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 it did for Clint Eastwood - make him famous enough to get a job in spaghetti westerns, which did make him famous forever.

Commenting on what an extended stay in Paris can do to a person, Roberta says she eats and drinks things here that she never did in the United States. "Like at McDonald's and big Cokes."

It doesn't occur to me to suggest that La Corona can make a really big Coke with about a kilo of ice in it, so she just has a little one that has maybe one lonely cube in it. The club's secretary is really unalert at times.

Dinny has been noticing that the city is sneakily robbing the streets of parking spaces, by expanding sidewalks and planting more trees in them. She thinks, if she is going to rent a car in the future, it will be a miniature Smart instead of a huge Mercedes.

The members claim they have noticed that all the public buskers seem to have disappeared, while the number of professional-looking paratroopers patrolling the métro's platforms and corridors has increased.

At 'Group Photo of the Week' time the nameless member bolts down the Quai du Louvre whenphoto: paying the bill I thoughtlessly use her direction to lock the camera's focus. The remaining members eventually hear me - over the traffic noise - tell them to do some 'samba thing' as a pose, and they almost do it.

A moderately heavy 'addition' tilts the camera in the café's grande salle.

Without me noticing it particularly, Roberta and her companions pay their bills and leave, and Dinny is taking care of hers when charter-member Annie Salmona arrives, just after five.

While passing the café to get a Yves Montand poster at the Hôtel de Ville, she happened to remember that it is Thursday and she was passing the club's very own café with the club's secretary actually still in it, so she pops in.

Annie is from Milwaukee and is in Paris on family business, which has made her slightly forgetful about the club which she joined on Thursday, 25. November 1999. She has been at other meetings since then too.

We do a short catch-up because all of us have other destinations today, so club overtime is kept to a minimum which will not strain its 35-hour weekly limit. It is nice to see Annie again, as sort of a meeting bonus.

On the métro riding back to Montparnasse, I hear buskers playing accordions and trumpets in trains going the other way. I don't see any paratroopers on the platforms. Maybe neither are where you expect them, or the other way around.

The Coming Meeting

The next weekly meeting of the Café Metropole Club will be on Thursday, 25. July. This will be after the Bastille Day weekend, so the weather might improve. This will be a perfectly normal 30th Thursday in the year 2002 - named for the occasion, for one of the Saint-Jacques.

The paragraph which is usually here and never changes, is suspended this week.

The 'About the Café Metropole Club' Page

To find out how to become a member you can read the page called 'About the Café Metropole Club.' But if you are reading this 'report' of today's club meeting, maybe you needn't need to bother.

'Club rules,' and there used to be some real insignificant ones for a couple of weeks, suggest that if you feel like giving this 'About' page a pass - do so, as I've already suggested. 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 wink by simply being at a meeting when you are at one.

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 'BAT' - and known elsewhere as 3 pm to 5 pm in worldwide areas without 'Euro Metricotime,' which now seems to be in its nominal summer version.

The club's secretary will be listening to what you may say at the same time as he may be concocting some 'report' notes, whichphoto: glasses might be completely different. Please note your name, hometown, and your own email address in the members' booklet. The club's secretary is perfectly capable of forgetting to ask you to do it.

Dinny's 'starter' collection of drinkwares.

Come with a new 'Quote of the Week' or propose your hometown as '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 opt for too if you prefer to be 'not found' on the Internet. Otherwise and in general, the only exception is 'no rules.'

Anything you say may be treated with great respect and will be truly appreciated by the other members present, if there are any and they are listening - and by all readers of this online magazine, if they read them - if they turn out to be written here. Anything is possible.

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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