'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 extended trips to Paris.

Maryanne and Gloria have arrived at 16:45 and have jumped right into the meeting's conversation, while signing in as members. Gloria says she's marched in many May Day parades in Paris since 1988, because Linda has a photo from last week to show everybody - of insurrectionists on the July Column at Bastille.

The two ladies operate a service called 'Best Friends In Paris' which provides all-inclusive guided trips to Paris for their 'best friends' who, even if they don't know each other before signing on, become 'best friends' while in Paris.

'Best Friends In Paris' doesn't include husbands or boyfriends, because these - like Tom - don't like to go shopping much. It reminds me of Edgar's 'Canadian Farmers On a Rampage,' which could easily become the guys' version - including eating and drinking at the 'Beautiful Cow Show' after seeing the old jalopies at 'Rétromobile.'

Whatever time it is, even though Theodora has gone, we've got to get the 'Group Photo of the Week' - which actually almost looks like the 'Best Friends' club instead, except with Tom in there holding up the guys' end for all of this other type of club member, who are elsewhere this week.

Since nearly everybody has been drinking litres of Perrier, nobody offers to do any Mardi Grasphoto: gloria christison turns for the group photo. On top of it, I forget to use the 'focus-puller' and have to later get Photoshop to 'pull' the photo out of the glare because the idiot camera thought it was mid-afternoon on a very sunny day, inside the café.

Gloria Christison is another fly-in multiple May Day parader.

However, despite these little setbacks, I think we've all become 'best friends.' Maryanne says, "I was in a Paul McCartney look-alike contest once, and I won." At the prize handout, she had to act like she could sing.

Since this is kind of a short report, I will add a leftover quote from Linda, who has said apropos of how times change, "More people live in Essonne than lived in Oregon 30 years ago." She has also told everyone present how not to pronounce 'Oregon' and I immediately mis-pronounce it - so she never does tell us the right way.

And, anyway, it was a long time ago. All I can think of to add is, if all of Oregon's newcomers don't like the rain there, they should move to near the Cadillac Ranch in Essonne. On a 'viaduct' day, it is only a 40-minute drive from Paris.

The Coming Meeting

The very next weekly meeting of the Café Metropole Club will be on Thursday, 16. May. Thisphoto: maryanne metz will be a fairly usual 20th Thursday in the year 2002, fairly soon after France got a new Président with the same name as the last one. Otherwise it will be named for Saint-Honoré - which is also a town named Saint-Honoré-les-Bains, somewhere near Nièvre in the Morvan.

Maryanne Metz first saw Paris on Bastille Day in 1975.

The actual location for this meeting is below, proceeded or followed by all the date and time and multiple métro-stop names, all of which have been identical for years, almost like this paragraph, which actually does change by a word or two nearly every week except this one.

The 'About the Café Metropole Club' Page

You can find out how to become a member by reading 'About the Café Metropole Club.' This page explains nearly everything you should know about this club - next to nothing - and its meetings - only a bit more than next to nothing.

If you feel like giving this 'About' page a pass - there are 'no rules' after all - 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 being at a meeting when you are in Paris, or even if you live here as some members do.

The 'Coming Meeting' Boilerplate

Every meeting of this club in Paris begins at 15:00 on Thursday and continues until 17:00 in Europe's Central European Time Zone - which is 'CET' for short and not 'Zzzz' - and known elsewhere as 3 pm to 5 pm in worldwide zones without metric 24-hour 'Eurotime,' which is now in its 'summer' version.

The club's secretary will be making some heroic effort to make 'report' notes during thephoto: wine, pot & cafe meeting. This will require only that you say something noteworthy. Note your hometown's name and your own email address for reference if you tend to forget them.

Linda's 'pot' gets warm while the secretary's café gets cold.

Think up a new 'Quote of the Week' or propose your own 'City of the Week' or even be prepared to mention any other original 'Things of the Week' if you want envious friends to read them in a 'club report' associated with your name. 'No-names' is an option you can elect too. Otherwise and in general, the only exception is 'no rules.'

Some of the things you say may be treated with great consideration and be really appreciated by the other members present, if they hear them - and by all readers of this online magazine, if they read them - if they turn out 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.
Every Thursday from 15:00 to 17:00.

A bientôt à Paris
signature, regards, ric

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