'Five Buck Water'

photo: group, allan, ann, beth, marti, donna, bill, eva

Not the best 'Group Photo of the Week,' but the least
blurred one.

'Bird of the Week?'

Paris:- Thursday, 17. October 2002:- As if by magic last week's club 'report' appeared when it was supposed to. This week's will likely do the same even if my keyboard lost one of its handy functions about the time the telephone 'Joe' installed my new wire yesterday.

He didn't touch the keyboard of course. It merely saw no one was paying attention to it for a few minutes and decided to forget that it has 'magic' combo-keys that save unrolling menus for simple functions like blowing its nose.

So, tonight, to do this 'report' I want you to understand that I am tediously unrolling menus over and over and clicking on some of their standard items, one by lousy one.

For some reason for which I do not understand the connection, this is a good introduction to the weather. It rained yesterday. It has been raining off and on for most of today. According to tonight's TV-weather news, it is going to rain tomorrow.

It has not been raining steadily, but it has been raining enough to make it advisable to carry an umbrella or wear a hat, or all three. Temperatures are hovering around 14 degrees when they attain their peaks, but it doesn't seem this cold to me.

Saturday has sort of a sunny outlook, but Sunday does not. According to the TV-weather news dude, it is a few degrees colder than 'usual for the season,' and snow will be falling wherever it is above 1300 metres in the Massif Central and in the Alps. If you think you'll be in either of these places, be sure to wear chains.

This seems like an appropriate place in insert a timely public transport tip. If you intend coming tophoto: drinks of the week the club from the left bank via the métro line 4, its Cité station on the Ile de la Cité is closed for renovations and trains are not stopping in it. They do slow down so you can get a good look at nothing happening in the semi-darkness, but this doesn't rank as a 'thrill of the week.'

After all the café, some members switched to 'lots' of wine.

On emerging on the Rue de Rivoli, it looks like it usually does when it is wet. I take my semi-private centuries-old back-alley route to the café, and this looks like it usually does when it is wet too.

There are, frankly, not a lot of people milling around the Samaritaine department store or across the street, on the Pont Neuf. Nobody is sitting outside on any of the café terraces along the Quai du Louvre. It seems like Fall has advanced to its dismal low-point.

But at the café La Corona there are civilians in the 'Grande Salle,' almost in the club's place. There are others scattered about the room too. Fugitives from the humidity outside.

photo: orange card, ricI am busily writing the essential particulars in the members' booklet and preparing the 'reports' booklet for today's 'report' when I hear a purposeful tacka-tacka of heels approaching the club's area and before I can look up, Beth Sperry is sitting down and talking before she is safely installed.

Use old photos for the Orange Card if you want to stay young a long time.

She is a smart lady, getting in these initial words, because she is closely followed by member Eva Lee from Tranquility, New Jersey - and by new members Donna and Bill Lasker from Massachusetts. More exactly, they are from the 'City of the Week,' which is Worcester, which nobody can pronounce - or spell, if they can pronounce it.

"New Jersey has an undeserved bad reputation," Beth says, just to be saying something.

"Not undeserved," says Bill, who goes on to tell us that he forgets his one year of college French every two or three years. "But I get it back," he adds.

The club actually has a good number of members in good standing from New Jersey. But Eva, who is used to not saying anything about its 'undeserved bad reputation' because she lives in Tranquility, instead remembers that she has forgotten to make a sign saying 'Hallo Sally Dilgart!'

She says she wants to make an alternative 'Quote of the Week' but the secretary finds this impossible, because there has been no 'Quote of the Week' yet.

Donna has a Paris guide book she has borrowed from the apartment that the Laskers are renting. She is doubtful about some of its timely information, so she wants to have the exclusiveness of the unlimited Orange Card transport ticket clarified.

Contrary to what the guide book claims, Orange Cards can be used by visitors to Paris. Simply put, the RATP's ticket vendors don't bother to ask if purchasers of this handy weekly or monthly ticket are residents or not.

To use one you need an ID photo to put on the card, and you need to write the ID card's numberphoto: no photo orange card on the ticket. I demonstrate by hauling out my card and borrowing Beth's ticket. Looking at my card's photo, Donna says, "You never age."

Beth points out that she is truly ageless, because she has no photo on her card. Eva says some vending points don't even have the free card part to give out, but sell the tickets anyway. I warn all present that a ticket without its card number on it, is like no ticket at all - and the RATP doesn't treat ticketless riders with great respect.

Use no photo if you can get away with it.

This seriousness ends with the arrival of members Ann Warren and Allan Markowitz from Manhattan, along with Maricela Salinas from Santa Barbara, California - who says that she is supposed to be called, Marti.

Ann and Allan became members last November when meetings were being held at the Café Lodi while La Corona was being renovated, and they have member numbers about 100 less than Marti's new number of 419.

The trio were in Madrid, which they say was rainy and cold. If I overhear Donna and Bill correctly, they were on a Mediterranean cruise to see, as Bill says, "Piles of rocks," and they had a wonderful storm while at sea that many other passengers didn't care for.

I wonder about this. My times near the Mediterranean and in Madrid in October do not contain memories of fierce storms or rain or cold, but maybe that was in 'the old days,' which everyone knows were much better than today's days.

Bill sums it up as, "It was a year's worth strange experiences in one week." Now that it is over, he and Donna are in a Paris apartment building with a tricky elevator, and if they are not careful they will end up at Château Rouge.

It is 'Group Photo of the Week' time and I go out on the Quai du Louvre terrace and decide it has Madrid's weather. On the way back a couple sitting at a table outside the hallowed club's area stop me to ask if the uproar at the rear of the 'Grande Salle' is the Café Metropole Club.

The couple say they will officially attend the next meeting, but intend to remain virtual until then. They constitute today's only but genuine 'real non-members.'

When I get back the talk has turned to philosophy - specifically to 'neo-pragmatism.' Even though it is, as Beth claims, 'the only original American philosophic concept after 'pragmatism' itself, everybody seems to agree that Arlo Guthrie might not be an adherent.

Remembering the 'Group Photo of the Week' I urge everybody to cooperate. "Do we have tophoto: terrace, rain stand up?" someone asks. In revenge, the cafe's light is as bad as it gets 'at this time of year,' and some very good photos are very blurred, except for the one where half the members have their eyes closed.

La Corona's Paris terrace trying out its 'Madrid' look.

This is the secretary's fault. I don't say anything about 'open eyes.' But actually asking for the 'Mardi Gras kick' gets nowhere too. As a further revenge, Allan tells us about the 'Darwin Awards.' These involve human incidents no caveman would be caught dead doing.

On one technical point I lament that 'our' lawyer, Eva Lee, has left. This miffs Bill highly. "I'm a lawyer!" he says. This reminds me - right now while doing this 'report' - that today's 'Waiter of the Week' is Didier, who says he has never worked in a café with a real 'Internet club' in it before, as far as he knows.

Then the number one 'Waiter of the Week' - Patrick - comes from the café's bar region ro tell me there's a phone call. When I pick up the receiver I find I'm talking to member Frank Watson who is calling from Uppsala in Sweden, to remind me about his photo exhibition that is having its opening after the club meeting on Thursday, 31. October.

'Yes,' I assure him, 'even though it will be Halloween all club members in attendance will likely want to traipse over to the Café des Lettres at 53 Rue de Verneuil, which is right behind the Musée d'Orsay - to continue the club meeting, with free snacks and drinks.'

Back at the present club meeting, Beth is telling the other members about what to do in a Paris elevator in an emergency. "According to the instructions," she says, "They say you should tranquilize yourself in case of danger."

Despite this being what I would characterize as a loud voice and laughter meeting, a sparrow flies in as close as the table behind the club's. I think Beth attracts them because there were a couple of them in here last week too - which I should have remembered, because they could have been the 'Birds of the Week' but weren't.

Instead of food they get comments about Europe like this one of Allan's - "If it's four dollars for wine, then it's five dollars for water!"

I stop taking notes, so I do not know who adds that, 'yeah, and Coke is seven dollars,' because this meeting has been a bit too much. Sort like a 1200-page encyclopedia with 1158 pages ripped out at random. But what else can you expect from a club with 'no rules' and plenty of 'exceptions?'

The Next Club Meeting Is Special

The next meeting of the Café Metropole Club will be on Thursday, 24. October. This will not be a perfectly normal 43nd Thursday in the year 2002 only seven days from now - because it will mark the first meeting of the Café Metropole's Club's fourth - 4th! - year in existence.

The club's birthday is on Saint-Florentin's day this year - and this might be a 'first' even if it is not a first for Saint-Florentin.

Make it your fête if it's your saint's birthday too. Send cards, telegrams and emails to the address below if you cannot participate in person although I hope otherwise will be true.

The 'changeless paragraph' is no longer here, anymore.

The 'About the Café Metropole Club' Page

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

'Club rules' are so nearly nothing that they don't even have 'exceptions,' but if there were any 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. If you think this to too easy, it is still fairly easy to join.

Special Dubious Note

This 'special note' has been exceptionally suspended this week on account of some long-distance telephone calls and many more blurred photos than usual.

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

Club meetings begin in Paris no sooner than 15:00 on Thursday and continue until 17:00, in Europe's Central European Time Zone - which is 'CET' for short and not 'TOCK' - and knownphoto: didier, waiter of the week 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-only members' booklet number three. The club's secretary often forgets to remember to ask new members to do this.

Didier is the 'Waiter of the Week' for the first time in his life.

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 inventions. '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 honestly 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 should happen 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