...Continued from page 1

At 17:10, club member Randy Garrett joins the meeting with a wumpf. Right away the 'after' of the meeting starts popping because Randy says he lived on 'L' street in Newport Beach in one of his former lives.

I immediately want to know why some streets and avenues in the United States don't have names, but alphabet letters - like 'L' - instead.

There are no names like this in Paris. The closest thing to it, is when the numbers are being done and a whole building is overlooked - so they come back and give it a number like '33-bis' or '33-ter,' which come after plain old '33,' if you can find them.

Peg, Jim and Randy think I'm crazy not to love streets named 'L.' After pushing this subject back a forth a bit, they admit that Newport Beach's alphabet streets only go up to 'M.' Where 'N,' 'O' and 'P' would be is under salt water, that stretches beyond Hawaii, to China.

Changing the subject, Randy says, "You have to put in a little effort being here."

"Like, for shopping?" Jim wants to know.

Randy, who is not wearing socks to go with his hand-stitched saddle shoes, says, "It's the city of love. You gotta be romantic."

This is not something you automatically get with the brochures from the Paris Tourist Office on the Champs-Elysées. He is right. Being romantic requires being conscious of more than Napoléon's Tomb or the mummies in the Louvre.

Randy gives out shopping tips. "See my pants? 140 francs at Monoprix. I should have got two pairs! I went back, but they were sold out."

Peg likes shopping at Tati. It's even more chancy than Monoprix. You see something once there at an incredibly low price and if you don't buy it on the spot you'll never see it again. Buy dozens because going back is a waste of time.

Randy tells us about his plan to rent the Tour Eiffel - "Only 22,000 francs!" - for the US bi-centenary in 1986 to hold a barbecue party on its first or second floor for 500 entry-paying close friends - he wanted to see it smoking.

While that great idea fell through due to some local political brawl, he was asked later to cook up 250 kilos of barbecue ribs and chickens for Disney's opening in Paris.

He suggested where to set up his cook tent - it was raining of course - but Disney's people wanted him out of sight instead of at the opposite end of the mall-sized parking lot. They told him, 'nobody upstages Mickey.'

Their 'allowed' out-of-sight spot allowed the barbecue smoke to smog all the invites. "I smoked Mickey out!" Randy says gleefully. Do I have to remind anybody that Randyphoto: randy garrett has something to do with 'impromptu' bridge parties on the Pont des Arts on Thursdays at 20:30?

After the 'after' I am out on the Quai du Louvre and notice a truck illegally parked in the street, while the driver hotfoots it to the café for cigarettes.

I have just seen a regular-looking tow-truck parked in front of the café. But this second one, I see, is also a tow-truck - something in the big, sleek, Mercedes' class of them.

Randy Garrett agreed not to 'upstage Mickey.'

It has a beautiful two-tone paint job, some chromed wheels, and a stainless deck big enough to pick up an entire Mercedes 800 SiLK. It is spotless, plus it has a passenger cabin for stranded Mercedes' passengers.

The driver hotfoots it back. Yes, he says, it has a radio, it has air- conditioning - he cleans the whole thing himself, polishes it all over - who ever heard of polishing a wrecker? - with only 50,000 kilometres on it, and it looks brand-new, never used. Never raced. Never ralleyed. Maybe a new-version Edsel of the future.

The Coming Meeting

The next weekly meeting of the Café Metropole Club will be on Thursday, 13. June. This will be a fairly usual 24th Thursday in the year 2002, named for the occasion for Saint-Antoine de Padque. This is not only a 'first' but true as well.

The location details for this meeting are below, followed or preceded by the multiple métro-stop names and all the date and time details, all of which have been identical for years, almost like this paragraph, which is not changed by a word or two this week.

The 'About the Café Metropole Club' Page

To find out how to become a member you may read the page called '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.

'Club rules,' such as they are, suggest that if you feel like giving this 'About' page a pass - do so. All you really need to know is that you can easily become a member of this online magazine's live, free and real club in a jiffy by simply being at a meeting when you are in central Paris on a Thursday.

The 'Coming Meeting' Boilerplate

Meetings of this club in Paris begin at 15:00 on Thursday and continue until 17:00, still on Thursday, in Europe's Central European Time Zone - which is 'CET' for short and not 'BBQ' - and known elsewhere as 3 pm to 5 pm in worldwide zones without 'Metric-Eurotime,' which is now in its metricalor summer version.

The club's secretary will be listening to you at the same time as he is making some 'report' notes duringphoto: pots, glasses the meeting. This is seldom completely successful. Note your name, hometown, and your own email address in the members' booklet in case the secretary forgets to ask you to do it.

The meeting's mystery question - who used all these glasses?

Come with a new 'Quote of the Week' or propose your own 'City of the Week' or dream up any other original or amusing 'Things of the Week' if you want your envious neighbors to read them in a 'club report' associated with your name. 'No-names' is an option you can adopt too. Otherwise and in general, the only exception is 'no rules.'

Things you say may be treated with great respect and may 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

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