Metropole, 'On Strike!'

photo: cafe st malo, montparnasse

Early evening in Montparnasse.

Dumas Moves to 5th

by Ric Erickson

Paris:- Monday, 2. December 2002:- The regular weekly meeting of the editorial staff of this magazine was held for the first time last week. Nobody volunteered to keep notes because the staff was in a snit, partly on account of never having been at a regular weekly editorial meeting before.

As well as I can remember it, this is what happened. Somebody - was it 'Ed' or Ricopicto? - complained bitterly about being called out on the traditional 'day off' on Tuesday - the last one - to work, when they preferred to be asleep.

'Regards-Ric' said he was going to take his world-famous signature elsewhere if the management of this magazine didn't come up with a retirement plan right snappy. He said he was going to bring up the issue of his current salary - or lack thereof - at the next regular meeting too.

The Café Metropole Club's 'secretary' grumbled about too many new members coming to meetings at once, instead of spreading themselves over meeting days when nobody shows up. The secretary also said the member-free days were fewer than specified in his contract.

The newest member of the team, 'Champagne-Ricky,' groused about not getting any free samples even through he doesn't drink. He said he needs them for his 'image,' and for impressing people who don't believe this is the only Internet magazine about Paris that you can drink while you read it too.

'Toon-Ric' did not complain as such. Rather, he wanted to know who had 'borrowed' his heirloom number six Rapidograph,photo: demo, tuesday and when did the management expect to fix the scanner? At this, Ricopicto jumped in to say he was 'working-to-rule' by absolutely refusing to photograph any more cartoons. "What's the danged scanner for?" he demanded.

The highlight of the week - nearly having 80,000 flag wavers in for tea.

The events column writer and gatherer of items does not have a name anybody knows. He said he was 'gathering,' but not writing because doing the columns has, as he said, 'become tedious.' Ricopicto jumped in to say he was 'working-to-rule' by absolutely refusing to photograph any more posters or department store Christmas windows. "What are the danged photos for?" he demanded.

The Regards-Ric who does the replies to readers' emails complained that none of them were crazy enough to be worth putting in the email column. "I absolutely refuse to do a column with readers' emails praising the magazine. They are certainly welcome, but we're not a bunch of apple-polishers here."

Everybody in the phone booth where this meeting was being held was silent - possibly thinking about the last time they last saw a polished apple - for a moment before Toon-Ric demanded, "Where the dickens were you last Tuesday?"

No doubt the long-suffering reader can understand that running a magazine about Paris is no piece of cake when each member of the staff considers themselves to be an 'exception.'

Near the end, they all more or less all wanted to know at once why the boss 'Ed' had spent most of all day Saturday wiring up his hifi instead of assuming some of these other personalities and cranking out Saturday's usual quota of 5000 words.

What could I say? Would they care that I haven't heard the thing for five years? Would they know I had to make the cables for it? Would they realize how tricky it is to fumble speaker wires from end to end so that 'right' goes to the 'right' channel and nothing ends up 'left-right' or the thing will pop its tubes?

As it was, they didn't care a pickle. The democratic show-of-hands they held went badly against mephoto: grocery, rue gaite with a result of seven to one. They voted to hold an unlimited one-issue strike and refused to return to normal 'working-to-rule' until each got his own polished apple.

A sometimes lonely grocery in the Rue Gaité.

For this reason, this issue - such as it is - has been produced by one person working alone without any aid from the regular staff. I hope you will understand this disagreeable situation. If not, please send your angry emails to our striking email ding-a-ling. See the 'mailto:' below.

And Now For the Weather

Tonight's TV-weather news has not been complex. For tomorrow afternoon the animation showed the sun winking from behind very black clouds in the afternoon. Same for Wednesday, but no winks for either day in the morning.

According to TV, Thursday will be worse, with temperatures staying even with Tuesday and Wednesday, which are to be lower than Mondays' high of 10 degrees. Except for temperatures of about seven for Thursday, Le Parisien thinks the sun will be winking then. I think not.

Le Parisien also predicts the status quo for next Friday, but tonight's TV-weather lady didn't want to even make a wild leap into the unknown and showed videos of cute animals instead.

Not that the past matters anymore, but it has been seriously raining here. If your bare feet are getting rusty, go into any shop and ask them to show you this fall's line of sloshware.

Last week there was an incredible 'faux-pas' committed here. Even if you consider that these 'faux-pas' are committed all the time - not unusual! - this was an exceptionally exceptional one.

The living person referred to in the last issue as 'a helper's helper of Metropole' is, in fact - um - a bona-fide Café Metropole Club member. He is Paul Susi, club member 323, who joined the club during its meeting in New York City last 27. December.

Paul himself is too modest to have brought this to my attention. Let me just note that there are some very alert readers in the neighborhood of Manhattan.

Paul has furnished the URL, like he did last week's, for Wunderground, which is one with historical weather info for French cities - day by day. If you don't find 'Paris' listed on this Web site, do not complain to Paul but send your hate mail to our regular ding-a-ling.

Paris' weather history is based on the reports from the France-Météo weather station on the modest heights of Montsouris, about 1.5 kilometres from Metropole's editorial office. Actually, it is somewhat further away on lousy weather days.

For a 'normal' month of December - I haven't had time to check this out on account of the current 'strike' going on here. See above for this December's real beginning.

'Changed Blues' Is Discontinued This Week

Not that I remember what this is about. My excuses - the Mgt.

Café Life

On account of our 'strike' by overly 'social' editorial workers, the lengh of this column has become so overwhelming that Café Life's Dimitri's First Car has been shuffled over to another Café Life page called Café Metropole Café Life 2.' This isn't very original but it is the best I can do during the 'situation.'


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