"He Eats French Dog Food"

photo: almost the whole group photo of the week

Another 'first' - this week's 'Partial Group
Photo of the Week.'

'Foggy In Boullay'

Paris:- Thursday, 12. September 2002:- 'What?' I wonder, 'Is this chilly wind blowing through my place? Has a terrible-weather warning crept up on Paris while I sleep? Is it the big, bad, wolf trying blow my place down?' Or maybe, me out of here?

Gol-darn! Last night's TV-weather news was keeping up its stormy warning for the area near Marseilles. The bushes and plants in my courtyard are thrashing around, twisting on their stems. In the bathroom, the window blows itself and the door open, and the steam - little as there is - flits away.

Outside the grey undersides of clouds are not far above the mobile-phone relay antennas. TV-weather news didn't forecast this. 'The usual morning mists,' is all they said.

Going out for bread, rental-ad papers and café, I see my landlord in the hall. He is a doctor. I ask him if he is on strike. I must be out of my head with the chill and no café yet.

I tell you, last night's TV-weather news forecast said mostly sunny, and warm. I mean, they said 23 degrees.photo: lindas take out Some people might think this is warm, but it is really no more than 18 I think. Feels like 14. Burrrrrr. Good morning, Paris. It is still morning too, just barely.

Linda's wonderful lunch. Note 'on-time' watch on arm.

After getting the bread, the rental-ad paper and having the café, when I get back I go upstairs to see my landlord and apologize for accusing him of being on strike. He says only Americans can be so horrified by strikes. He says he is not on strike today - he gets Thursdays off sometimes. I never noticed this before. I should have my café earlier on Thursdays. Maybe in the mornings.

Tonight's TV-news begins with a new storm warning for the area around Marseilles for Friday. The other night a weather boffin said these storms are common there at this time of year.

The land has gotten cool while the Mediterranean is still warm - at least ten degrees warmer than the land. From the week's earlier storms, 22 have been killed and a bunch more are missing. It's a major mess. Some people still haven't gotten back together after another storm they had there back in 1994.

I am late getting off to the club meeting. Sure enough, on the Rue de Rivoli the sun is starting to come through. I am not going to need all the clothes I've got on.

The Quai du Louvre is semi-deserted. There are whole minutes when no bicycles, roller-folks, cars, trucks, motorcycles or buses are on it. Many of the tables on the café terraces are empty, including the club's café, La Corona.

Because it is so quiet outside there are four members already in the club's area in the café's 'grande salle.' These are Edna and Bob Bradley from Costa Mesa, California, Heather Stimmler-Hall, this club's member number one, and formerly of Scottsdale, Arizona but lately of Antibes, and Linda Thalman, the server-lady.

"The computer server-lady," Linda says, just so nobody thinks she is going to take any orders for drinks. She also says she was a bit behind time, so she brought the rest of her take-away lunch with her. It looks like some sort of tandoori paella.

She also says it was 'foggy in Boullay' in the morning. It's hard to imagine fog at the Cadillac Ranch. Heather says she thinks the city is painting the trees in October colors.

The Bradleys tell me about buying Hovercraft tickets at Charing Cross Road in London, only to find out Hovercraft service stopped two years ago. So they took some other boat-train affair and got to Paris 11.5 hours later.

Not much different from 100 years ago. The trains didn't meet the channel boats then either. But they had a 'Baba Rhum' at the Train Bleu at the Gare de Lyon once, and the waiter left the rum bottle on the table - so, somehow, they are 'even' as far as trains that don't meet boats are concerned.

photo: almost whole group, inside

Aside from the news that they can't stay in Paris for more than four weeks because their cat won't allow more, I learn that garages are not used as houses for cars anymore in America. Some people put teenagers in them.

The talk turns to inheritance taxes and Linda says people in France leave their 'Van Goghs' to the state instead of paying cash, and they can borrow them back again when holding parties.

So far the meeting is on its rails. Heather shows Linda how to use the speed-dial function of her portable phone, and Linda tells us how she lost the neat camera I helped her to buy, when she wandered into to a patch of quicksand. Apparently this event wasn't covered by the warranty.

Then the meeting spins out of control with the arrival, in short order, of Beate and Peter Kane from Grand Rapids, Michigan. Right behind them is Joe Fitzgerald from St Louis, Missouri. Before all of them tell me they live in Paris, I put Grand Rapids down as the 'City of the Week.'

This prompts Beate to produce a photo of their dog, Donovan, in some kind of typical October blizzard. "Donovan," she says, "Is thin because he eats French dog food, which is not too easy to get in Grand Rapids."

Peter then tells me about the 'curse' put on Grand Rapids in Michigan territory by the Indians who owned it. Earlyphoto: long table goup traders were only allowed to stay there seasonally. If they stayed longer to live there, they were 'cursed' to stay there forever. Since I am the club's only secretary, I declare that this is the 'Curse of the Week,' as well as a true 'first.'

The look of a club meeting when the house is nearly full.

While this has been going on, member Dinny Moyer has arrived with Jeanne de Tapol, who lives in Villier-sur-Marne but grew up in Tonneins, which is a town on the Garonne river southeast of Marmande. Not 'Marmalade,' Marmande.

This has little to do with Peter's story about Wellington declining to invade Louisiana in 1814 because it would cost too much. Everybody already knows the Brits blew owning the whole United States over a couple of measly teabags.

I am sitting with my back to the café's 'grand salle' but I see a familiar hat in the mirror approaching from the café's bar. Under it is Seattle's Don Smith, a club member already, back in town to teach everybody how to photograph Paris.

Either Edna or Bob tell me my tip of the Ardoise restaurant was a good one, but this is news to me. I know the name but I'm pretty sure nobody has invited me there to dine. The best thing about it that I know, is the Bradleys liked it.

With fairly minimum fuss we all get out on the café's terrace to do the 'Group Photo of the Week,' which I've left as long as possible because I'm not all sure members-to-be have arrived yet, even through I don't know if any are still to come.

Once this chore is successfully 'in the can' we get back inside, to take care of all the various bar bills lying around. While doing this, Emmanuelle arrives pushing eight-month-old Gabrielle in a stroller.

There is no time - no, actually there is too much confusion - to get a clean member sign-in forphoto: member gabrielle, 8 months these two new members. Besides, they bring today's number to 14 - nine club members and five new ones, all of whom live in the Paris area. Maybe even these numbers aren't right.

It is the same with the bar tickets. After everybody has chipped in their share, there remains one café and one beer unanswered for. Dinny deduces it was the 'server-lady.' I say, 'no, the server-lady would never...' and pay the café ticket.

Today's only new member under one - Gabrielle.

After showing Don how to get lost finding his way back to Pernety, I am back in the editorial office when I get a high-priority email from the server-lady, saying, "At a stop light at Concorde I suddenly realized I owe someone or La Corona for an espresso and a beer! Don't know if that is a 'first' for the club but it's a first for me."

With today's other true club 'firsts,' I think Linda's makes it a total of five or seven. I won't count getting Don lost, even though it's been the first time I've overshot my station by two métro stops.

The Next Club Meeting

The next meeting of the Café Metropole Club will be on Thursday, 19. September. This will be a perfectly normal 38th Thursday in the year 2002 - with the day being named for Sainte-Emilie.

My 'saints' book doesn't say this is a dude martyred in Africa in 251, because his day is 22. May - so it must be the saint named after a place in Italy on the coast of the Adriatic south of the Po.

The changeless paragraph which used to be here, is... [...not being here anymore...] - the less said about it the better.

The 'About the Café Metropole Club' Page

Find out how to become a member by taking a look at the page called 'About the Café Metropole Club.' However, if you are reading this 'report' of today's club meeting, 'how-to-become-a-member' should be perfectly clear.

'Club rules' have been disestablished - but if they weren't - they would suggest that if you feel ignoring this 'About' page - do so. All you need to know is that you can be a member of this online magazine's live, free and real club in a wink by simply being at a meeting. If you think this to too easy, just give a thought to deprived would-be members in Oz.

Special Dubious Note

This week's unposed partial 'Group Photo of the Week' has been achieved for today's unique occasion by failing to have all present members present when they were, in fact, yet to be present.

What, Where, When, Who, How, Why?

Club meetings begin in Paris 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 'VOTE' - and known elsewhere as 3 pm to 5 pm in worldwide areas with 24-hour-time.

The club's secretary will be listening to members' every word at the same time as he may be concocting somephoto: wine cubes 'report' notes, which might be completely different from anything you hear members say at a meeting. Please note your name, hometown, and your own email address in the members' booklet. The club's secretary often forgets to remember to ask members to do it legibly

Today's only rosé wine with ice cubes in it.

Come prepared with a new 'Quote of the Week' or propose your hometown as 'City of the Week' or dream up any other 'Things of the Week.' True 'firsts' are neat too. 'No-names' is an option you can also opt for if you prefer to be 'not found' on the Internet. Otherwise and in general, the only exception is 'no rules.'

What you say may be appreciated by the other members present, if there are any, and if they are listening - and by all readers of this online magazine, if they read it - if it turns out to be written here.

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.
Metropole Midi © 2014
– unless stated otherwise.
logo, metropole sml midi logo No matter how good it tastes,
there is no such thing
as a free lunch.
Waldo Bini