A 2O Eye-ball Meeting

photo: group photo of the week

Even if you can't see them clearly, there really are 20 eyeballs in today's 'Group Photo of the Week.'

Blue Bell Honored and Other 'Firsts'

Paris:- Thursday, 13. March 2003:- Lately the weather predictions have been strange. When it is supposed to be a very nice day all over France the TV-weather map indicates this with one great sunball, shimmering against a very blue background. The icing on the cake was temperatures predicted to be 15 or 17, which is definitely not shabby for 'this time of year.'

It was all fantasy of course. In real life there was no 'blue' to begin with, and it took the sun two or three days to pierce the overcast. On account of this the temperatures stayed 'below normal' for this 'time of' - etc.

By the time the optimistic forecast had run its course of being exactly the opposite, the prediction shifted to gloomy last night - and this has brought us a perfectly fine day today. The temperatures are certainly higher than predicted, even with a bit of a cool wind.

So, now, tonight, in order to recuperate credibility, the TV-weather news is forecasting fine weather again. But to be on the safe side they have said temperatures will be no more than 12, rising to 14 by Sunday. And all-blue skies are forecast again.

The catch is, and here is a very big 'catch-22,' the catch is the forecast of easterly winds of 40 to 50 kms perphoto: citron presse hour. Winds are seldom mentioned, and experience with easterly winds is not good. Easterly winds bring no good. Forecasting them throws everything else into doubt, so you've been warned.

Le Parisien is as lyrical as always about the good forecast, but is about as doubtful as I am. They've put in the sunballs, but added that 12 degrees is no prize. Therefore, if you are tempted to take off your sweaters, don't leave them behind. I can feel the wind right now.

First sight this year of a citron pressé - can spring be far off?

But there is no denying that the air was pretty mellow this afternoon when it was still windless. When I reached the club's café, its terrace was occupied with baskers and the aspect was truly Parisian - of, ah - 'how sweet it is!'

Yes, sweet, to be sitting on a wide terrace in the full path of sunbeams, with an unobstructed view of Thursday afternoon traffic on the Quai du Louvre, with short gaps allowing glimpses of the Quartier Latin across the Seine. Not even Paris is perfect even when it is pretty good.

In La Corona's 'grande salle' Susan Ellis is in the club's area before I arrive. She is early because she has been trekking all over, getting bookstores to put up her poetry poster. She asks me if I have any friends in the bookstore business, but I haven't any.

I have friends in the book-buying business, but they do not lend them to me. My 'books' come from a Paris public library. The city currently has posters all over the place covered with poems, for World Poetry Day, but I have been out of town, out at the Cadillac Ranch.

The rest of this 'report' s going to be kind of sketchy because a lot of members, and some new members, arrive all more or less on top of each other. There is barely time to shake hands, rearrange the chairs, explain the membership booklet - before someone new arrives, causing a new rearrangement of chairs, shifting of coats and bags to yet further corners, ordering of drinks, standing up and shaking more hands, explaining opt-in and opt-out 'name' possibilities, and my notes don't keep up with this.

Members Carolyn and Bill Cross arrive from Waveland, Mississippi - "Whew! Mardi Gras is over!" - and Bill has the 'Camera of the Week,' because he is carrying a heavy otto called a Yashica 635 which is full of 120 roll film that makes really big negatives, called '6-by-6' in Europe because hamburgers here have metric weights.

Susan, who recently joined the club, even more recently 'discovered' the Rue de la Gaité - "Wow!" - and the small but interesting, only bookstore in it.

Kathi and Bill Liganzewski arrive, for about their third club visit in a row. Paris has gotten a walking week's-worth smaller.

They are immediately followed by Yolanda and Richard Massie, from Brooklyn, New York City - which is onlyphoto: camera yashica 635 about a stone's throw from the Liganzewski's hometown of Long Beach on Long Island. However they are sitting further apart than a 'stone's throw,' so they use the available audio waves to compare neighborhoods.

Then, a rarity, a non-member arrives. This is a person who is 'checking out' the club, undecided about membership - so there is no note in the members' booklet, no photo - but who stays a hour, right in the middle of the Brooklyn-Long Beach conversation flying overhead.

Not digital, not miniature, not lightweight - big neg iron-man 'Camera of the Week.'

Theraiz Whyte and Peter Zielinski arrive as new members, and they come from this week's 'City of the Week' - which is, get ready for this - is Blue Bell, Pennsylvania!

At this point, as far as the club secretary is concerned, this meeting might as well be over. It has achieved its objective of a 'City of the Week' with Blue Bell. But, wait -

Almost on the heels of Theraiz and Peter another new member arrives, from Gainesville, Florida, and she has even heard of - but not actually visited - Blue Bell. She says it the really real. This new member's name is Sno White.

It is not a club 'rule' - because there aren't any anymore except for some nuisance exceptions - but one thing that doesn't become a 'Thing of the Week' is members' names. But having Sno White for a member is definitely a 'first' - for the club, for Paris, for France, for Europe, for the whole World Wide Internet!

Actually, the name is Dr. Sno E. White, MD. In the members' booklet she has written that she found Metropole by doing a search for 'weather' in Paris. Ah, um, I must mention this to 'Ed' because he treats the weather here somewhat skeptically, rather than with the utter seriouness it may deserve if search engines are locking on to it.

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