A New First - a 'Club Mutiny'

photo: monica, michele, ike, fred, anita, dory

From left, Monica, Michele, Ike, Fred, Anita and Dory -
not doing any carnival turns.

Secretary Flummoxed

Paris:- Thursday, 7. March 2002:- On my second 'week off' - in a row! - getting out of bed to go to the club meeting today is no problem because it is a Thursday, and this is what the club's secretary does on Thursdays.

Actually, it is not my second 'week off,' because the next issue is also getting done - after a fashion. But I shouldn't bother you with quibbly details, and keep on sleeping as long as I can.

It is even a nicer day in Paris than forecast. These have been less than optimistic lately, but the weather has been on better behavior than predicted and has been treating the city's residents and visitors to reasonable days.

Tonight's TV-weather news forecast has even gone out on a limb to predict that it will be even better, although a bit cooler because the skies are clearer at night. Clear night skies are not much use to anybody, so I would object to them making the days cooler if there were a way to do it.

On the way to the club meeting I pause at the Pont Neuf to see if the Seine has fallen enough tophoto: front - anita, michele, rear - dory, monica, fred open the speedways. TV-news has said it has gone down, but I can't tell for certain from the bridge. What is certain is the Quai de Seine is clogged with traffic as usual.

Due to mirrors, a semi-'Group Photo of the Week,' lacking only Ike.

In other parts of town, during the week, it has seemed like traffic has moved to some other country - even though Paris' school holidays are over. Maybe drivers are ignoring certain streets for reasons of their own.

Many bouquinistes along the river side of the Quai du Louvre have their lids up and a fair number of people with absolutely nothing better to do are looking for printed treasures or 90 year-old sexy postcards.

It is just like a really nice day in February, but I have work to do across the street at the café La Corona, which even has a several clusters of people who have become weary of looking for postcards, sitting on its south-facing sunnyside terrace.

All of the 'waiters of the week' inside are happy with all the trade, because most of it is outside. The club's section of the 'grande salle' is free and cleared for action, except for the usual grains of overlooked salt.

Fred Faure shows up on the dot of 15:00. Since we have metric time in Europe, I suppose I should write, 'right on the decimal' of three, but the 'dot' habit is not easy to break.

We pass about two minutes talking 'shop' before Ike Payne arrives. Ike comes from Albuquerque, New Mexico, which he spells for me and says is handily located in the middle of the state, but is somewhat close to Mexico. This is more than good enough for it to become the 'City of the Week.'

Getting a 'City of the Week' within fifteen minutes of a meeting's begin is a good sign, especially when Ike says it can be spelled like "B-B-Q."

But the best thing about Albuquerque, Ike says, is you can see for '75 miles' there, except of fourphoto: kir royal or five days a year when it is only possible the see 42.5 miles. What there is to see so far away is some bit of Rocky Mountains, so seeing these at night is not so easy - like seeing Paris' clear skies at night.

After being in the air force for 29 years and then living in Albuquerque for a long time Ike decided to try Charleston, but he didn't like it for more than about two days.

The first of several 'Drinks of the Week,' all of which were Kir Royals.

There wasn't any way to see 75 miles there. Ike was a pilot and he flew more planes than Tom Cruise, including F-100s, F-4s, F-16s, B-52s and even KC-135 tankers. I guess once you spend a lot of time high in the air, you get really accustomed to seeing a long way.

My notes have a blank at the times Monica O'Neil Shay and Anita Bennett arrive separately, so neither of them get 'clocked.' The only way to be 'late' for a meeting is to come on any day that isn't Thursday, so 'clocks' don't really count.

The blanks above are followed by more inexplicable time blanks when Dory Gresl arrives from Corte Madera, California, and Michele Karlander arrives more or less straight from a jumbo jet that has flown in from Chicago and plopped itself down at Charlie.

It is Dory's first visit to Paris and she is here to learn some French, and to do so she is staying with a Parisian family. I overhear her ordering something wet in French, and wonder if I shouldn't stay with a Parisian family too instead of just with my TV set.

Michele is a different sort of visitor. Whenever she feels a lack of Paris, she jumps on a jet and comes for five days or a week. A couple of years ago she even stayed at Shakespeare & Company, and got put up on the third floor - which apparently is a luxo palace compared to the austere fourth floor.

She has a brought a book with her. She says she usually brings books in French to read, but this one starts out with Virginia Woolf walking into a river with her pockets full of rocks. The book is by Michael Cunningham and its title is 'The Hours.'

The members do not take my home-made 'focus-puller' seriously, but they have been eyeballing the café's terrace, so when I declare it is 'Group Photo of the Week' time, they all hoist themselves more willingly than usual, to troop out there. This week, it turns into a big mistake.

The afternoon sun had been slicing up the light inside the café like slabs of salami and cheese. While I notice gangs of sidewalk strollers pause to wait with consideration while I try focusing outside, I tendphoto: members terrace mutiny to overlook transiting shadows cast by passing trucks and buses.

Result - out of three group photos two are duds. The members, who I've forgotten to tell to act like it is carnival, do not care a single fig.

'Mutiny On the Terrace' will probably hit the top-ten list any day now.

But they do like the light on the terrace. Against all of the club's rules that-aren't-rules, they pay off Vincent, the 'Waiter of the Week,' and plunk themselves down at a handy table outside and order more 'Drinks of the Week' - which are tasty and cool Kir Royals.

Ike, who has a good eye for seeing things clearly, decides walking around in today's weather in Paris might be more profitable than sitting beside the Quai du Louvre's traffic jam, and he takes himself off with a light step with the intention of listening to some jazz later on.

I consider this members' mutiny and I also consider that the club's only rule is 'no rules,' and decide not to be left alone in the ship's rowboat in the café's 'grand Salle,' and join the remaining members on the terrace.

My reward for this is seeing Michele's collection of franc banknotes - almost the first I've seen since the beginning of the year. The mostly blue 50 is just about everyone's favorite.

The Next Meeting

The coming weekly meeting of the Café Metropole Club will be on Thursday, 14. Marchphoto: 2 kir royals - a full two weeks into March and a few days short of Saint-Patrick's day.

This will be a fairly ordinary 11th Thursday in the year 2002 kind- of-day called Sainte-Mathilde, about whom I know nothing because I don't feel like looking it up.

Yes - these are more 'Drinks of the Week.'

The address for this meeting is at the end of this page, proceeded or followed by all the date and time and multiple métro-stop names, which are hard to remember even though they have been exactly the same for years, like this paragraph.

The 'About the Café Metropole Club' Page

Learning more about this club could fuel your expectations for a meeting's experience, so you can do this by reading 'About the Café Metropole Club.' This page explains nearly everything you should know about club membership - not much - and meetings - a tiny little bit.

But if you want to skip this highly entertaining 'About' page, all you really need know is that you can easily become a member of this online magazine's live, free and real club by simply coming to a meeting if you are in Paris.

Date, Time and Location of the Coming Meeting

The coming meeting of your club in Paris will begin at 15:00 and meander along to 17:00 in Europe'sphoto: micheles last francs Central European Time Zone - which is 'CET' for short and not 'POGO' - and known elsewhere as 3 pm to 5 pm in far away worldzones without 24-hour 'Eurotime.'

Michele's collection of France's used-to-be paper money.

The club's secretary will be making some heroic effort to record 'report' notes during the meeting. This will require no slight effort on your part. Note your hometown's name and email address on a used métro ticket for reference if you tend to forget them.

Come with a new 'Quote of the Week' handy or propose your own 'City of the Week' or even bring up any other original 'Things of the Week' if you want to see them mentioned in a 'club report' associated with your name. Otherwise and in general, the only exception is 'no rules.'

Your comments will be treated with respect and honestly appreciated by the other members present, if they happen to be listening - and by all readers of this online magazine, if they happen to read it - if they chance 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: Louvre-Rivoli, 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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Waldo Bini