Member Forgets His Tab

photo: la corona terrace, monsieur ferrat

Mr. Ferrat makes sure La Corona's customers will get speedy service, quickly.

Go, Go, 'Magic Johnson!'

Paris:- Thursday, 20. June 2002:- After last weekend's surprisingly hot and short heatwave, and after last night's storms, I don't care much about the weather today just so long as it isn't either of these two extremes. And it's not.

It is just garden-variety, plain old, Paris blah, weather. But tomorrow, for the Fête de la Musique, it is supposed to be nearly fine. Not too sunny, and not hotter than 25 degrees. For once we won't have to wear arctic undies for a major outside event in June.

I could quit the mid-week weather report right here, but since I'm into it, I may as well include the prediction for the weekend as well.

This includes more mostly clear weather, with rising temperatures. Well, rising two degrees, then falling one degree on Sunday, before going into the cellar on Monday.

To be frank I don't know if any of this is really true. I went out of the room for a minute and when I camephoto: neil trembley back TV's France-2 political news guys were talking to Bernard Thibault, to find out if the CGT is planning any general strikes like Spain has been having today.

Neil Trembley walked 'miles' to pay for his forgotten Coke.

He is the only fellow in French political life who still sports a 1970's model haircut, and he said the CGT wasn't actively planning any general strikes for France, even though there hasn't been one for a long time.

But, he said, the conditions that caused the one in Spain today, exist in France too. Mr. Thibault's appearance was followed by the traffic report for all of France - no 'bouchons' in sight - so they must have slipped in the weather forecast between the commercials for cheese, or skipped it entirely.

Any country with 450 kinds of cheese has to have a lot of commercials for them on TV. Like some countries have hundreds of headache or stomach upset remedies to advertise, France has cheese instead. Endless video-clips of happy sheep, goats and cows - can tell you a lot about the geo-political stance of a country.

Nothing happens on the way to the club today in the métro, except for me not getting a good look at an underground billboard advertisement for something like, I think, big blond ladies having more fun in London on weekends especially if they go there via the Eurostar métro that leaves frequently from the Gare du Nord.

If you want to see the ones for Paris, you have to look for them in London's underground. I wonder if they say nobody needs to bother looking for big blonds In Paris because they're on their way to London.

I find one of the club's 'Waiters of the Week,' Monsieur Ferrat, keeping an eye on the activity on La Corona's two terraces when I arrive. He tells me both of them were full earlier. It's like, people see me coming and they buzz off, so I'll think nothing is going on.

The 'Surprise of the Week' is picking up a letter addressed to the club's secretary at the bar in the café. I wonder if there might be a cheque inside it - why not? - so I save it to open in the privacy of the club's area in the 'grande salle.'

There are the usual civilians sittingphoto: drinks nearly in the club's area, so I sneak a look at the contents carefully. These are enclosed in a card that says 'Wheel of Fortune' on it. Right away I know there will be no cheque.

Some of the 'Drinks of the Week' we almost forgot to order.

What we have are photos of the club meetings on 2. and 9. May, plus some photos of wine bottles at the Foire de Paris, and one particularly compromising one of some club members in a good mood at the restaurant, 'Vin des Rues.'

These are the work of club member Eva Lee from Tranquility, New Jersey. Thank you, Eva! Too bad the one taken in the Vin des Rues includes the guy who says he is not one of Her Majesty's secret agents, and who is not a club member either.

With the 'surprise' taken care of, with the meeting's administrative details entered into the club's booklets, I set out to memorize all of the 51 pages of details I have brought about tomorrow's Fête de la Musique so I can put some last minute tips here.

But as fate would have it, I am no further than the events for the 2nd arrondissement when club member number 248 Neil Trembley arrives from Minneapolis, which is in Minnesota. Neil joined the club 53 weeks ago and here he is, back again already.

Neil tells me he took a 'day off' from Paris yesterday. Normally, he says, he tries to make every day of a short visit count, and winds up overloaded - so he spent yesterday planted in the Luxembourg garden, reading Ernest Hemingway's 'The Sun Also Rises.'

He wonders why he doesn't think it is such a great book. He wonders if we don't think differently now - compared to, say, how people used to think before there were media things like radio and TV.

"Hullo," says David Winter. When David adds that he is from East Lansing, Michigan, Neil reminds us all of the song, "I wish again I was in Michigan." I need a little reminding, because this is the first I've ever heard of it.

Except for the photos with the club members of ladies, we are only guys at the club today, so naturally we talk about modern art. David says he is trying to 'stretch his mind' in order to appreciate it, before saying that simply being in Paris makes him ill, with some sort of 'virus.'

All the same he has bought an apartment in the 15th, where he does some cooking and piano playing between studying a bit of French literature.

Neil says he has trouble breathing after going through a few rooms full of modern all-black paintings. He isphoto: david winter also annoyed that most of Pablo Picasso's girlfriends are cubic. He does not say so, but I think he wishes Picasso stayed in the 19th century where he started out.

David Winter is reading his way through French literature, slowly.

"There were ugly parts to the 19th century too," he says, specifically mentioning the Paris Commune. I think most past centuries had 'ugly parts,' but we keep on the 'art' line and David's painting of Napoléon plopping the crown on Josephine's head in Notre-Dame comes up as an example of - as an example of a big painting.

David says notables at the time paid David - David the painter, not our David the club member - to include them in the painting.

This reminds me that we have been having this serious discussion for hours and it is long past café time. Luckily the 'Waiter of the Week' materializes at exactly this moment and takes the order for one Coke, one Perrier and one double-café and delivers all three one moment later.

David, who was a professor of mathematics in his former life before cooking in Paris, isn't sure if Oldsmobiles are still made in East Lansing, Lansing, or even in the United States, or at all.

We are all silent as we remember the 1955 'Rocket' 88. It is possible that the only place in the world where one of these might be found is in Havana, or maybe, Western Australia.

Then Neil remembers that he must be elsewhere and takes himself off. Since it is after- hours club-time-wise, David and I look for the bill. Seeing none, I ask the 'Waiter of the Week' for it.

When it comes, David and I look at Neil's empty Coke glass. There is no money on the table. There is no money on the floor either. So we split the price of the Coke and leave a pile of euros on the table.

David says goodbye and goes out the café's front door. I go out and look over the terrace and then go back to have a run through the waterworks downstairs. Before I get there, Neil comes charging in, saying he got all the way to the Place Dauphine before remembering he might have stiffed us for the Coke.

Since splitting the price of it with David was so taxing mathematically, I suggest Neil can make it up at the nextphoto: cafe meeting he attends. But he insists on paying, so we split it again. David - if you read this, I owe you about a third of a Coke.

Then, on the way to the waterworks again, La Corona's owner, Monsieur Naudan, decides to tell me he has an apartment for rent in the 6th. Gasp! Can this be true?

The 'Drink of Almost Every Week,' is always a double-café.

Oh yes. The problem is he doesn't want to rent it for a long term - no more than four years. This is actually okay with me.

The other problem is the cost of the service charges for the marble entry, the elevator and the concierge and the garage, the water and heat, and for the maid to dust its 110 square metres. But the truly insurmountable problem is the rent for it. Except for this, I could handle the other problems, if I didn't tip the maid.

And I forgot - the 'City of the Week' is East Lansing, MI. Go, go 'Magic Johnson!'

The Coming Meeting

The next weekly meeting of the Café Metropole Club will be on Thursday, 27. June. This will be a perfectly normal 26th Thursday in the year 2002 - except for it being the last one in the first half of this year - named for the occasion, for Saint-Fernand. I am pretty sure this saint is not a 'first.'

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 has not changed by even a hyphen this week.

The 'About the Café Metropole Club' Page

To learn 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 - which is next to nothing - and its meetings - only a bit more than 'not much.'

'Club rules,' such as they are, suggest that if you feel like giving this 'About' page a pass - be my guest. All you really need to know is that you can become a member of this online magazine's live, free and real club in a second by simply being at a meeting when you are at one.

The 'Coming Meeting' Standard Details

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

The club's secretary will be listening to you at the same time as he is concocting some 'report' notes during the meeting. Note your name, hometown, and your own email address in the members' booklet in case the secretary forgets to ask you to do it.

Absentee member attends meeting with surprise letter for the club secretary.

Come with a new 'Quote of the Week' or propose your own 'City of the Week' - the secretary can't do this - or dream up any other original or amusing 'Things of the Week.' 'No-names' is an option you can adopt too if everything is really silly. 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 there are any - 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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