Two Real Members Really

photo: group of 2.5, sally, eva, lucky

Sally on the left, Lucky on the right and Eva
'virtually' in the middle.

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Paris:- Thursday, 25. July 2002:- It is still summer. Paris is breaking some sort of record this year. I mean, never before in 2002 has there been so much summer off and on but mostly on. It is almost enough to restore faith in something or other.

Pessimists can watch the TV's weather news and rub their hands with glee at the impending 'mostly cloudy' skies - according to the TV-beamed animated weather-maps - but the rest of us are going outside and finding that summer is holding up much better than predicted. This is a new twist.

But TV's weather must have gotten tired of being the nervous Nellie, because summer weather is actually forecast for the coming weekend. Yessir! It's the big fuzzy-sunballs time. Not 'very-blue' skies, but the yellow yolk part of the fried egg is real enough, on TV at least.

But before I see this tonight, before I get to the club this afternoon, I see stout-hearted fellows playing volley-ball on the beach in front of the Hôtel de Ville, aboutphoto: new paris plage sign where the ice-skating rink is usually located around Christmas time.

Next to it is the smallest golf course in the history of the world. As minuscule as it is, I believe it has four holes, with a 'par' of - I dunno - maybe eight? It doesn't matter because right beside it is the 19th 'hole,' which consists of a bunch of blue parasols and deckchairs with the matching blue comfy zones.

This wildcat sign probably calls for replanting France's autoroutes with palms - or paving untidy beaches.

This is great. If the 50 square-metre course with its four holes is overwhelming, a place to relax from golf-tension is only two metres away. Obviously, given the territory involved, there is no need of golfcarts. This is a truly atmosphere-enhancing feature.

Down on 'Paris Plage,' its popularity seems to be undiminished. After four days of success, Paris' sensation seekers seem to be taking up residence - this is going to be Paris' 'hit of the summer,' it's top-10 'tube d'été.'

According to Le Parisien, beach folks are lingering on the beach much later than expected - past 22:30 at night - to loll around on the sand under the stars, listen to music, or frequent the cafés.

The city has responded to this unforeseen use of beach resources by increasing the night-time security patrols. So far the only mild complaints are coming from café waiters, who have to return to their beach posts at eight in the morning.

As I make my way west along the ex-expressway towards the club the few clouds move out of the way, to give an impression of having a stroll by the seaside, with antique parts of Paris as a background - and they kind of seem to be a mirage, possibly lent to the city by the illusionists at Disneyland-Paris..

Above the beach, on the roadway of the Quai du Louvre, the automobilistas are continuing to needlessly torment themselves as they sit stalled whilephoto: secretarys water all the sun lovers dawdle around crossing to or from the beach.

Many of the café terraces along the Quai du Louvre are well-stocked with terrassians too. La Corona's terrace is so big that it is hard to make it look full, but its inhabitants may be between shifts.

Instead of the secretary's double-café of the day, plain water is served.

As usual, the café's grande salle is nearly deserted. The whole club's space is available for members, with room to spare.

Some of this is quickly filled by member Sally Dilgart from Chicago. She says she hasn't been in Paris long enough to see the beach yet.

In fact, she says, "I just had a very good lunch, at the Grand Colbert. I had a very good bottle of wine," she adds, "That I can still remember." Both of these were owed her because she had to cancel an earlier planned visit to Paris.

Today's first new member arrives shortly afterwards. This is Lucky Checkley, making his 21st visit to Paris. Lucky comes every year to catch the last day of the Tour de France - and this is next Sunday.

Lucky says his hometown is Astoria in New York City's borough of Queens, making it the 'City of the Week.'

Besides being the United States' 'Hollywood' before the orange groves were torn out of California to make room for the western version, I can say I have personally eaten in one of Astoria's Greek restaurants - so I know for a fact it is really real even if winter isn't my favorite time for eating in Greek restaurants.

On Tour de France day in Paris, Lucky stations himself near the Rond Point of the Champs-Elysées early in the morning, and photographs everything interesting until the Tour de France is over for the year. He has four or five odd little 35mm cameras to do this with, and none of them are digital.

He does this mostly for himself and not especially because he is the academic coordinator for the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan. He isn't sure what the title means, but it is what he does.

It is one of the club's expired 'rules' to not know why some things are discussed at club meetings, so besides seeing some big polar bears on TV recently, the question of what Canadians used for getting around beforesnowmobiles were invented, arises.


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