Christmas In February

photo: group, susan, anita, linda, eva

Club honored by Susan, Anita, Linda and Eva today.

Chocolate Frogs Still Unfound

Paris:- Thursday, 20. February 2003:- No bush-beating - goodnews first! Er, weather news this is. In this department this town is coming out of a glum and frigid slump, with a doubling of temperatures from yesterday to today.

Okay, I am excited. Temperatures doubling from three to six degrees - in the daytime - are not really all that stunning. There's no risk of dehydration. But if you subtract the wind that was making three feel like two or one, then six is true highlife.

And there's more, better to come. Friday afternoon is forecast to be a general sunball day, and so isphoto: full glasses of the week Saturday. High for Friday should be nine - triple! triple - Monday or Tuesday's miserable effort. Saturday might be a bit less, but there are no complaints here because this will be a teensy bit above 'average' for the year, etc.

The France-2 TV-weather news guy was spinning in glee - so happy was he to give us good news again. He admitted - he couldn't avoid it, for it was there to see - that Sunday will be a return to a certain level of gloom, but turned his back on it and told TV viewers to ignore it.

First photo of today's unrehersed liquids.

Maybe we should. Le Parisien's prediction does show threatening fronts arriving from where the customary threatening fronts come from, but continues the nine-high temperature prediction. Let's bet on this. The odds might not be good, but what have we to lose?

Therefore, today, I put on one layer less and walk to the Raspail métro entry, hardly needing gloves. I wear them anyhow, just in case. My watch says the timing is good so I leave the métro at Odéon, to stroll down the Rue Dauphine to the Seine.

This is about 50 percent more pleasant than usual. Local school holidays are in their second week, but it seems as if two-thirds of Parisians are absent. On my way to the Seine I hear more American voices than French.

In truth, the 'voices' are of two women. Usually I would pass about 500 people between Odéon to the river, but today it is probably no more than six. This is partly because I swing left at the Rue de Nesle and take the alley-like Rue de Nevers, where there are no people at all.

From the Pont-Neuf I see that there are sunbathers sitting on the quays around the tip of the Ile de la Cité. Since it is really still February, the sunbathers are wearing clothes. But they are out there. All four of them.

After Samaritaine the block of terraces along the Quai du Louvre are well-sprinkled with terrassians, acting like they are in Paris in some month other than April. Not really brave - it is warm enough. When I come up to it, the club's café La Corona has even more baskers on its terraces.

There are a lot of clients in the café too. Word of today's weather here must have reached across the dismal Channel and up to northern, ice and fog-bound burgs.

In the café's 'grande salle' I find the server-lady, Linda Thalman, preparing to read Le Monde. From the looks of it she has read 'Le Monde' and is just about the read tomorrow's date just below the name. I save her the bother.

Linda says, "I got nothing done today." It is 15:00 and I figure there are 12 hours left of today, so it is early times yet.

She shows me her new digital camera. It is a small, shiny, somewhat heavy thing with lots of strange buttons, leversphoto: pre club restos of the week and other dials. She says she is going to read the user manual for it some day. In the meantime she is saving hundreds of euros a week by not buying film, and getting it developed, with double sets of prints.

Club members' restaurant cards remind secretary of breakfast.

Susan Ellis arrives. Susan comes to the club from Montsouris in the 14th arrondissement, after being in a dozen foreign countries in the 'past 30 years.' One of them was Houston in Texas.

With all her experience of moving into foreign countries Susan decided to meet the people she shares her apartment building with. For Christmas she made some cookies, put them in packages with a card, and left one packet outside each of her neighbor's doors in her building.

This club has had 'firsts' before, but I think this must be a true 'first' for France. This was such a stunning departure from the normal rules of behavior - only minor nods allowed to neighbors in the first year! - that many of them were thrown into a proper tizzy.

Outside of finding a bouquet of flowers resting by her apartment's door one day, nothing much overt has happened yet. But by letting her neighbors know who she is, Susan has easily skipped five standard years of 'getting to know you.'

Although unorthodox, it is a pretty good idea. Its the best one I've heard in the past five or six weeks. If I knew how to make cookies I would do it in my building too. I am very eager to find out why there appear to be pineapples on the roof.

Eva Lee arrives at 15:50. She is not late because she started lunch a hour before the club meeting began. "I have had enough to eat for four days," she says.

Susan says she knows a soup place that is good to go to on Fridays because the soup is made on Wednesdays. "It is the best day," she says, "Because the soup has been seething for two days."

With this, Linda tosses her lunchtime restaurant's card on the table, to join Eva's. If my breakfast place had cards, I'd throw mine on the table too. Lunchtime restaurant cards on the table are another club 'first' I think.

At about this point, the 'Waiter of the Week' Patrick brings a young lady to the club's table. She isn't here to join the club, but she is looking for Americans who live in Paris so she can ask them survey questions about frozen food.

Susan agrees to do this, but after 17:00, which is after the club's regulation meeting time. Susan says shephoto: super sunlight of the week knows something about frozen food. I used to know, but I don't anymore. It is hard on the teeth without a microwave oven.

Anita Bennett arrives, out of breath, from her Cordon Bleu wine course where she's just taken the exam. It doesn't seem as if the 'test' involved tasting any wine.

Blazing sunlight in café prevents photos of anything except liquids.

Patrick, when he returns with more drink, wants member Terri Blazek to know how much he appreciated the chocolates she sent to him in her Christmas package that was mailed to the café in care of the club's secretary in December. He says they were very good.

When Linda asks what this is about and I tell her, she says "Thanks for the towels!"

The club's secretary is stunned. He's forgotten to open the presents Terri sent to him in the same package. Suddenly, in the middle of this 'report,' we have Christmas 2002, again, right now, without any tree or lights. What a dubious, but nevertheless true 'first!'

The Chicago subway map envelope is fantastic! The card that is inside it is wonderful Terri! Everything is wrapped up so perfectly, all in red, with ribbons. Rip. Shred. Gazooks - a travelling case for Faber-Castell pencils! I have never seen anything like this before.

Egad. With a dozen silver, already sharpened, 'Grip 2001' Faber-Castell pencils in it - enough for ten years. Hyper nifty! There's a big box of 'Les Sarments de Médoc,' which are tangerine-flavored dark chocolate twigs. They'll last a year, now that there's only ten months of it left. Oh - oh - there's a brilliant lithograph done by Terri. '37 South Wabash, 1937.' It'll get framed! By Dimitri.

Finally, and not least, there's a sack full of 'Santa's Coal Bubble Gum' - for those late nights early in the morning when I am writing club 'reports.' All of this is beyond - thank you, Terri!

Well, the ill-kept terrible secret is out of the bag. Your Café Metropole Club secretary is a true boob. There is no way to gloss this over. My head is hanging low. I think I'll have one of the chocolates.

But first I crawl crimsoned-faced back here, to today's 'report.' I humbly submit that Linda says, "After taking salsa for two years, I'm still in Salsa 101. It's really hard. One, two, three is harder than rock-and-roll's one, two, three, four."

All the same, when we are out on the La Corona's terrace getting the 'Group Photo of the Week,' Linda doesphoto: crazy legs of the week show us her salsa legs. Passing cars honk their horns. Civilians look as though they are going to rise from their tables and do one, two, three.

Back inside the café, Linda pulls on her parka. "I am not making the Fashion Statement of the Week," she says. Anita, Eva and Susan say that it matches her basic scheme of red and black, even though it is sort of turquoise. Linda buzzes off, to beat the traffic - which is lighter than usual.

These 'salsa legs' belong to Linda Thalman. Beep, beep!

At exactly 17:00, as agreed, the young lady returns to conduct her survey with Susan, about frozen foods. They move to another table to do this, but the club meeting is over - with Anita and Eva staying for the overtime part caused by the secretary's inertia.

When the survey is completed Susan returns. I catch - "I don't know you well enough to needle you," Susan says to Anita, who returns, "Go ahead!" Ah - the club members! What would the club do without them?

Susan Ellis is the poetry editor for the online magazine 'Moondance.' When you have the opening page, click on 'sections' and then look for 'poetry' in the bar on the right-hand side.

Call for Your Favorite Restaurants

This endless repeat 'Call for Restaurants' is receiving a constant trickle of candidates. This is convincing me that it will be possible to put a list together, even if I'm in a little doubt about whether I can do it in this century.

I think the 'list' will serve everybody better if it is more than just names and addresses. Some of you have already gone this step further. I think it will be worth it even if I never eat in any of them. My memory of food is a bit hazy anyway.

About the 'Café Metropole Club About' Page

If you have rashly made up your mind to become a member of this club it might be a good idea to read the 'About the Café Metropole Club' page first, but nobody can stop you from not reading it. It explains a bit about the club, like about it being free. The rest of the information doesn't amount to much.

Skip this 'About' page if you are pressed for time. All you really need to 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. It's like the club that's too easy to join, so only more than 400 people have done so.

More club 'lore' has been forgotten than ever existed. Luckily all of it that does exist can be found in past club 'reports' if you are hardy enough to plough through some of them.

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

This club's meetings begin - usually on time - in Paris at 15:00 on Thursdays and continue until 17:00, in Europe's typical Metric Time Zone - which is inexplictly 'CET' for short and not 'tMTZ' - and known elsewhere as 3 pm to 5 pm in some other worldwide areas, even though club meetings are usually only held in Paris.

Come by with your own new 'Quote of the Week' handy or mention your hometown as a possible 'City ofphoto: terrace, la corona the Week' or invent any other 'Things of the Week.' New true 'firsts' will be welcome too, with 'first' often having preference over 'true.' The club secretary's 'firsts' don't count.

Café La Corona this afternoon in winter.

'No-names' is an option you can also opt-in for if you prefer to be 'not found' on the Internet, or 'out-opted.' 'No rules' have creased being an 'exception.' They are not a 'rule' either anymore. There are some other 'exceptions' so it seldom pays to pay attention.

Whatever you 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 ever read this - if it should happen to be written here, as happens 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