"A Geezer Meeting"

photo: group, ellen, ralph, sue, richard, doug

The 'first' here is the photographer not backing into the traffic roaring along the Quai du Louvre.

Cheese Is the 'Thing of the Week'

Paris:- Thursday, 26. September 2002:- i have lost my fanatical interest in TV-news weather reports, predictions and forecasts - until enough of the occupants of my building ask the guardian to turn on the heat, which they haven't done yet.

When I passed a pharmacy this morning about 12:30 its green-neon flashing bandage sign was indicating '26' in red. I thought maybe it had been taking some mind-altering drugs until the red neon switched to 14 C Even this seemed a bit on the high side.

The only thing I didn't have on my bed last night was a Hudson's Bay blanket. But I had two other ones, each folded in half, to double their effect. It was so good I was unconscious all morning.

But before I saw the terrible message of the pharmacy's sign, in the Monoprix I bought a jumbo boxphoto: terrace in rain of nose-sneezers, plus a six-pack of the portable ones. Then, outfitted with my standard mid-winter scarf, I set out for the club, after first ingesting 500 grains of the best Paracetamol.

If I had any rum I would have had a couple of double-toddies spiked with vodka too, but I decided to be reasonable and take my chances.

You can avoid this Paris weather by joining the club!

What I remember of the métro ride was forgettable. Emerging from the depths at the Rue de Rivoli, it did notice the rain though because I foolishly forgot that a hat is part of my mid-winter getup.

In revenge the rain increases intensity as I thread through my habitual route of 500-year-old alleys to the club's café, La Corona. Needless to say, to write, there are no terrassians anywhere on the Quai du Louvre.

In the café everyone habitually asks how I am. I always take this as a personal question insteadphoto: richard miller of automatically saying, 'Ca va bien.' Today it isn't going 'bien' at all. But I'm not telling ten-eleven people about the lack of heat-vote, the blankets, the pharmacy sign, the Paracetamol or the fictional rum-toddies. I sum it up with 'bien' instead.

Richard isn't certain he wants to see next year's Porsches this year.

Club member Richard Miller arrives shortly after I collapse into the 'Ed's' seat in the café's club area. We both think the last time he was at club meeting was in 1998 before it started, but finally figure out he came by while on his way to see the Porsches at the big car show in 2000. This show starts again on Saturday. Richard says he isn't sure he's going to see it this year.

He also says he was accosted by a young lady looking for an apartment to rent, while standing in line to get into one of the private museums. I haven't the energy necessary to look up its spelling, so I'll just say it's the neat one near the Parc Monceau.

Sue and Doug Fuss arrive from Sicily. Doug looks at the secretary - me - and Richard, and says, "This is the geezer meeting."

Before the Paracetamol will allow me to dispute this accusation, Ellen and Richard Campbell arrive from Rouge River, Oregon. I immediately declare Rouge River to be the 'City of the Week' just in case I forget it before the end of the meeting.

Here is why - my notes do not say who said, "The Café Metropole in Savannah closed foreverphoto: ellen campbell because its roof fell in and nobody wanted to do anything about it."

Sue and Doug are from Savannah, but since they've just come from a wedding in Sicily, I think it might be Richard who knows about abandoned Café Metropoles. Mentioning 'dry' counties in East Texas he says, "This way the 'wets' get their liquor and the 'drys' get their laws."

Ellen wanted a special dinner, but not in Rouge River.

Meaning - for European readers - that two adjoining counties aren't allowed to be both 'wet' or both 'dry.' As far as I know, all European countries are all 'wet,' because nobody here could remember this 'checkerboard rule.'

On no, I have to correct myself already. Sweden is only partly 'wet.' People who want booze get morephoto: sue fuss than is good for them and everybody else gets prohibition. Like in Nevada, distances in Sweden are not measured in 'miles' or 'klicks,' or 'Swedish miles,' but in the numbers of beers consumed, in Nevada - or not consumed, in Sweden - between liquor stores.

This is Ellen and Richard's second visit to Paris. They didn't finish their first visit so they have returned to 'pick up where they left off.'

Sue says she has 5000 photos of Paris, and she'll get more on this visit.

Ellen wants to know what it happening in front of the Hôtel de Ville today. It was public transport and carless day last weekend, but it could be anything now - probably the latest new 'Thing of the Week.' I tell them about the server-lady's 'Tip of the Week' - about the 1000 cheeses in the Tuileries this week.

Doug says digital photography was invented so people could sell junk on the auction Web site 'eBay.' Richard says his brother found an authentic early-model plastic Christmas tree that he wanted.

Don Smith, from Seattle, arrives from where he's staying in the plastic Christmas tree partphoto: ralph campbell of the 14th. Not that it has anything to do with Don, but the club's area is getting smoked out by three café customers parked just outside the no-smoking area.

A mixed couple are both smoking pipes at one table, and a single man is not smoking endless lit Gitanes at another table, and the smoke from all of them makes 'Waiter of the Week' Patrick cough when he brings my 'Café of the Week.' A café waiter coughing on account of smoke in a café means it is serious smoke.

Ralph said 'yes' to a special dinner a long way out of town.

Actually Ellen and Richard have another reason for being in Paris. Richard asked Ellen where she wanted to have a 16th wedding anniversary dinner. She said, Paris. He asked again and she said the same thing.

While it is easy to tell that summer is over in Paris - it is freezing and everybody is eatingphoto: doug fuss cheese in a heated tent in the Tuileries - Doug says Sicily is full. If you can find a parking place there, hope it is in front of a hotel with a free room. Hotels with empty spaces in their parking lots have no free rooms.

And, after being in Milan without luggage for three days, he and Sue asked hotel concierges for directions to 'garlic' restaurants. But to be fair, they say that the 'Astoria' train from Milan to Paris is a very nice daytime ride.

Doug prefers no parking in Paris to no parking in Sicily.

And, again and, before Don arrived we went out on the terrace where Paris weather was doing its daily two-hour sunshine thing for the 'Group Photo of the Week' minus one.

The best of four photos came when I almost backed out into the passing heavy traffic. It was not necessary to tell the group to do the Mardi Gras hop and skip 'of the Week.'

Late Weather Update

For weather fans unsatisfied with my opening effort, here is tonight's weather news update. Temperatures are expected to rise from their nominal highs of 16 - to 18, 20, 22 and then 23 according to Le Parisien. Tonight's TV-news weather doesn't actually agree with this, nor is it quite in accord with mostly sunny for Saturday and Sunday either.

I don't remember the forecast. But if it is going to be like the last couple of days - only warmer! - then it will be foggy or cloudy until 15:13. Then it will be partly sunny for two hours before returning to its original state for another 22 hours.

The other 'Thing of the Week' is my radiators that have become hot since the end of tonight's TV-news. It's getting nice enough to be home, at last.

Ramona Update

Last week I wrote, "Rob and Sue Santa are from San Francisco, or Greenbrae, and Rob's mom Patricia lives in San Diego County, in Ramona - which was named after the famous pop group of the late '50s."

Club member George Broadhead has kindly written to correct me. 'Ramona' was not a famous pop-group at all, but was well-known as the 'stopping offphoto: don smith point for General Stephen Watts Kearny in 1846, when he was enroute to fight the Battle of San Pasqual against the California ranchers.'

In the 1920s Ramona was famous again, as the 'Turkey Capital of the World.' Today it is still famous for being the location of the 'Verloque House,' because it is the only western adobe home of French provincial design still in existence.

Don is also wandering around the city taking a lot of photographs.

George doesn't explain why it is in Ramona or whether Kearny beat the ranchers, but I thank him anyway for permitting me to set the record straight.

The Next Club Meeting

The next meeting of the Café Metropole Club will be on Thursday, 3. October. This will be a perfectly normal 40th Thursday in the year 2002 - with the day being named for Saint-Gérard.

This one I am not looking up in my 'saints' book either. It gets a free mention and that's it. Make it your Fête if it's your birthday, but you don't have to tell me.

The changeless paragraph which used to be here, is... [...not being here anymore...] - the less... it is getting less 'said' each week.

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' are so nearly nothing that they have no 'exceptions' - but if they weren't - they would hint 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 flash by simply being at a meeting. If you think this to too easy, why not join anyway?

Special Dubious Note

This week's unique and unposed partial 'Group Photo of the Week' has been achieved for today's occasion by failing to have all members eventually present when they were, in fact, not all present when it was shot.

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 'TCE' - and known elsewhere as 3 pm to 5 pm in worldwide areas with 24-hour-time.

Please note your name, hometown, and your own email address in the members-onlyphoto: ed's cafe members' booklet. The club's secretary often forgets to remember to ask new members to do this.

The club secretary's 'Soup of the Week.'

Come prepared with a new 'Quote of the Week' or propose your hometown as 'City of the Week' or invent 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 genuinely appreciated by the other members present, if there are any, and if they are and 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.
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Waldo Bini