"A Complex Philosophical Question"

photo: crazy hands of the week

Pastis, served correctly, causes a complex form of
'Willy and the Hand Jive.'

And I Say It Is Only a Birthday

Paris:- Thursday, 24. October 2002:- This town doesn't get much rain as a rule, but like the club's 'rules,' it seems to have been tossed out. Two days do not a monsoon make, except when they are two days of steady rain in Paris.

It is just as well. The higher authorities, whoever they are, have been planting stories in Le Parisien - about a rerun of the great flood of 1910. If this happens you will need a rowboat to get to the very colossal Mitterrand Bibliothéque, which is on quite a high pedestal. The area around the Opéra Garnier would be like Venice.

As far as my new bedroom window goes and its ability to let drizzle fall on my head if it is open when I am asleep, when it is really raining it stays closed and I wait for morning before breathing again.

Tonight's TV-weather news forecast is for more of the same. There may be some brief sunny periods next Sunday, but I'm not counting on these. The coming issue of Metropole may be rained out.

Mind you, I am personally waterproof. I have more than one coat to get soggy, and more than one hat. But the user manual for the camera says it may explode if it is threatened with moisture.

So I will be prudent. If it looks dangerous outside I will stay inside and take stuff out of boxes andphoto: don smith put it away. This it not my favorite activity - putting away stuff I haven't seen for years so I won't see it for some more years. It's a dirty job and somebody has to do it because I can't find anything the way things are.

Don always keeps his hat on in case of sudden baptisims.

On today's métro ride down to Châtelet the train skips the Cité station again. It won't be making regular stops here again until Saturday, 21. December.

This means visitors intending to gawk at Notre Dame will get soggier before they get to look up at its towers and get rain in their faces. The RATP is ever so sorry about this. But renovate they must.

Just because I mention this, the transit authority has also closed my favorite exit at Châtelet - which means I get soggier getting to the club meeting today, by having to trudge a whole extra block.

On the Quai du Louvre even the pigeons are sheltering elsewhere from the rain. Luckily therephoto: beth sperry are no posters worth photographing so I don't get blown to smithereens by a wet camera even before today's anniversary meeting starts.

To read the original Foucault, Beth has been hitting the books at the Alliance Française.

The Corona's bar area is empty when I arrive. The staff are moody. But when I round the corner I find the 'grande salle' is pretty full of people, most of whom are just finishing lunch. A quick glance around sights no empty onion soup bowls.

All the people in the club's area are civilians, but they all leave fairly soon. Don Smith arrives before they are all gone. Don says he is going back to Seattle to get a rest from all the photo courses he's been giving. He probably misses Seattle's rain too.

Since this is a 'gala' day for the club, Don tells me a funny but unlikely story about yuppie pants and mobile phones. Patrick, our 'Waiter of the Week,' brings him a café. Within a minute or two Don's eyes goggle out when he sees what a double-express costs. He thought he was getting a simple single one.

We have about the only coherentphoto: drink of the week chat we've ever had, since first meeting in 1999 on the Champs-Elysées, before Beth Sperry arrives. She orders, in Alliance Française-fresh French - a pastis with a side order of tap water, a bottle of Perrier and a Perrier glass with ice.

She did this last week too, and I forgot to mention that it was the 'Cocktail of the Week' - in case you missed the mention of it. She says, "I love to drink!"

Multiple-time 'Drink of the Week' - a pot of rosé with a chaser of ice cubes.

In fact, without making it an excuse for what she's just said, she also tells us about the salty lunch she just had. It was salmon something.

Just before 16:00 a whole herd of students gets stuffed into the club's area. There are so many of them they overflow into the civilian area of the café. They also talk loudly in Dutch like kids do when they are in hordes.

Beth has found out the name of the guy with the grave at Père Lachaise that some ladies like to visit because of its unusual decor. His name is Victor Noir in case anybody is interested in kinky stuff.

A huge uproar originates with the Dutch students. They claim Patrick has overcharged one of them for a café. Their teacher jumps into the fray. Dinny Moyer arrives during this. None of us can hear what we are saying. It's about 20 students and one teacher against Patrick.

Patrick has been a café waiter all his working life, with the last seven years spent in La Corona. The 20 students and the teacher lose the battle of wills with Patrick, and pay the note. Relief floods the club members.

They will go back to Holland andphoto: patrick waiter of the week each will tell 20 other people about how they got ripped off in the club's café - which has never happened in three years, to any of the club's 419 members.

Patrick has returned to being multiple-time 'Waiter of the Week.'

This uproar has steamed up the café's windows. It is Beth's brilliant idea to write the official birthday message on one of the window panes. She says it will reappear when the Dutch students come back and fog them up again.

But this gesture also starts a club birthday uproar. Is it three years old or four?

Dinny says the club's secretary is counting 'Chinese style.' I say we are having the 157th meeting - one more than three year's worth - and today is the first meeting in the fourth year, so the club is four years old.

Nobody agrees with this reckoning, but I am like Patrick - except I will let the club members leavephoto: dinny moyer the café even if they don't agree with me. It's impossible leave the club without paying because it's free, except fr having to pay Patrick.


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logo, metropole sml midi logo No matter how good it tastes,
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Waldo Bini