"You Need To Speak Antarctican!"

photo: group, poobear, alice gray, lulubelle, linda

Small members Poobear and Lulubelle, big members
Alice Gray and Linda.

"If You Go To Antarctica"

Paris:- Thursday, 22. August 2002:- I don't remember exactly if I tooted the horn for Paris' two 'heatwaves of the summer' in Monday's regular edition. If I did, all I want to add is that they were probably the only heatwaves we will see this summer - the whole five days of them.

Here we are again with the Azores High failing to hold up its end of the weather scheme, and all of these nasty Greenland lows having their usual romp of coming across France like a windshield wiper, pushing the water at us.

Well, not so exactly. The clouds slide across Paris' sky with patches of blue sky showing between them and then they bunch up against the Alps, and dump on Alsace.

This is, according to tonight's TV-news weather forecast, the prediction for the next few days. It might - mind you, only 'might' - even get a degree or two warmer, maybe getting as high as 23 or 24 by the weekend. How sweet it will be!

Even though 'summer' is considered to be officially over - being past the 15th of August - it seems as if a lot of people are not here. The wide sidewalks of the avenue have more tired and brittle leaves - small ones - lying on them than people walking on them.

While the summer sales are over downtown around Châtelet, the department storesphoto: alice gray, poobear, lulubelle are having their traditional August sales of household gear - like bedclothing and towels - so there is still life on the Rue de Rivoli.

But when I get over by the Seine, last week's big crowds along the quays are gone. 'Paris Plage' closed its beach tents on Sunday for the year, and has given back the speedway to the drivers - and this is not a spectator attraction.

Alice Gray's Chihuahuas were only pesky for the camera.

Still, the cafés along the Quai du Louvre do have pretty full terraces. I guess it means things are back to normal - 'normal' for the last two weeks of August, when it seems to be winding-down time.

Because of an urgent phone call from Northampton about the bullfight situation in France, I have left ed's office late with used métro tickets - these don't work twice - and without my nearly customary back-up material for passing the time of a club meeting without members.

The 'Waiter of the Week' has the club's area in the café La Corona barricaded with two chairs. When I try to remove them I get a strong reprimand - they are there to protect the club from gate-crashers, he tells me.

Me, I try to tell him, the club's official secretary, that the club hardly needs to worry about this - there is nobody else in the whole 'grande salle' except two civilian customers who want to sit in the club's no-smoking area of the café, even though there is nobody else in the rest of the 'grande salle,' smoking or not.

Luckily I find some scraps of paper in my official ed's bag, and pass an hour writing notes for money-making schemes. If I ever put all of these together they would make a book, thus becoming a 'money-making scheme' themselves. But I forget to write this down too.

At precisely 16:05, just when I am thinking my schemes are worth the paper they are written on, Alice Gray Gregory arrives, being pulled into the 'grande salle' by two semi-hefty Chihuahuas, named Poobear and Lulubelle. After Alice Gray is numbered member 393, brother Poobear gets number 394 and sister Lulubelle gets 394.

The dogs, who are only supposed to weigh 'not more than four pounds,' have come to Paris from Charleston, South Carolina after Alice Gray decided not to take them to live in Cambodia.

Linda Thalman, the server-lady, arrives on their miniature heels, with a huge department store bagphoto: ed's cafe containing a genuine chrome-plated combination toilet-paper roll and brush apparatus. "Twenty percent cheaper at Samaritaine than at BHV!" she says, in a huge mood.

Last week's café was worth waiting a week for.

Alice Gray has lived in Paris for a few months and wants to know if the club has lots of southern members. "I am looking for displaced Southerners who know - or who want to know how - to shag."

I can't immediately say whether Charleston is eligible to be the 'City of the Week' because I think I remember member Ike Payne saying something about it at the meeting on 7. March, but Albuquerque was the winner that week.

While I'm wracking my memory - it's a short 'wrack' - Linda is learning that 'shag' is a South Carolina variant of 'jitterbug' that is very popular in Charleston. Somebody recently accused me of 'jitterbugging' while trying to dance to the music of the Buena Vista Social Club.

If I was indeed doing this, I can assure everybody I probably wasn't doing the Charleston version and while I am at it, I want to apologize to some good old-time musicians from Cuba for being so mixed up.

Then we are discussing how to 'get along' in France by being able to say at least 20 words in French, especially when you are in France. Linda, a former language teacher, says, "If you go to Antarctica, you need to speak Antarctican!"


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