The Move and the 'White Night'

photo: new view, without laundramat

Behind the boxes and wrecked furniture - my future view.

What There Is of Them

by Ric Erickson

Paris:- Monday, 7. October 2002:- I have no idea how I am managing to sit here and put out this reduced issue consisting of this 'Café' column and four new posters. More is not possible and less would be desirable.

I have been searching through hundreds of boxes for lost cables, doing hours' worth of acrobatics putting the editorial office back on its rails, heaving furniture around and sweeping up kilos of hairballs in the old place. Since only the one TV works and it is still tuned to the Saint- Germain-en-Laye relay, I have been passing out before midnight.

But before going into the exciting detailsphoto: ed's old office of my 600-metre move, here's the weather - what there is of it.

Paris started having a nice fall late Friday afternoon and despite warnings of possible rain for the early Sunday morning part of the 'Nuit Blanche,' Sunday was a nice fall day too.

Left behind - turn of the century elegance, genteel gloom.

All I have been able to see of tonight's TV-weather news report has been red-green-blue confetti, and today's Le Parisien has dispensed with color for its forecast. Small wonder - tomorrow and Wednesday might be fairly pleasant, but whoops - Thursday and Friday don't look jolly. Correction - Friday might be better. Temperatures are supposed be from 15 to 17 or something.

Café Life

The First 'Nuit Blanche'

For part of the first half, I sat in the dark beside my beautiful new window and watched all the planes flying over the city. As seen through my ripple-glass, it was a bit like fireworks in slow motion. Except for a couple of wrong-way Charlies, all flights seemed to be headed towards Bordeaux.

According to reports, while I was tucked in bed sound asleep, a half-million Parisians and visitors were out enjoying Paris' first 'Nuit Blanche,' all night long. Sunday's Le Parisien ran a front page photo of the Hôtel de Ville's Salle des Fêtes, jammed with fans of 'lounge music.'

The paper's first four interior pages were also given over to the fête, including a terrible half-page color photo of the Piscine Pontoise, all in red. As seen on TV, it had tastefully pink water, with the two floors of changing room doors surrounding the pool outlined in green neon.

If anything, the night nearly choked on its success - too few major attractions or too many people trying to get into them. The Hôtel de Ville's doors had to be closed at times because of the masses of party people.

At midnight the newspaper locked up its Sunday edition, noting that there were no untowardphoto: moving truckers incidents - suggesting that the mayor of Paris had pulled off a grand success.

But at 02:30 as Bertrand Delanoë was leaving the Salle des Fêtes with three assistants, he was attacked and stabbed with a knife by a lone assailant.

Before this the mayor had toured most of the major attractions, getting compliments - "C'est vachement bien!" - while receiving complaints about the long waiting lines.

Amazing how much will fit into a small truck.

He was on his way to see if the party people in the Salle des Fêtes could be encouraged to move on so those waiting outside could get in, when he was violently attacked. One of the aides grabbed the attacker, and medical first-aid was quickly at the scene.

Before being carted off to the Pitie-Salpêtrière hospital, the mayor told Christophe Girard, deputy mayor and brain behind the 'Nuit Blanche,' to keep the party going until eight in the morning, its official ending time.

Later on Sunday, Parisians were leaving bouquets at the hospital. Some of the attached notes said, 'Merci pour la fête.'

The attack on the mayor of Paris was the fifth aggression in France against public figures, including Président Jacques Chirac, since the beginning of the year.

The 'Big' Move

This should be called the 'big nightmare' but everybody who has ever had to do it knows this. By the time the movers arrived at 8:15 on Friday, I had exactly 20 boxes packed and ready to go.

The move-out was made easier because of the apartment's location with windows directly on the sidewalk, but the sheer bulk of the hidden contents surprised me, the movers - and the landlord when she saw about 40 boxes stacked up outside.

By noon, nothing but dust, my bike and a bit of trash were left. I used the 90-minute lunchtime pause to get some beer for the three-man moving crew. At 13:30 they were ready to go again and decided to use a mobile freight elevator to raise the whole mess up to my new third-floor window.

Luckily, the elevator didn't wreck the trees in front of the building too much. I have an out-sized drawing cabinet that wouldn't have gotten into the apartment any other way. Getting everything inside took until 17:00. This included taking apart a huge armoire in order to move it from the living room to the bedroom, and putting it back together again.

On Sunday morning I returned to the old apartment and cleaned it up, leaving it almost as I found it. I wheeled the bike up to its new outside parking place under a shed, in the new apartment's courtyard - which is reached by going through the narrow rubbish-bin room.

Most of the furniture, as battered and used as it is, fits in along with all the packing boxes. At the moment they have all been opened, as a result of an endless search for one vital cable - which was in the second-to-last box I searched.

With this 'lost' cable in hand, I could reassemble the editorial part of my living space. Once fully photo: fiat 500 of new homerewired on Sunday, the computer's software wouldn't start. It was flaky before, and finally late on Sunday it cranked over once - enough to download 90 pieces of spam and junk, and eight real emails.

This morning it refused all of my tricks. It has taken five hours to find the offending software bits and set them aside. All three have something to do with managing CD-ROMs - so the machine is without this capability. It is beyond me how the movers could have affected this.

On arrival, the 'Fiat 500 of the Week' is parked nearly in front of my door.

There remain two unanswered questions. Will everything in the packing boxes fit in somewhere, and how long will it take to do it?

Dimitri is going to come by to see if something can be added to the armoire so that coats can be hung in it. He is also going to advise me about incidental but handy items like towel racks - whatever they are - something towels can hang on instead of door handles.

I'm going to miss my laundromat across the street from the old apartment. The cost of it was a small price to pay for using its dryers. Being right across the street, I could do six emails during the wash and another three during the drying cycle.

The tradeoff is I now have an apartment with a lot of northern light and a bit of light from the south. I can see the sky all day long without going outside and down to the end of the block.

The nearest café and boulangerie are two short blocks away, and this is just about everything that is essential. I'll have to wait until the leaves fall off the trees in front, to get the full benefit of the view of the Montparnasse cemetery.

The Unfinished 'Big' Move

I am sure nobody likes moving and you know now I sure don't. I would much rather be batting out this magazine six days a week, ten or 12 hours a day, 48 or 49 weeks a year.

But I never really moved into my last apartment because it was bigger than my head and had room in excess to kind of toss things in any old way. The new move has brought 30 year's worth of archived drawings and photos back to the light of day, and they now have to fit into a much smaller space.

Before I plunge back into 'Café Life' I want stuff to be tidy and findable. With my possible next address across the street, I want my affairs to be shipshape in case I move there suddenly.

This is a roundabout way of saying I am going to give my new 'move in' some extra time to get it right this time around. This may affect Metropole production a bit for a while - but if you don't think you are getting enough, there are plenty of back issues to read, or read again. Just be careful about the 'expired' dates for items in the 'Scene' column.

The Late Late Late Comedy Show

This column was finished at midnight tonight. But when I tried to put it online the program for doing this said 'your whazzit' and 'your ristans' are totally foutou. I was astonished because it had only taken me five hours to get the machine running - as mentioned above already - just to do the column - and if I had any idea that additional pitfalls were waiting in ambush, I would have gone to bed.

Instead I hacked away until giving up at 03:00 on Tuesday and sending the files to the server-lady to upload in the morning. This she was unable to do because of the super security my upload access involves. This put me back to searching through boxes again to find the confidential information I would have to have handy to install a replacement system.

Almost needless to say, this is being written before this is done - because I simply do not know what further surprises are lurking within the mysterious depths of my - or any - computer system. I am sorry for this delay and I am sorry that we depend on such slender threads. I wish I stuck with my pencil.

Café Metropole Club 'Updates'

'Ed,' or the club's secretary, will appreciate it if you get up-to-date with your club's 'news' right now by hitting this link to the "Numbers of Ducks?" report, even if you are not interested in 'ducks,' and I'm not saying there were any at last week's meeting if you are.

Virtual readers who want to become real club members can skim the scant details concerning thisphoto: sun in new bedroom free club in nineteen seconds or less by reading the fine-sized large-print on the 'About the Club' page, and maybe scratching the virtual membership card right off the screen.

Joining this club - your own club after all! - is almost as easy. All you have to do is be in Paris on a Thursday. Any one sooner rather than later will do.

Hyper-luxo - sunlight in my bedroom!

The coming meeting of the Café Metropole Club will be on Thursday, 10. October. The club's 'Saints' Day of the Week' next Thursday is Saint-Ghislain - which is not such an unusual name if you think of it a bit harder than I did when I wrote the club report with one hand while packing moving boxes with the other.

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

Metropole's Affiliates

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This Was Metropole One Year Ago:

Issue 6.41 - 8. Oct 2001- The Café Metropole column's title was 'Euroflation Hits Europe.' The 'Au Bistro' column had no headline because it wasn't. This issue had one feature titled 'On Tour With the 'Shopping Lady.' The update for the Café Metropole Club meeting on 11. October was called '2nd Birthday Begins 3rd Year' and this event had another feature in the form of a second birthday 'First.' The week's 'Scene' column was headlined 'Paris - Barcelona' Starts.' Six 'Posters of the Week' werephoto: orient express faucets featured once again once, and Ric's 'Cartoon of the Week' had the caption, "Café 7 francs? Euroflation!"

This Was Metropole Two Years Ago

Issue 5.41 - 9. Oct 2000 - This week's Café Metropole column was titled 'Autumn Is Here.' The 'Au Bistro' column's headline was 'Rotten Summer Blues.' There was one feature, titled 'The Champs-Elysées Revisited, Again.' The Café Metropole Club update for this issue on 12. October, was called the "Sunburned in Seattle" report. there was a windy note in this issue about the club becoming two years old, too. The 'Scene' column's headline was 'A Couple More 'Big' Shows.' The usual four 'Posters of the Week' were on view too and Ric's Cartoon of the Week had the caption of 'You Took Him To the Auto Salon!'

Count-Down Ended Without Warning

For at least one week you are going to have to do without any sort of count-down or up in this space that is almost hallowed for this type of important - say, I mean, does anybody ever read this besides the recent contest winner, John Motta?

Just so you know contests here are really real, one of my preoccupations this coming week will be to acquire John's prize and ship it off to him before so much time passes he forgets he is a winner.
signature, regards, ric

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