"Heads or Tails?"

photo: group around tables

Today's group, in a rare 'Tables of the Week' photo, with
(not so rare) watery colors.

At the Club, It's a Tossup

Paris:- Thursday, 21. March 2002:- Whatever Monday night's TV-news weather forecast was, it is starting to seem like Paris' monsoon season which is pretty rare because Paris never has monsoons. It must be a rehearsal for Easter weather, when it will get last-gasp wintry - without ever having been any-gasp wintry.

At least it is not raining when I sent off for today's club meeting and I have enough confidence not to wear a cap.

But some loud fellows are having a ruckus at the back of the métro's last wagon, which hangs the whole train up at Montparnasse until the RATP's security guys finally arrive - followed by more security toughies and four armed army paratroopers - and the train waits for this, until it is raining on Rivoli when I get out.

It is not the rain that bothers me. It is not having time to collect my millions in Loto winnings, and getting to the club late, where four new members are patiently twiddling their thumbs while waiting for the club's secretary to arrive.

When I lay out my excuse by blaming the métro hang-up, Kate Parsons immediately wants to know who staged the demo somewhere around the Assembly National yesterday.

If yesterday was Monday, it was dentists. Yesterday, dentists struck in Bordeaux - or wasphoto: soup of cafe it Marseille? I don't know who had the demo of the day in Paris yesterday. It's impossible to keep score. Protest groups are standing in line to have 'demos of the day' in Paris.

It may not look like it, but this café is the 'Soup of the Week' today.

Whenever it was dentists, it was raining - so don't bother thinking they were fooling around at some golf course. They say they haven't had a raise in 20 years, so they can't afford the green fees anymore.

A late start at the club means being slow to get the members' booklet organized for today's half-dozen new members. I explain the 'no rules' questionnaire and the option of 'no names' for members wishing discretion - but as usual, nobody opts for this optional option, which is free.

In the order of the sign-ins, we have new members Kate and Kent Parsons from this week's 'City of the Week,' which is Depoe Bay, Oregon. This is a nice place, I'm told, facing the Pacific Ocean and Japan, which gets 2.3 metres of rain a year.

Besides having a lot of water, Depoe Bay is located on US-101, which provides a slow but scenic way to get to dryer California. It also is possible to take it the other way, to even more water, so there's a variety of choice - from very wet to drenching, rain-forest wet.

The other couple, Pat and Al Enderle, have an unusual artifact with them. It is a 'Livret de Famille' they got from the mayor of Boulogne-Billancourt when they were married in the Mairie there in 1964. Al was inphoto: livret de famille enderle the army at the time, but they lived in Boulogne- Billancourt, and in France you get married where you live - unless you can get an 'exception.'

A 'Livret de Famille' is a family-book, containing marriage information, birth certificates, divorce notices and eventually, one or more death certificates. If you lose one, you become a non-person and cannot even get a goatshed in a bidonville.

An original, mint-condition 1964 model 'Livret de Famille.'

The Enderles now live in Lafayette, Colorado. This is really true - there truly is a Lafayette in Colorado even through there was no Royal Colony of Colorado when Marie-Joesph, the Marquis de Lafayette, was helping mainly British colonialists divest themselves from royal tax-collectors so they could set up their own IRS. It is untrue that Lafayette is the patron saint of 15. April, however.

Anita Bennett arrives, from the Alliance Française, covered in rain that has stuck to her, and at first she is a bit annoyed I can't recall her family name. She reminds me of the kir-royal inspired 'mutiny of the terrace' some weeks ago, and this certainly moves her name to the forefront of the tip of my tongue, but no further.

Fred Faure arrives in his turn, from not-so-distant Montrouge, slightly less covered by rain that doesn't stick as well to his motorcycle helmet or his motorcycle outerwear, but otherwise no less wet. Fred tells everybody he is looking for a job at the club meeting. What an unlikely idea!

Sometimes members ask the club secretary questions and sometimes these become 'Questions of the Week.' This week I am asked, 'why I did I start this club?' by Kent Parsons.

There are several answers to this so I suggest we do a coin-flip to decide which I shall give, and this results in the 'Question of the Week' becoming, "Which side of a euro is heads or tails?"

Al's coin-flip decides this, and becomes the 'first' 'Euro Coin-Flip of the Week.' For those curious about the answer, the side of the euro with 'one' on it is 'heads.' This is also the side of the coin that turns up 'heads.'

In the excitement of this pioneering new club activity the other question is completely forgotten, partly because of the arrival of new members Rhonda Ligon and Bruce Baker, from Richmond Virginia.

Before I get into the discussion I have with Bruce about the swampy nature of Washington - wasphoto: group photo of the week it Lafayette's fault? - was it a con pulled off by the crafty Jefferson? - Anita says that she's seen a food product called Kellogg's 'Mediterranean NutMedley' at a Carrefour hypermarché someplace.

This posed 'Group Photo of the Week' is outclassed by the unposed one at the top of the page.
Continued on page 2...
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