"Numbers of Ducks?"

photo: from left, linda, beth, marshall, doug, thirza

From left, today's 'group of the week,' Linda, Beth,
Marshall, Doug and Thirza.

'Visitor of Half the 2Oth Century'

Paris:- Thursday, 3. October 2002:- The super wonderful Azores high we were briefly promised until Monday night's revisionist TV-news weather forecast, never advanced from its 'promised' status.

Instead we've been having the usual so-so weather typical of the Paris region. Since there's nothing special about it, I don't know why I'm writing even this much. It was overcast most of the day and it felt warmer than advertised, probably leading up to tonight's sporadic rain.

All of my eyes watching tonight's TV-weather news are on the prediction for next Saturday. This is, this Saturday aprés-midi, is pretty good. Sunday 'matin,' in contrast, doesn't look wonderful at all.

If you are going to have a 'Nuit Blanche' starting at 19:30 on Saturday, and going through the night until 8:00 on Sunday - which forecast do you want to believe?

Maybe a compromise is called for here. While there will be shuttle buses and the regular night buses to haul sleepless 'fetards' from unique occasion to unique occasion, the reliable métro stops running about 01:00 Sunday morning.

In theory this will give you from 19:30 to 00:30 to zip from place to place, and then call it quits. Thisphoto: thirza vallois is almost a whole half of the 'sleepless' night. For the other half you can either be safe and dry at home, or take your chances outside during the night-night part. Think it over.

The club's secretary is not sure Thirza looked a bit like this in 1997.

Part of this morning I spent packing boxes for my move tomorrow morning. So far, I've packed all the books I had in the bedroom and filled up ten boxes. Books are heavy, so the boxes are not too big. Along the way I threw out 20 kilos of early 'Wired' magazines - I think it may be too late to read them now.

Even before I get to today's club meeting I know I am going to speed-write the 'report' about it so that I can return to packing boxes with books. These are not really good books either - I don't know what I did with the three years' time I've had for throwing them out.

I just, the secretary wants to, put this in at the beginning so you'll know why this club 'report' may not be up to its usual go-to-heck-casual standard of excellence.

For once I have brought nothing to read in case of no members showing up and I'm convinced none will. But of course I've forgotten that the server-lady, Linda Thalman, phoned a couple of days ago to say she will be seeing Thirza Vallois during the meeting.

Since I've brought nothing to read I don't have to stop reading it when they arrive. The server-lady has some club meeting photos for me - from a meeting, most likely held on 29. June 2000, when I was in Canada. She says they might be helpful as backup photos, especially if we could figure out who the members in them are.

Active Paris readers will know Thirza Vallois' name because she is the author of the 'Around and About Paris' series and another book about Baron Haussmann. We took a couple of her tours together and I thought we knew each other, so that I'm surprised she is not already a club member.

She wants to know what the numbers next to member's names mean. "What are these - numbers of ducks? Like the Tour d'Argent?" She wants to know Linda's number. When I can I look it up - it is number 16. I don't have to look up Thirza's number because it is 412 - for today.

Next new member to arrive is Beth Sperry, from Liberty, Missouri. Beth says she is on a sabbaticalphoto: linda thalman in Paris, possibly in order to spend some time at the Cafés Philosophes. "I don't know if I'm on vacation," she says, adding that she is 'getting paid to learn French.'

If Linda was at last week's meeting, the club's secretary is certain this is her.

Of course Liberty is the 'City of the Week' because it is on or near US route 210 - where you have choice between Liberty or Independence, where Harry Truman used to have a men's tie shop. "Chose you this day where you will drive," she adds philosophically.

Doug Fuss arrives, to even the balance between already-members and new members. Unbalance soon returns in the form of Marshall Tulin from Santa Barbara, California.

Marshall says, "I've been coming to Paris every year since 1954." The first time was with a non-stop MATS flight that refueled in the Azores. Marshall says he is in the 'fluid dynamics' line.

Apparently even when he was attending scientific meetings about this elsewhere in Europe, he would always fit in a visit to Paris. With 50 to 55 visits behind him, I think this makes Marshall the 'Visitor of the Last Half the 20th Century' with a headstart on the 21st because this one is his second visit this year.

Thirza has taken 55 minutes to compose her entry in the members' booklet, and Beth continues wit a long essay, until the club's number two cheapo pen runs out of black ink. This is the first time a thing like this has happened. Club pens have been lost, but never come to inklessness before.


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