The Worst Café Column

photo: cafe le courlis, av gen leclerc

One of Paris' thousands of 'ordinary' cafés.

Ever Written

by Ric Erickson

Paris:- Monday, 21. January 2002:- I must be a real booby. I've been told to quit whining all the time about this. It must be because I am whining all the time. In this issue I put on a semi-whine throughout, and now I've discovered that I'm a booby too.

Most readers, I think, read this pretty carefully. I do too, once a week when I'm making it up. I may even read it two or three extra times. But once it goes online, then I forget it unless a reader spots a terrible 'faux-pas' - and then I'll correct it, and read the correction.

But in this issue I 'pretend' to complain about the winter weather, all the while suspecting - hoping even - that the forecasters will be right, and Sunday would be the 'nice' weather day of the week.

What I should have done instead, was read the forecast I put here last Monday. It was not positive, and it didn't say anything good about any Sunday.

In case you have forgotten, I wrote this - 'If you are a fine weather fan I do not want to spoil yourphoto: park, palace luxembourg, sacre coeur week because you may have wonderful weather where you are, unless you are in or intend to be in Paris.' Then I forgot it.

I also forgot I wrote - 'There are plenty of other warm and dry places to pass the days here, and some of them are in cafés.'

A short flash of sun lights up the Luxembourg's palace, and Sacre Coeur beyond it.

In fact, having forgotten this good advice too, I did entertain the idea of taking a day off last week to 'sit in a café,' but decided against it because - well - I'm supposed to be 'on the job' and not lounging around in cafés even if I say it is okay for you to do it.

Not remembering what I've recently written here has been happening a lot lately. This is a bad habit I should try to stop just as soon as I remember to do it.

And Now, the Weather

After writing this bit of fiction and putting it here last week, the TV-weather forecasters started talking about Sunday being a mild and sunny day. This was not at all true, but they were only a day off - today has been a mild and sunny day.

The coming week is predicted to be mild, with temperatures 'above normal for this time of year.' This means lows of nine degrees and highs of 12, or say, 52-53 F. This may fall off by a couple of degrees by the end of the week, but it isn't too shabby for January.

In the near term, not much sunshine is predicted. In fact there may even be some rain - there might even be some waves of rain. The forecasters call this 'sunny periods chased by rain' or vice-versa or something similar.

Since no sunny periods are forecast, if the rain chases anything, it will probably be periods of no rain. During the rainy periods try to be in a museum, in a store with winter sales, riding a bus or underground in the métro, or in one of the cafés I'm always saying are famous for sitting in while Paris is having its winter.

'Café Life'

Not for Grouches

To come right to the point, I did not experience any 'Café Life' during the past week. Nobody was making movies outside my window in front of the laundry across the street. I did not meet any brand new 'characters' by accident in my travels, and I didn't even travel very much.

Actually, I decided to do as little as possible during the week for a change. Doing this has made me grouchy, because I don't have anything to write here.

Before I go out, for any reason, I usually put scraps of paper in my pocket so that I will have something to write on if anything occurs to me when I am in a working or non-working mood. Actually I do this even when I am in an 'anything' mood.

When the scraps are full of notes I take them out of my pocket. There are about 40 or 50 of them lying around here. I am wary about throwing them out and I often forget to read them later, because they may contain overdue but valuable informationphoto: cinema mistral that I should save in some permanent form.

If there's one thing I really detest it is all of my notes that 'should be saved in some permanent form.' They are lying around here, accusing me of not writing them down.

A cinema is perfect for people like me who don't have my job.

Last week's says, 'Wednesday, Rue de l'Observatoire & convent. Statue 'Théophile Roussel, 1816-1903. Photo.' Actually it was on the Avenue Denfert Rochereau, and the photo was lousy, and the one of the convent was useless too.

Two days later, the other side of the note says, 'Grey, cold, leafless. Good season to look for a book - an unfindable one that leads to found ones by surprise.'

'January is really winter. No matter what the weather. If it gets too somber, there are the palms at Auteuil in the winter garden there.'

If you have been writing to me with important questions that need immediate answers, you should know two things. My Internet Service Provider sent me an email last week saying they intended to fix whatever is wrong real soon now.

I was not aware that there was anything out of order. If you still didn't get a reply, I am probably sitting under the palms in the winter garden out at Auteuil.

Paris' Winter Sales

The 'Winter Sales' have begun and continue nearly forever until Saturday, 16. February. After then regular-price 'Spring Shopping' is likely to begin. 'Regular-price' means with euros, which are now the only money anybody seems to have.

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