The 'No Rules' Rule Kicks In

photo: group, dinny, patrick, roberta

Today's jolly mini-group photo lacks two members.

For the Unnamed New Member of the Week

Paris:- Thursday, 18. July 2002:- If you live on a low floor here you can live in a lot of shadow most the time and if the street where you live has the wrong angle it can be all the time.

On top of this I was recently told there used to be a 'window-tax.' It was higher for bigger windows, so windows tended to be small and few, like mine. But I'm so low down I can't see the sky anyway.

To see it, I go out by way of the courtyard and this allows me to look straight up. Today looks good because everything up there looks blue. Then I go through a short covered driveway to the street, and outside the iron and glass door it is busily being summer and there is lots of light all over the place, producing today's first thrill.

It - the weather - has been getting better since it was plenty good enough last Sunday evening for everybody in the hundreds of thousands to go to the Tour Eiffel for the Bastille Day light and sound show, written especially for the occasion by Victor Hugo.

This famous person's name has appeared in this magazine 329 times already this year, so I think I'll just skip along to what passes for weather predictions for the coming few days.

Today has been warm enough at about 25 degrees and this is forecast for tomorrow too, andphoto: paris plage Saturday will be about the same with clouds coming from the west. Sunday looks worse and the temperatures will be headed for the danger sub-zone of 20, which is below 70 in other parts of the world.

'Paris Plage' today, before the finishing touches are added. To open next Sunday, with sand.

This is thoroughly predictable because it will be the day that 'Paris Plage' opens. I have written about this before - in past years as well as this one - and you might think this is just my little joke, because I'm always moaning about the climate.

But, no. Last year, in a fit of enthusiasm, the city closed the Seine-side expressways - a week or two early, and drivers kicked up a big fuss because they couldn't speed around town with wild abandon.

The Hôtel de Ville recognized its mistake, and has waited this year until the most rabid of motorists are finally gone for good to have their traffic jams elsewhere.

Last Monday, when it was quite dark and late at night, really heavy equipment moved onto the Seine's right-bank speedway and began to install a beach, with tons of sand, lots of borrowed palm trees, and everything else necessary to make Parisians think the summer's seaside has moved into town.

This 'Paris Plage' will be open from next Sunday until Sunday, 18. August, and it will not have any part-time cars on it. It will be a full-time beach. If it wasn't expected to be about 20 degrees for the debut, I suggest bringing suntan lotion.

But on the way to the club today, I have to admit the beach is not much in evidence Where are the big palms Le Parisien has in its photos?

The one in Wednesday's paper is admittedly taken from a low angle to make the nearest palm look bigger, but I don't know why they apparently printed the negative of it instead of the positive.

At the Café La Corona, Monsieur Ferrat says business is average, and there is no 'monde' waiting for me in the grande salle. In other words, the café's business is better than the club's - but it is only 15:00.

"First time I've ever been at the beginning of a meeting," member Dinny Moyer says 90 seconds later.

She is so pleased with her achievement that she orders a pot of rosé, some ice cubes, some water, and a half-dozen empty glasses of different sizes. I deduce that she might be thirsty.

Dinny and I talk about 'life in Europe' which includes the subjects of mosquitos, and the island of Bornholm inphoto: corona terrace the Baltic. She is unaware that there are anti-bug machines which actually work and that Bornholm has a microclimate which makes it kind of paradisiacal.

I know these few words don't quite include everything we discuss in the 40 minutes that pass until member Roberta Morris arrives with new member Patrick Worsham and the 'unnamed new member of the week.'

Ah, um, Paris in the summer, when it is summer-like.

First, Roberta is a bit annoyed with me because I ask her to remind me of her name. "I was here a couple of months ago," she says. 'Find' tells me later the last club meeting she attended was on Thursday, 19. July 2001. Roberta also says she has been in Paris for, "One year, two months and two weeks."

Patrick Worsham and the 'no-name new member of the week' are both from Dallas, Texas, like Roberta. But Patrick says he grew up mostly in Abilene, Texas. This is good enough for the 'City of the Week,' mainly because there are no other candidates.

Patrick tells me there are still cows and cowboys there - which could be a good thing if TV could afford to make westerns instead of cheapo game shows. TV can't remember or doesn't care what itdid for Clint Eastwood - make him famous enough to get a job in spaghetti westerns, which did make him famous forever.

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