"It's a Virtual-Reality Club,"

photo: group, tim, kat, kathy, bill, kyle, richard, anne, kelly

Most of today's eight new members actually signed
the members' booklet.

In Case You Were Wondering

Paris:- Thursday, 27. June 2002:- We have been having pretty good weather here since the Fête de la Musique last Friday and it is pretty good today too, but it is getting cooler - as if, if there's too much of a difference between Paris and Dublin, decent warmth in Paris is unfair to Dublin.

If I lived in Dublin, I would say it is unfair. I would suggest that Dublin should have decent Paris' temperatures, and if Parisians fried, well, it's better than wearing winter woollies all summer as well as all year.

Why Dublin? On the evening TV-weather news, if they bother showing temperatures outside of France, Dublin always seems to be two degrees cooler than the western tip of Brittany, which never gets higher than 18. Of course, if you like the smell of soggy peat burning all year round, then Dublin is perfect.

The near-term outlook for Paris isn't great. You can expect mostly sunny skies, except for the cloudyphoto: kelly almost asleep periods, and temperatures will be gradually drifting down to about 21 degrees, by tomorrow. For the people who are happy enough with this, you'll like it if you are one of them.

Between bikes and cards, Kelly needs a nap. Another club 'first.'

Before it gets this drastic, on the way to the club meeting I continue taking the photos I began yesterday. These are going to make you think, if you see the coming issue of this magazine, that Paris is in one of the nice-weather parts of the Riviera. Meanwhile, grumpy weather is predicted for down there tomorrow, so these Paris photos aren't going to be totally misleading.

Both yesterday and today I have seen a lot of shoppers on the Rue de Rivoli. TV-news has said the quickest buyers get the best stuff. I should say this is true because I've gotten good stuff in the past without even being snappiest.

The only thing wrong with most of it is I always get one size too large and I never grow into it and it never shrinks. I'll tell you though, by not wearing any of it much, it sure lasts a long time and was certainly worth every franc I paid for it.

When I arrive at the café La Corona the grande salle is deserted, even more than it has been lately. Not even the 'waiter of the week' is in it. Luckily I have picked up a copy of a special edition of 'A Nous Paris,' called 'A Nous Londres.' It has a fried egg on the cover, with the headline, 'Sunny London!' right on the yolk.

photo: paris map on palmThis special edition has been produced by the Eurostar line of the Paris métro, which I suppose you know is an extension of the line four, with its endstation in London. personally, I would switch to another line before going that far.

Tim's Palm III not showing the map for the photo.

A couple of ladies out on the terrace are showing 'Paris souvenir' t-shirts to their husbands, who do not look too grumpy because they are sitting out the 'battle of the soldes' on La Corona's terrace.

I do not note the time when the 'waiter of the week' leads Kathy Neider and seven other people all at once - to the club's area, and dumps them on me.

Golly! This makes eight hands to shake, eight names to learn, and eight club sign-ins to get organized. I am usually ready, but not this ready.

However, disaster is averted by about half of the new club members who note how dim and deserted the café is while noting at the same time that the terrace is nearly as deserted, and they pop out there even though I say it is noisy. It is also, I've got to admit, sunny though.

The half who remain inside are Kelly Allen, Kat Allen, Tim Allen and Kathy Neider, who has a different last name so all the similar first names, except Tim's, don't confuse - me.

According to the way the members' booklet is filled in, Anne Watson also belongs to the group from Louisville, Kentucky, while Tim who has done most of the 'filling-in,' doesn't seem to be included.

To avoid further confusion, I declare that Louisville - home of the Kentucky Derby - is the 'City of the Week' while Kathy explains to Kelly, Kat and Tim what a great honor this is. They have never heard of the Café Metropole Club before either.

"It's a virtual-reality club," Kathy explains. While I attempt to explain what this really means, Kelly begins to fall asleep while Kat says she wants something to eat that has nothing in it, except maybe, chicken.

This could be easily arranged if there were a 'waiter of the week' around, but he isn't. Tim tells mephoto: bigger than demi they rode all over Paris the night before with Mike's Bikes. "We saw more things than could be seen any other way," he says. Kelly is now asleep.

Tim says she is tired from playing cards all night after the tour on bikes. Then he gets out his handy Palm III and shows me where their hotel is located. This isn't as easy as it sounds, because the light is bit dim, and he thinks the hotel is in the middle of the Seine - maybe on the Pont des Arts.

Unlike a close-up of a 'demi,' this is a regular photo of a 'formidable.'

Menus arrive and Kelly wakes up long enough to order a sandwich with everything, Kat one with nothing - except maybe, chicken - and Kathy gets the first croque monsieur she's ever had in her life.

Since she has told me she is a doctor, I tell her another doctor member introduced the notion of deep-fried Mars bars to the club. "Why would you want to deep-fry a Mars bar?" she asks.

Tim says maps of Paris for handheld computers like Palm IIIs can be downloaded from www.ismap.com and I can see it is very handy, so long as there's enough light to see it. I wonder how they get things like maps in these little things.

When I glance over to see if anybody has fallen asleep while eating sandwiches, I'm surprised to see that full plates of frites have been delivered too. Then the surprise is double, because I see ketchup too. I don't remember ever seeing it in the club's café before.

Which reminds me that Tim has confidentially asked me what a 'demi' is. It isn't possible to get thisphoto: focus puller, demi tim explained by saying it is 'French logic,' because a quarter-litre glass of tap beer is called a 'demi' because it is half of a half-litre.

I am glad when he somehow orders the big glasses for Kathy and himself without me telling him they are called 'formidables,' because I have no idea why they are called this.

'Semi-good' of the focus-puller, but only 'semi-semi' of the subject, Tim.

Then Tim is telling me about the acrobatics he has been going through in order to send digital photos from a Paris cybercafé to his home email address, and how it got 'full-up' before he figured out how to put them in 'zip' files and send them to all of his close friends because his mailbox was full.

He also shows me a CD-ROM disc without getting to tell me what it is. Partly because of this I haul out the old and slightly tattered 'focus- puller' and start waving it around and taking lots of photos of it instead of club members.

Then Kyle - oops! I can't make out her last name - comes in from the terrace to say the dissident half of the club members have seen more than enough little French cars and double-decker sightseeing buses passing by, and feel like shoving off.

This means it is 'Group Photo of the Week' time. We 'insiders' barge out on to the terrace. Everybody lines up nicely and holds still for the couple of minutes it takes, and Tim makes a diagram on the back of a beer coaster with all the names in order - so everybody is ID'd even though there are too many names to fit into the caption space beneath the photo.

If it is any help, Bill, who is wearing sunglasses and sits fourth from the right, says "Nothing can go wrong with my doctor - Kathy - on my right and my lawyer - Kyle - on my left."

Anne, who is sitting about fourth from the right, just in front of Kyle, says she is going to be everybody's analyst when she finishes her studies. Richard, who is standing behind and is a photographer in London, says the Eurostar is overpriced because British Airways thought up its fare structure, based on how to make money running an airline that competes with Eurostar.

I don't remember to tell him Eurostar is giving away free fried eggs in Paris today.

The Coming Meeting

The next weekly meeting of the Café Metropole Club will be on Thursday, 4. July. This will be a perfectlyphoto: kat, kathy normal 27th Thursday in the year 2002 - except for it being the first one in the second half of this year - named for the occasion, for Saint-Florent.

Kat, on the left, wanted nothing but chicken in her sandwich. Kathy didn't want to say a lot about Kat's slightly green hair.

There are at least three place names in France that begin with 'Saint-Florent,' so I'm not sure which of these 'saints' the day is named after. If I say any one will do, I have no doubt I will be put straight quickly.

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 comma 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 used to be, suggest that if you feel like giving this 'About' page a pass - do so. 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.

An added benefit of attending a meeting is to learn the difference between 'virtual' and 'reality.' The latter is a club meeting and the former is what the secretary does at them.

The 'Coming Meeting' Standard Details

Meetings of this club in Paris begin no sooner than 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 'PIF' - and known elsewhere as 3 pm to 5 pm in worldwide zones without 'Euro Metrictime,' 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' notesphoto: frites of the week during the meeting. Please note your name, hometown, and your own email address in the members' booklet in case the secretary forgets to ask you to do it.

On the plate, before they got cold - frites. Behind - empty ketchup squeegee things.

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 'Things of the Week.' 'No-names' is an option you can adopt too if everything if you want to be 'not found.' 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 are any are listening - 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.
Metropole Midi © 2014
– unless stated otherwise.
logo, metropole sml midi logo No matter how good it tastes,
there is no such thing
as a free lunch.
Waldo Bini