'Best Friends' Plus One, Minus One

photo: l->r, gloria, eva, linda, tom, maryanne

Today's semi-group from left - Gloria, Eva, Linda,
Tom and Maryanne.

Mid-Level Fog Over the Viaduct

Paris:- Thursday, 9. May 2002:- Today's club meeting takes place on a Thursday as usual, unusually called Ascension, which is the 2nd day of a 'viaduct' weekend that began yesterday, with 'Victory In Europe Day' - which is not called this in all European countries, of course.

Normal long weekends are called 'ponts' - bridges - here, but super-long ones need fancy names, especially since doctors have decided to be on strike until the 'weekend' is over.

I have just learned that the new Président's new government has agreed to their demands forphoto: tom yanul more euros, so doctors have gone golfing instead - or would have if doctors here golfed, if there were enough golf courses. Despite the 35-hour week, there still aren't enough golf courses to go around.

May's calendar looks like a Swiss cheese riddled with long weekends, but this one is the biggest hole of all. For this reason the usual weather 'report' is much more important than the usual forecast. This morning I thought I would have 'good news' for golfers, but tonight's TV-weather news has modified the outlook.

Tom 'Mr. Panoramic' Yanul, from Chicago where he doesn't 'do much.'

No point in saying what it would have been, since it is going to be grizzly. Tomorrow will be a wash-out. Saturday might be nice enough for March. Sunday, the official Jeanne d'Arc Day, will be between Friday and Saturday situations.

Even today is not the forecast one. There is some sort of fog between Paris and blue sky, somewhere above our heads. I imagine there is blue sky up there, because, except for being in the métro, I don't have to turn my headlights on to walk from Châtelet to the club's café, La Corona.

Tom 'Mr. Panoramic' Yanul is the club's first member to arrive at 15:00 and he sits down comfortably, two tables away. Since last week he says he has been 'eating, walking and sleeping,' not necessarily in this order.

The server-lady, Linda Thalman, has been talking to Theodora Steele in the part of the 'grandephoto: theodora steele salle' where she has conversations that are not about the club, before club meetings, and the two of them come over to fill up some of the space between my post and Tom's.

Theodora, who lives near Chinatown, signs the members' booklet, and says goodbye because she doesn't intend to be in this week's group photo of the week, even though she doesn't know such a thing exists.

Theodora Steele signs the members' booklet, without waiting for the week's 'group photo.'

As club secretary my heart is shattered. But a signed-up club member is a bona-fide member. It is not actually necessary to be at club meetings, even a whole first one, to become a member for life.

Linda's big news of the week is that it has only taken her 40 minutes to drive from the Cadillac Ranch out in Essonne to the parking lot around the corner from the club's café. She was on the 'viaduct.'

Theodora, who has not actually left the meeting yet, says she always asks for a seat in row 17 on United flights because this row is right behind the luxo-class partition, and has lots of legroom. She waits until she gets a flight with a free seat in this row.

I had a seat in this row once,photo: linda thalman on a Bounce Airlines flight to Ibiza or Tenerife, and didn't like the wall in front of my nose. It seemed like riding on a roller-coaster backwards.

"What do you do in Chicago?" Linda asks Tom.

"Not much," he replies.

"Where's the wine?" Linda asks me.

Linda wears authentic Moroccan shirt, with backwards text on it.

She is referring for the 'Café Metropole' sparkling wine that members tried out at the meeting in New York just after Christmas. I tell her Allan is either getting the labels printed, sticking them on thousands of bottles, or out buying grapes. This subject does need an update real soon.

Talk at the tables switches without warning to high fashion and most members present - including Eva Lee from Tranquility, New Jersey - all have some poo-poo to say about it, even though nobody has ever seen any except for five-second clips on TV.

Tom says he tried to talk Natalia into getting some stockings with lace-up shoes designed on them. 'Where would I wear them in Chicago?' he says she wanted to know. The rest of us want to know what sort of shoes one should wear with them too.

This meeting's 'City of the Week' is Lakeview in Chicago - where Tom lives - because new members Maryanne Metz is from Chicago too, and she's with Gloriaphoto: eva lee Christison from San Francisco - and these places have all been the 'City of the Week' already.

Lakeview is famous for three things. It is halfway to Oaklawn, it has Chicago's only foreign film cinema - the 'Green Mill' as some think, or the 'Green Door,' as others think - 'on Broadway!' as everybody agrees - and because Al Capone used its back door, to avoid his fans and Elliot Ness.

Eva gives up Traquility, New Jersey, twice a year for exended trips to Paris.
Continued on page 2...
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