year ago at this time.

This immediately starts off a heatedphoto: alan pavlik discussion about the 'Rabbits at Roissy' problem. I am beaten down with my investigative reporting 'report' of rabbits still infesting both Orly and Roissy - when everybody shouts at me, "There used to be MILLIONS of them!"

The photo of Alan Pavlik that I thought wasn't - because of the Lodi's lights.

Then Scoop is saying the Café Bricolo in the basement of the BHV department store is a 'great singles café' - great for picking up girlfriends who are handy with hammers and saws and other common 'brico' tools.

Somewhere about here Jules Caris arrives. I'm not sure he intends to become a club member or sell 'any size apartments you want in the Quartier Latin.' Since the club has no 'fine print' anymore, I explain how to join it in a few, short words, and he sets about the business of becoming a club member while I tell him about all the disclaimers.

When I look up Dinny Moyer is trying to figure out where to squeeze in. She sees this is not going to be easy, so she decides to go back to La Corona and wait there for another new member who does not know about the club's fallback café, Le Lodi.

Elliot wants to know where he can take veggie friends to eat, and says 'no thanks' to my suggestion of an Italian place. "I didn't come to Paris to eat pizza," he says.

All restaurants have fish I point out, and he thinks maybe his veggie friends might not consider fish to be animal meat. Actually, I was thinking that some Italian restaurants have other dishes besides pizza. Some have good Italian food.

There is a lot of talk going on all around the tables we've pushed together. I hear Berta say Drouot's auctions on Saturdays at this time of year are great for getting jewelry and this prompts somebody to mention the entire 19th century shop inside the Musée Carnavalet.

A scan of the table reveals no 'Drinks of the Week.' When members get to chatting they often forget this vital club item, and merely have cafés of various sorts. Elliot even has a Coke.

Since Sharon and Elliot got married since their last club meeting, they are roundly congratulated for getting around to it after seven years.

I call for all cameras to be placed on the table to see if one of them may be the 'Camera of the Week,' but onlyphoto: alexandra Alan and Sharon have one, each. Jules says he likes selling lofts in the Bastille area too. Most of these are 'fixer-uppers' so Scoop is interested - even though he is careful to point out how close two of the racetracks are to his own new apartment.

Alexandra of Le Café Lodi has been our main 'Waiter of the Week' for the duration.

With the cameras on the table - this is sort of a hint that it is 'Group Photo of the Week' time - but I am stalling until Dinny gets back from La Corona.

To fill in a bit, and partly because I didn't expect this meeting to be at the Lodi, I shoot Franck just as he is about to eat a herring, and shoot Alexandra, just about as she is going to collect a modicum of money from somebody. Voilà, here you have our back-up hostess and host in the Lodi.

Out on the Lodi's terrace, the sun is bright and strong as befits being one day short of as low as it will get for the year. I remember to place the light-metre part on the brightest object I can see - which is Sheila's hair - but it is a tricky business because all the trucks going past on the Quai du Louvre throw these huge shadows.

With this club ritual out of the way, the members seems free to start wandering off to go shopping - to 'spend spend spend' as one of them puts it.

Alan is about to do this too, but stays behind to tell one more story. He is a bit concerned becausephoto: scoop everybody he knows in Hollywood thinks it may be 'odd' or 'affected' to fly off to Paris to do Christmas shopping.

Well-known horse fan, Scoop, has revealed a secret affection for 'bricolage' too.

One, he points out, flying to Paris from LA costs no more than flying to New York, and since the flight takes longer, it is possible to read a bigger 'airport book' on the way. The other point is that the Christmas shopping in Las Vegas isn't quite the same experience as in Paris - even with its replicas of Paris and Venice and Egypt.

Besides, he says, "I feel at home in Paris." In Hollywood, he listens to the Paris jazz station at 88.6 FM via the Internet, and takes in all of the virtual tours put online by TF1 instead of watching the traffic on Sunset Boulevard.

Paris' 2002 Winter Sales - In Euros for the First Time

For Christmas shopping, all of Paris' 'grands magazins' will be open on Sunday, 23. in December. Many other stores in Paris will be open on this Sunday too.

The New Year's Winter Sales begin on Wednesday, 9. January and continue until Saturday, 16. February - when francs go out of circulation and euros become Europe's unique currency.

Next Meeting - At La Corona!

Last week I wrote - 'After seeing the state of La Corona's bar tonight, it is hard to believe that this café will be ready to be the Café Metropole Club's clubhouse again next Thursday, 20. December.' This turned out to be 'not so,' but they are slaving to have it ready for next Thursday, 27. December.

The server-lady, Linda Thalman, has graciously agreed to host this meeting, so it will be held at the regular time in the regular café, La Corona.

See the correct address for this at the bottom of this page, preceded by all the date and time and other information everybody at today's club meeting knows already.

Details for the Meeting In New York On 27. December

On the same day, in the Manhattan part of New York City, the club's secretary will host an extraordinary meeting. This will be held at the Rue des Crêpes café in New York City. This club meeting begins at 5 pm, or 17:00. Here is the exact address:

Rue des Crêpes, 104 - 8th Avenue, Manhattan, New York City 10011. This location is between 15th and 16th Streets on the east side of 8th Avenue. InfoTel.: 212 242 99 00.

There are at least three access possibilities. First with the 'E' train - to the 14th Street station, at 14th Street and 8th Avenue, with another exit at the corner of 8th Avenue and 16th. Second, withphoto: franck the 'F' train - at its 14th Street station, at 14th Street and 6th Avenue, with another exit at the corner of 6th Avenue and 16th Street, with a two-block walk west to 8th Avenue. An finally there's the No 1 train - at its 18th Street station, at 18th Street and 7th Avenue. This will involve a one-block walk west to 8th Avenue and then over to 15th Street.

Parisian Franck wears a typical Paris t-shirt, and eats his own café's herrings.

Club member Jim Auman has also written - from New Jersey! - the following, "There is a fourth possibility of getting to the club meeting - walking. Since we are 'enterré dans les banlieues,' the best and easiest way for us to go to New York is by train.

"It takes us to the Penn Station/Madison Square Garden complex on 34th Street. This thing is so big that it sprawls across several avenues. We'll look for the 8th Avenue exit and head south."

Well, this is certainly a big help. Finally, finally, for those who would rather take a bus than walk, the lines to take are the 1, 2, 3, 6 and 7, as well as the 14, especially if you like 14th Street a lot.

Now For the Rotten News, Again

The 'Be Kind to Club Secretaries' association has stated quite clearly that the Café Metropole Club is allowed to not have a meeting anywhere in the world on Thursday, 3. January 2002. The first meeting in the new year will be one week later, on Thursday, 10. January 2002, and it will be held in Paris at La Corona.

The 'About the Café Metropole Club' Page

You can learn more than you need to know about this club if you think this will improve your appreciation of Paris - by reading 'About the Café Metropole Club' - which also explains exactly where to find the club in Paris and the day and time of the meetings.

You will also be able to find out that you can easily become a member of this online magazine's free and real club in Paris, by simply coming to a meeting. On Thursday, 27. December, you will be able to become a member in New York too. This will be another real and true club 'first' so don't miss it.

Date, Time and Location of the Next Paris Meeting

First off, the coming meeting will be on a Thursday again. It is also the annual day known as Saint-Jean, which is not any kind of a holiday in France.

The following day - next week - will not be an ordinary Friday, because it is called 'Saints-Innocents' Day. If Fridays are a favorite day of yours, make the most of it - it'll be the last one this year.

Your club's meeting time in Paris will begin at 15:00 and cruise along to 17:00 in Europe'sphoto: le cafe lodi sign Central European Time Zone - which is 'CET' for short and not 'OZOZ' - and elsewhere known as 3 pm to 5 pm in zones without 'Euro-type' 24-hour time.

'Le Café Lodi' - has well-served the Café Metropole Club.

The club's secretary, sometimes known as the 'server-lady' will be making some 'report' notes during the meeting. This is only an idle club pastime - and not a 'rule!' - except for the secretary.

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 haul along any other 'Things of the Week.' New 'rules' will be ignored, as usual.

Your comments, casual or complete miss-speaks, will be 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, if they happen to be written here.

The café's location is:

Café-Tabac La Corona
2. Rue de l'Amiral de Coligny - or - 30. Quai du Louvre
Paris 1. Métro: Pont-Neuf or Châtelet.

A bientôt à Paris and New York City,
signature, regards, ric

Send email concerning the
contents to: Ric Erickson, Editor.
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