"Eeek!" She Said

photo: group of the week, gillian, shirley, walter

Almost overpowered by sunlight, from left, Gillian,
Shirley and Walter.

And the Light Went On Again

Paris:- Thursday, 7. November 2002:- If I were flippant, I would sum the weather up with four words - rain, rain, more rain. But I am not - as club secretary - flippant, so I will have to give you more than these even if you have got the gist of it.

Last night I decided to have a TV evening. Since my little TV is not tuned to the Tour Eiffel, I decided to watch a video movie with the big TV, which is not attached to any antenna.

After moving six cartons, I found the user manual for the little TV that I've been seeking for four weeks. So I did not see last night's TV-weather news because I was busy failing to tune the little TV to the Tour Eiffel's frequencies.

The problem may be that what I think is a antenna socket to the antenna high up on the building's roof, is in reality, a cable-TV socket. So, while I failed to tune the little TV correctly - with TF1 supposed to be on channel 25, I got better reception for it on channel 47.

And when I gave up I was getting France-2 TV with buttons two, six and eight. In the end I did not have a 'TV evening' and I didn't see the weather forecast.

This morning I had, therefore, 'surprise' weather. There was a surprising amount of blue sky with a surprising amount of clouds of all colors drifting rapidly across it, and some surprise showers of rain - all in 30-minute rotation cycles.

Tonight I watched Isabelle on France-2 TV weather news - with button six! - show me an increasing collectionphoto: sunlit terrace of the week of dark clouds, increasing as we advance to the weekend - with a totally dark-cloud-covered France, except for around Nice, predicted for Monday, 11. November.

Actually, for Monday and this date in November, it is not a 'prediction.' Traditionally every 11. November in Paris is grey and sopping with driving rain. It is the Président's annual water-proof test.

Ultra-rare November - lots of sunshine and no cars on the Quai du Louvre. Two temporary situations.

This afternoon has been somewhat different. Coming across the Pont des Arts, today's sky is exceptionally clear. In the time required to get across the bridge there are two minor showers of rain. Nothing at all like duck soup though.

The club's café La Corona has a terrace so bright - it also has its awning - that there are even hardy souls on it, somewhat like those photos showing skiers on a mountain chalet's terrace in phoney photographs without blizzards.

All in all, quite nice weather for November and only a little bit bracing. Not enough for gloves yet, but definitely brisk enough for scarves.

Light is slicing through the cafe's 'grande salle' like it does when the sun is lower in the sky. It bounces off the new marble floor and blasts around the room like lasers - being blinding if I am sitting in the wrong place.

I slide along the banquette about a metre to the right. I write the meeting's particulars in the members' booklet and in the 'reports' booklet. I write a note about the weather - how else do you think I remember all this? - and note that the Seine has brown and choppy water today and the gulls look seedy

Then it is thumb-twiddle time. The terrace people outside even look cozy, so I take a photograph from inside the café. I twiddle my thumbs some more.

Shirley and Walter Pappas arrive from Falls Church, Virginia. They have been members for two years - this might be their fourth meeting. Shirley is pleased I remember their names. I think it is a neat trick too. Before they walked in, I hadn't given them a thought since the last time they walked out.

This is not quite true. For a long time I think Shirley's name is Irene. Walter shows me his new Nikon Coolpix 5700 and says, "I've finally gone digital."

Don Smith, another member, was here about two weeks ago and he has about the same type of camera. He sent me a photo via email that he called, 'Rare Photo of Ed Smiling.' The Internet interfered with the coding of the image file, and it wouldn't display. Ed's smiles remain rare.

Walter doesn't feel like talking about political developments in the United States. I can't say I blame him. To change the subject he says, "Los Angeles is stealing neighboring suburbs."

Paris doesn't steal its neighboring suburbs. If their garbage collectors have a strike, it doesn't affect Paris. Itphoto: food of the week, apple pie works the other way around too. TV-news is saying Strasbourg is pretty stinky these days after six days of a strike. Paris called off its own recent garbage strike after only two days.

High-speed lens captures apple delight before its swift disappearance.

Yes, I am pretty sure Paris doesn't want to annex Neuilly either. But I don't think about this too long because Gillian Watt arrives with Mark Kritz.

Actually, Mark wasn't coming to today's meeting when he happened to be passing and saw Gillian walk into the café and couldn't help following her in. He says he isn't officially 'at' this meeting. He gets to meet Gillian though.

Gillian says she wrote to say she was coming. Instead of saying I throw all emails away that say this, I make a mental note to not forget next time Gillian is coming.

Because, folks, Gillian is from Edinburgh in Scotland, which easily makes it the 'City of the Week' along with her accent, which is as delicious as Shirley's - which is not Virginian, but from the Carolinas.

Walter, who has not being saying much while he eats a huge slab of an apple-type tarte, decides to make a political comment after all. He says, "Before coming yesterday, I cast an absentee ballot for an absentee candidate."

Apparently, the more-taxes party in Virginia decided not to bother with running a candidate because they don't have the deep pockets that the lower-taxes candidates have.

To kind of back this up Shirley says, "It's cheaper to come to Paris than New York."

I can't say much about this except that B&Bs in Flushing are probably cheaper, and I forget to tell Walter about how the lower-taxes party stole the presidential election is 1876 from the higher-taxes party, by using Florida mis-counters just like two years ago. Heck, it's only history now anyway.

Because of the sliced light in the 'grande salle' we troop out to La Corona's terrace for a small 'Group Photo of the Week.' Then Shirley and Walter whiz off to their next rendez-vous.

Which leaves the club's secretary alone with Gillian. Shirley has already asked Gillian about her 'adventures,' and this resulted in one of those 'lining up for days to get to see Picasso' stories.

The interesting part was the American lady standing in line who confided to Gillian that she comes to Paris twice a year to see her homeopathic doctor, and load up on a fresh supply of homeopathic medicines. Apparently these are considered voodoo by the AMA because they aren't as expensive as antibiotics.

But with Shirley gone Gillian could tell me her real 'adventure.' This involved being inside a café's downstairs waterworks when the dim 40-watt light went out. Gillian said, "Eeek!"

A male voice from outside the locked door said, "Pardon!" And the light went on again.

Gillian got out of there as quickly as possible and the Parisian waiting outside was apologetic, signalling that thephoto: empty cafe cups of the week light switch was unusually placed outside the door. He then entered the tiny waterworks room, and Gillian absent- mindedly turned the light switch off.

Instead of inserting a long paragraph here about the variety of lighting arrangements of tiny and dim waterworks rooms in Paris, let me merely say that lights in some are turned on by locking the door, and others are time-switches that turn off by themselves.

No prize for guessing this week's 'Drinks of the Week' this week.

These are not the only light-switches in Paris designed to save electricity - which is absurdly cheap and extremely plentiful on account of being generated by EDF's radiation-free nuclear reactors. Lots of dangerous stairways have these auto-off light switches too.

I almost forgot. Gillian works for 'The Scotsman' newspaper in Edinburgh. I believe it is one of the world's older daily newspapers. It has many more 'recent issues' than this magazine.

Few Club Meetings Are Usual

The next meeting of the Café Metropole Club will be on Thursday, 14. November. With Halloween, Toussaint and the Day of the Dead finally over for this year, this will be a fairly normal 46th Thursday in the year 2002 only seven days from now.

Otherwise, the Saint's Day next Thursday is Sainte-Sidoine. I know nothing about this saint whatsoever and in deference to all other readers who are not fans of saints, I doubt if I will find anything out.

The 'About the Café Metropole Club' Page

By taking a quick look at the page called 'About the Café Metropole Club' you can learn how to become a member forever. However, if you are reading this 'report' about today's club meeting, learning how to become a member might be redundant.

'Club rules' are so nearly nothing that they don't even have 'exceptions.' If you feel ignoring this 'About' page - this one time - 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 to be true, it is still fairly true.

Note, Special Glum Note Note

There were no responses to last week's 'glum note' about the question of the club's age. This remains in suspension. This will resolved 49 weeks from today.

Special Christmas Season Note

Tonight, exactly one week after Halloween, major Paris department stores are turning on their lights and lifting their display window curtains on their decorations. Next door to the club's café, Samaritaine did this without fanfare. On the Boulevard Haussmann, Galeries Lafayette was not nearly so discrete. In fairness, one Samaritaine window is here - and others shot on Haussmann tonight, will be in Monday's regular edition. Your Metropole Paris scoops Le Parisien again.

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

Club meetings begin in Paris not before 15:00 on Thursday and continue until 17:00, in Europe's Centralphoto: samaritaine toys window European Time Zone - which is 'CET' for short and not 'ZZIW' - and known elsewhere as 3 pm to 5 pm in other worldwide areas. This is regardless of prevailing 'winter time.'

One of Samaritaine's Christmas windows tonight.

Please note your name, hometown, and your own email address in the members-only members' booklet number three. The club's secretary often fails to remember that he forgets to ask new members to do this legibly.

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. 'No-names' is an option you can also opt for if you prefer to be 'not found' on the Internet. 'No rules' has ceased to be an 'exception' and is now an exceptional 'rule.'

What you say may be sincerely appreciated by the other members present, if there are any, and if they are awake and listening - and by all readers of this online magazine, if they read this - if any of 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.
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