"I Learned to Read and Write"

photo: group, joe, anita, doug

Joe, Anita, and Doug's names all fit into this 'group
photo' caption, for a change.

'Thing of the Week' Is a True 'First'

Paris:- Thursday, 23. January 2003:- When I got back from New York yesterday it was still dark because it was about 05:30. At first it seemed as if France was 'closed' at Roissy's airport, but the frontier police finally decided to ignore whatever was bothering them, and let about 200 of us all-nighter flyers into the country.

I was even more surprised to learn that not much is open early in the morning. Luckily the most important establishment was, and I was able to have my first café in 16 days at the Café Rendez-Vous at Denfert. Whew! Now I know what drought is.

It was, therefore, some time before I noticed the weather conditions. Since these do not resemble New York's often blue-sky sub-zeros, I still don't know for sure about the weather except that there is no cold wind blowing crosstown from the East River to the Hudson in Paris.

Today's forecast in Le Parisien looks dubious. Tonight's TV-weather news looked even more dubious a few hours ago. Will this week's one sunny day be tomorrow or Saturday? Whichever day it turns out to be, I will be out in it taking the week's photos - to backup the next issue's photos, which were mostly taken in New York.

If it wasn't the Café Metropole's Club's meeting today I could tell you something aboutphoto: anita bennett these photos - something more than how my skinny fingers got cold taking them - but today is club meeting day, so they will have to wait until today's 'report' is 'in the bag.'

To the task at hand then - today's skies have no particular contours so nothing is missed by taking the métro to the club. In case I do not mention it elsewhere, the métro line four's station at Saint-Michel is closed for renovations.

Anita is taking wine courses at the 'Cordon Bleu' and looking forward to trying the Café Metropole sparkling wine.

The surprise about this is that when the train goes through the station there are actual workmen to be seen who appear to be working. This was never the case when the Cité station was closed - it is now open - but the train goes slightly too fast for underground 'sidewalk' engineers, so I'm not sure it is worth it to make continual round trips between the Cité and Odéon stations.

Anyway, as I was saying, I left town the day the 'Soldes d'Hiver' didn't start, and in New York I didn'tphoto: cordon bleu, vins find everything I wanted in the all-year 'Soldes de Toujours,' so I pop into Samaritaine where they have 20-percent off the 'Soldes d'Hiver' prices, and manage to find a sweater that has nothing off - full non-soldes' price in other words. What the heck! It's a nicer sweater than I could find in non-soldes times.

But she forgot to tell us how the 'course' tastes.

This reminds me of another thing about New York prices. I was going around thinking 'gosh, everything is so expensive here' - for about ten days until I realized that I should convert all dollar prices into euros. Golly! Some things are really cheap in New York! Four-block rides in Lincoln limos for only six measly euros, with Latino music thrown in for free.

The 'soldes' cause me to be late for today's meeting. It won't happen again. Soldes will, but I won't.

At 15:05 members Anita Bennett from Boston and Joe Fitzgerald are in the club's section of the café La Corona's 'grande salle' waiting more or less patiently for me.

Shortly after a short bit of chit-chat Joe says, "Ahh, that's good café!" I think, the club's secretary thinks, golly! At 15:10 we have the 'Quote of the Week' just because Joe has a café.

Joe asks Anita how she liked her lessons at the Alliance Française. She says they were hard - her class was driven hard. Joe agrees with this because he tried it too, until switching to another school in the 14th arrondissement. To myself I wonder, 'does the 14th lack for nothing?'

He says, "I learned to read and write."

Except for the club's French and Parisian members and my own kids, I have never heard of anybody learning to write French and I tell Joe this. While Joe finds this hard to believe - let me interrupt myself here to declare Joe's writing in French is the 'Thing of the Week' - he also says the 'dictée' is unknown to him. Anita hasn't heard of it either.

Anita says, "Why go through all that work when I have to go back to the USA?"

This may look like a 'quote of the week' but it is actually the 'Question of the Week.' Anybody who can write in French is practically a shoo-in for the Académie Française, even if they are never required to do it in the United States.

Joe changes the subject by mentioning a good wine he found at a Monoprix. He bought a bottle and it was good so he went back and bought a case. When that was finished he returned to get a truckload, but the Monoprix had run out of it.

When it comes to good wine, when Monoprix runs out of it, that's all there is. Joe says he's foundphoto: joe fitzgerald a good replacement at another chain, named 'Ed l'Epicier,' which is well-known for basic foodstuffs at low prices. This 'Ed,' by the way, is not related in any way to the secretary's boss.

Doug Fuss picks this moment to arrive and as soon as he shakes hands all around and sits down he says he's leaving because he's busy measuring the temperatures in his refrigerator.

Joe is the only man in Paris wearing next year's ultra-hip two-button jacket style.

He rented it along with the apartment he rents, and he has had to get it fixed, and this has not turned out to be easy. He says it is warmer than New York inside it. In fact, it is warmer inside his 'frigo' than Paris is outside today.

He is worried about it because he has to return to the USA soon, and he doesn't want to leave the 'frigo' in disrepair, because then he might be forced to seriously fix it by buying his landlord a new one.

Doug has a digital thermometre inside his 'frigo' and he is monitoring its temperature, to find out if it is changing temperatures at odd times, or having odd temperatures. All of this is so he can tell the repairman the symptoms, because the first 'fix' didn't take and the repairman obviously can't hang around all day measuring temperatures.

Then Anita says she has to go because she has to lug a ten kilo six-pack of water up six flights of stairs, because somebody else - a friend - is taking over the apartment where she's staying.

Doug says this should be called 'The Humanitarian Gesture of the Week' and Joe agrees. So Anita goes off and Doug and Joe talk about how romantic Venice is, especially if you take an overnight sleeper train to get there.

I don't know how 'romantic' this may be because both of them go into all their stories aboutphoto: doug fuss the types they've shared sleeper compartments with. In some classes, on some trains, there may be as many as six in one compartment.

Doug has 'cold-places' stories warmer than the club secretary's.

With one thing and another, Doug says I should write that the club finished its meeting 'on time' at 16:45. Joe agrees with this and he goes out with Doug - who is going to examine his 'frigo,' while Joe is just going to be natty and about town.

Just to make sure no late members turn up late-as-usual, the club's secretary hangs around until 17:10. This is when the café's patron, Monsieur Naudan, comes up to ask if everything is okay with the club. He offers the secretary a drink, but the secretary declines.

Mr Naudan then asks for the Web URL of the 'reports' because he curious about what is going on in his café. I give him the latest version of 'Ed's' card, and tell him he is going to have a bit of reading to do.

There are, more or less, 169 meeting 'reports' online, if I count this one.

Hats Off to the Server-Lady

Linda Thalman played club 'secretary' rôle for the past two meetings while the usually real 'secretary' was in New York sitting around various medical facilities, mostly waiting to have one of his fat ears mended. The late upload of Linda's first club 'report' for 9. January was caused by sheer incompetence - not by Linda! - however.

The situation had improved somewhat for the second club meeting 'report' - for the 16. January meeting. The secretary now knows that 'Windows' isn't impossible to learn. It just takes a long time.

Linda described her notes as 'unreadable' but managed to set them in type and email them to me. What didn't pass through the temporary porthole I was using to access my email account in Paris, were the photos taken by the first meeting's 'Dallas Dude' with his nifty digital camera - a Canon, in case you are wondering.

Also, in case you are wondering, even though I wasn't at the meeting - I was probably at Manhattan's 2nd Avenuephoto: empty cups Deli eating the biggest triple- decker sandwich in creation - I do know the 'Dallas Dude's' real name, but do not know why he is the club member officially known as the 'Dallas Dude.' Time may enlighten us all, but in the meantime here are my thanks in public for re-sending the photos.

Today's members almost forgot to have anything to drink.

For digital photo fans, here is one curiosity. Photos taken with a particular camera may record as 144 dpi on a Macintosh system, while the identical photos will only be 72 dpi if the system used is Windows. Macs give you double the dots for the same price. Or maybe the camera's Windows software is worth only half as much.

Metropole's February Issues

Even though there will be one more issue appearing this month - weather permitting, next Monday - you need not worry about the lack of Metropole Paris issues in February. Although it is believed to be a short month, you can expect that there will be four issues, unless 'Ed' decides to make the whole thing - except the club 'reports' of course - bi-weekly.

Paris' Winter Sales Start Date

I had been authoritatively informed that the traditional 'Soldes d'Hiver' were to begin in Paris on Monday, 6. January. I was blatantly misinformed. For this reason I am holding off on the announcement of the date of next year's 'Soldes d'Hiver.'

Repeat Call for Your Favorite Restaurants

Be kind enough to send in the names of your favorite restaurants so that they can be put into a list that will be printed and handed out free to all attending members who remember to ask for it.

This will be a club-typical 'no rules' list and any sort of restaurant can be included, even if it is a snack-stand that you consider to have the best crêpes in town. Any café with decent café will be welcomed to the list too, mostly by the club's secretary.

The goal is to have an members-tested-proof list of about 50 restaurants or other eating joints. With this many, no list-contributor's favorite will be overwhelmed by other club 'listers' jam-packing it all the time.

There should be other details here, such as not omitting the address of the places, but putting all this in is too tedious. Do the right thing if you feel like it.

If you think you have already read the above, you probably have. But since this idea was introduced as a surprise to the club secretary, readers and members have surprised the secretary even more by sending in restaurant candidates.

Now he has to think up the 'other details' and 'do the right thing' in case any members do ask for the list - either in person at a club meeting - or by email. So far the list isn't long, but the idea is started and nobody knows where it will end. While this uncertainty continues, the 'list' is free for the asking.

The 'About the Café Metropole Club' Page

You can read the 'About the Café Metropole Club' page to learn how to become a member. You can learn other things from this page too, but not too much.

Ignore this 'About' page if you wish to - even though its information is next to useless. All you should know is that you can become a member of this online magazine's live, free and real club by simply being at one of its meetings in Paris.

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

This club's meetings begin - sometimes promptly - in Paris at 15:00 on Thursdays and continue until 17:00, in Europe's Central European Time Zone - which is 'CET' for short and not 'iTNT' - and known elsewhere as 3 pm to 5 pm in other worldwide areas, even thoughphoto: sliderule, by dallas dude, meet 09.01 club meetings are only held in Paris.

This non-member sliderule was present at the 9. January meeting. Photo by 'Dallas Dude.'

Bring your own new 'Quote of the Week' or mention your hometown as a possible 'City of the Week' or fabricate any other 'Things of the Week.' New true 'firsts' will be exceedingly welcome too, with 'first' being more necessary than 'true.'

'No-names' is an option you can also opt for if you prefer to be 'not found' on the Internet like the 'Dallas Dude.' 'No rules' have creased being an 'exception.' They are not a 'rule' either anymore.

For example, the club's secretary thought today's no-show new member might be from a city not already mentioned as a 'City of the Week.' This week there is no doubt - this week's 'City of the Week' award goes empty-handed again. Another zilch. Nada. Another dratted no 'City of the Week' week.

What you have to say may be truly appreciated by the other members present, and there almost always are some, and if they are listening which they do sometimes - and by all readers of this online magazine, if you read this - if it should happen to be written here, as some of it is sometimes.

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