...Continued from page 1

Last week I asked new member Marshall Tulin from Santa Barbara if he knew Norman, because they are both sort of in the water business, both in the same state, and they both come to Paris a lot. When I ask Norman about this, he says he probably knows somebody in a neighboring office.

This may seem off-subject too, but John is another Californian and even though he is not in the water business, he is in the university line, as in Pepperdine University in Malibu - which I think is close to water.

Cynthia says John travels around giving lectures about telecommunications, which are notphoto: map two of the week to be confused with the telephone business which is only about marketing and has nothing to do with communications anymore.

But, jetlagged or not, John says, "Paris is almost normal - compared to LA."

Another 'first' - two laughing maps at one club meeting.

To be fair, I should never quote anybody who is at the club while in a jetlagged state - not actually uncommon! - and, besides, John retracts his statement. Or he amends it, making LA almost as 'normal' as Paris. In its own way, of course.

For example, Beth says she rode a bus this week that passed though the Etoile at rush-hour. This was, she says, an exciting experience - about like seeing an elephant pass through the eye of a needle without having to bend its trunk.

I have added the second phrase above because these days the Etoile is tame compared to the way it was before the traffic lights were installed to stop everybody from entering it at once. Nobody hears the secretary say this anyway.

And nobody believes that the Etoile is not a metaphor for normal French driving habits, no matter how civilized it has become.

I have suspected that the club's camera batteries are on their last bit of juice and this is confirmed during the 'Group Photo of the Week' session out on the café's terrace.

During this part of the club meeting all hands, er, all members - all of them! - decide to take their own 'Group Photo of the Week' too - which is a true 'first.'

Then one man - from Atlanta, Georgia - with a group of non-members sitting in the sun on the terracephoto: counter group photo watching the traffic jam on the Quai du Louvre, borrows John's camera to take another 'Group Photo of the Week' and pretty soon everybody is doing it, every which way.

Laughing club members hide behind unauthorized 'Cameras of the Week.'

This amounts of something like the 'Group Photo of the Week Squared' and is a 'first' of a major order in the galaxy of 'firsts,' and as the club secretary who has witnessed most of them, I can say it may be an unoutclassable 'First of Firsts.'

Since it is the first one of these, it is in itself a 'first.'

The Next Club Meeting

The next meeting of the Café Metropole Club will be on Thursday, 17. October. This will be a perfectly normal 42nd Thursday in the year 2002 only seven days from now - with the day being named for Saint-Renaud - who is not named after the French automobile or vice-versa.

Make it your Fête if it's your Saint's birthday too. Trying to remember saints is like trying to remember the exceptions to French grammar, which is the only thing you really need to remember. Need to memorize, I should say. Nobody can remember all of the 'exceptions.'

This week is the final appearance here for the, this, 'changeless paragraph.'

The 'About the Café Metropole Club' Page

By taking a look at the page called 'About the Café Metropole Club' you can find out howphoto: wild hand of the week to become a member. However, if you are reading this 'report' of today's club meeting, 'how-to-become-a- member' should be perfectly clear.

Is this a laughing hand - or the rabbit in my hat?

'Club rules' are so nearly nothing that they have no 'exceptions' - except for the unique 'Honorary Charter Member' exception - that they would hint that if you feel ignoring this 'About' page - exceptionally, do so. All you need to know is that you can be a member of this online magazine's live, free and real club by simply being at a meeting. Even if you think this to too easy, it is still fairly easy to join.

Special Dubious Note

The French have decided that they do stand out from mankind by mutually declaring themselves to be 'exceptions.' The exception to this are the Parisians, most of whom consider themselves to be unexceptional - or no more exceptional than say, New Yorkers.

What, Where, When, Who, How, Why Not?

Club meetings begin in Paris no sooner than 15:00 on Thursday and continue until 17:00 on the same day, in Europe's Central European Time Zone - which is 'CET' for short and not 'TICK' - and known elsewhere as 3 pm to 5 pm in worldwide areas with two daily sets of 12-hour-time.

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

Finally, this week's laughing 'Waiter 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 welcome too even if they are dubious. '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 honestly 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 any of 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

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