Resigned From Weather

photo: cafe du marche, buci

In the Sunday shadows of Saint-Germain.

The Real Score Is Zero

by Ric Erickson

Paris:- Monday, 2. September 2002:- If you want to know the truth, I am tired of writing about the weather and not doing anything about it. Never in my worst nightmares did I ever think I would grow up and start writing weather predictions - and now I'm wondering where my head's been while I've been doing exactly this.

This has not been because of colossal nerve. I simply forgot that I wasn't meant to do it. Actually, the real weather people will freely admit that your average weather is nothing but pure chaos.

They will make this admission if you ask them straight out, 'what's the weather going to be like 90 minutes from now?' They'll say, "Beats me."

Being a professional weather person must be one of the few highly technical jobs in the world thatphoto: sign, paris respire allows being wrong 50 percent of the time. Imagine the weather person's spouse asking, "How was work today, Cuddles?"

And 'Cuddles' replies, "It was pretty good - I was 50 percent right today. I was 50 percent wrong yesterday, so if you average the two days - I'm on top of it 100 percent!"

Now that I've had my confession and resigned from this job, I may as well tell you what today's Le Parisien thinks the weather will be like here next Friday. Newspapers can take chances like this because nobody is going to see it except next Thursday's fish that'll be wrapped in it.

For Paris next Friday, there is no weather prediction at all. Just north of the city there might be temperatures in the range of 16 to 20. Just east of the city, there is one lonely grey cloud, leaking lines to the southwest. The text underneath the map says, 'Today's stars, like yesterday's, will be rain and 'averses.'

'Averses' is a codeword for 'bring your umbrella.' Le Parisien's weather person tries hard though. The headline for Thursday's weather map is, 'Une Histoire d'Eau.'

Café Life

Nothing Before Dawn

Several people have tried to cheer me up with my search for new lodgings by telling me that before any are found, there appear to be none.

Unlike 'the light before dawn' that announces its arrival, no 'signs' are not the same as rumors. Rumors could be likened to 'false dawn' - a trick your brain sends to the back of your eyeballs telling you dawn is on the way because wolves are circling.

While I don't expect any wolves, this business I have of not having a place to live until I have a 'place to live' is long past beginning to make me uneasy.

There are definitely other drawbacks to it as well.

Take right now for example. I could easily write 2000 words, even with leaving many details out, about last week's search for an apartment.

Although all of it would be about Paris, looking for lodging in any part of the world is pretty much the same. One aspect of it that really is the same - it is not funny, there is nothing humorous about it.

Oh, maybe the 'acting' is a bit amusing. You trudge along to some advertised place and when you get there it looks like it is a seedy reception hall of a cemetery. The real estate person shows you some tiny and dirty yellow rooms, and when you ask about the hole in the wall of the kitchen, they don't know it is for keeping fresh food cool - in winter.

Meanwhile you act as if the whole shambles is a palace, superbly fit and spiffy enough for a Texas oil millionaire, even though there isn't a garage big enough for a bicycle, space for a toothbrush or a light socket in the place.

While you grin like an idiot out of filthy windows facing a dim airshaft full of drizzle, you realize the agent is not really showing off the place's few good points because you are the 25th person making an inspection within 45 minutes.

There is no apology for the state of the place nor any mention that it will be fixed up to justify thephoto: pont des arts, sunday high rent - because any 10 of the previous candidates will snap the wreck up no matter how lousy it is.

The Pont des Arts - good enough for a Sunday evening stroll or picnic.

This is, of course, if they can meet the 'means test.' The way things are, I think it can be counted on that at least three of the 25 potential tenants are senior life-time employees of the Finance Ministry, and their uncles own fancy redecorating shops in the good end of the Rue Saint-Honoré.

Luckily, the 'acting' need not last longer than five minutes.

Now there are less than 1600 words left to go, to describe the other wonders I have seen in the past week. If I wasn't really looking, and was only dabbling in this for a bit of investigative journalism, I would take all of it a lot more easily and lightly.

There have been some incredible, good surprises along the way. Even though they haven't worked out, the thoughts behind them do count.

To get this over with, all the apartments already seen and not taken - or gotten - are past history. The score right now it one 'possible,' one 'remotely possible,' and two complete wild cards. This is not including tomorrow's ads. Tomorrow is a new day. Another one.

But right now, the real score is zero. This means 'Metropole Paris' will continue to be less than usual - for the duration. Thank you for all of the encouraging emails!

Café Metropole Club 'Updates'

I can't conceive of why you might have been somewhat tardy about reading news of last Thursday's club meeting 'report,' but I assume you have your justifiable reasons.

No matter what they are, before doing anything else, you can catch up with your club's 'news' right now by hitting this link to the "Don't Forget Napoléon!" report.

The coming meeting of the Café Metropole Club will be on Thursday, 5. September. The club's 'Saint's Day of the Week' next Thursday is Saint(e)-Raïssa. The club's secretary intends to be at this meeting, even if this 'Saint' is a lady or not.

Readers who want to become real club members can gloss over the meager details concerning this freephoto: quai du louvre, sunday club in eleven seconds by reading the large-sized Helvetica-type fine-print on the 'About the Club' page and maybe picking the virtual membership card right off the screen.

The Quai du Louvre - with a rare gap in traffic.

Joining the club - your club! - is almost as easy. Do it by being here! Remember that reports about meetings are supposed go online right after them, right after I finish writing them, slowly. This actually happens every week, so you can read them in this magazine, which is online too.

Save 'Metropole Paris' as one of your favorite bookmarks to avoid mistyping its outrageously-long name every time you feel like reading a club report, or a regular edition like this one.

Metropole's Affiliates

The following product or service providers have chosen Metropole because their offers may be of value to you and I agree with them.

'Bookings' has extended their reservation service for a wide selection of Paris hotels. Check out their wider offers and make your choice long before your arrival in France. Try this one. Other Metropole readers have.

'HighwayToHealth' provides a 'city health profile' for Paris as wellphoto: cafe danton, odeon as travel insurance. If you have signed up for these services before you need them suddenly, you will benefit from them. I hope won't be the case, but 'Things Happen.'

One of the many cafés near the métro Odéon.

'Petanque America' exports quality Obut boules from France and will ship them to you anywhere in the Americas - which will save you the effort of carrying them all the way from Paris. Be the first on your block to introduce the game of pétanque - or boules. Everybody can play this game, nearly anywhere - such as on any vacant lot covered with suitable dirt.

This Was Metropole One Year Ago:

Issue 6.36 - 3. Sept 2001 - This issue began with the Café Metropole column's 'My Holiday Postcard.' The 'Au Bistro' column mentioned 'Paris Buses Get Own Way.' This issue had one feature titled 'Looking for Clichy, Imagining Batignolles.' There was an update for the Café Metropole Club meeting on 6. September, called the 'Firsts Overload' report. The week's 'Scene' column asked, 'Are You Ready For the Rentrée?' The usual four 'Posters of the Week' were on view and Ric's Cartoon of the Weekphoto: sign, rue de l'echaude had the caption of 'Postcard from Dimitri.' This was featured again during the summer, prompted by Ludwig's unswift response.

This Was Metropole Two Years Ago

Issue 5.36 - 4. Sept 2000 - This week's Café Metropole column was titled 'Time to Oil My Skates.' The 'Au Bistro' column's headline was 'Gas-Pump Blockade.' The Café Metropole Club update for this issue on 7. September, was called the 'Fuel Crises Hits Paris & Short Club' report. The 'Scene' column's headline was '1st Open de Pétanque.' There were four new 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's Cartoon of the Week was captioned, 'Back-to-School Strikes, Again.'

To the Ends of Past Summers

In olden times I had the pleasure of passing my Augusts in Spain, with my feet in the warm and crystal-blue mother of all seas, nearly under languidly waving palms, with month-long periods of luxurious near-total bliss and a few mosquitos.

However, although I didn't know it at the time, in 1997 distasteful returns to real life took a somber turn for the worse. The event on Sunday, 31. August, five years ago, whichphoto: sign, rue des beaux arts is remembered this weekend was the fatal car crash that killed Lady Diana and Dodi al-Fayed near the Pont de l'Alma in Paris.

Personally, my return to Paris a year later promised a future less rich than the past, and in 1999 there was another combination of events that probably amounted to the pit-of-pits of summer endings. The only bright spot on the horizon was Paris getting out of the 20th century a year ahead of the rest of the world.

Mid-summer of 2000 was marred by the disastrous crash of a chartered Concorde while taking off from Roissy. It has taken until this year for the flights of the Concorde to resume.

Last year summer was peaceful enough and the end of it seemed safely out of the way, when on Tuesday, 11. September, a coordinated gang of lunatics attacked targets in the United States, by using commercial passenger jets as guided missiles. The worldwide fall-out from this horrible event is still with us.

For what I hope are obvious reasons, there are no 'countdown' number of days back to any of these gloomy dates of mid- or end of summer. While the events can be remembered, there is no good that can come from 'celebrating' them. Maybe we should consider abolishing summers though.

Now that I have thoroughly depressed everybody, I may have some good news in the form of a positive 'count-up' to an event next year, that may begin here next week. Of course, if you have one too, send it in.
signature, regards, ric

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contents to: Ric Erickson, Editor.
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