Paris' Tropical Weather

photo: group, mary, lauren, laurel, eva, barry, doug, nancy, ron, emily, ellen

Ten 'Members of the Week,' plus the waiter, minus
member number one.

Secretary in Coma, Loses Marbles

Paris:- Thursday, 12. June 2003:- I forget what the forecast was, but yesterday was a beautiful day, for summer, here. Some time very early this morning it caved in. Rain on the head woke me up, and the humidity was terrible.

Later on, when I staggered into consciousness, the humidity was still suffocating. It isn't often that Paris in the late spring feels like Cuba in the summer. I thought, 'this isn't a Hawaiian-shirt day, unless one has a cigar to go with it.' Since I had no cigar to go with breakfast, I put on an ordinary summer shirt.

Tonight's TV-weather news forecast is only for tomorrow. It is supposed to be mostly sunny, starting out with 15 degrees and hitting 26 in the afternoon. I think this might be lower than today's temperature this afternoon.

But it's hard to tell because Le Parisien forecasted a high of 26 for today. A '26' feeling like 34 in the jungle. Phwuh! The Parisien's forecast for tomorrow is mostly sunny too, butphoto: drinks, orangina, tea with a high of 30. If today was any indication - for example, Colmar in eastern France had a record high of 37 today instead of the predicted 32 - then tomorrow might be - what?

Club members are discouraged from wearing 'sensible' shows, but who cares what they drink?

For Saturday, Le Parisien says we can expect a day 'in the tropics.' Sunday is to be worse, with a day of 'latitude zéro.' Monday is expected to be a day of total sunshine, with temperatures at 30 or above for all of France.

Not an 'exception,' but reserve some doubt about this. The TV-weather news wouldn't venture beyond tomorrow. This means the whole thing may crack up, pour rain to clear away the fug, and have the re-set start off at a lower, supportable level.

My trip to Châtelet in the métro is an uneventful steambath. The strikes are over and I have to spend a ticket for the ride. On the day that was set for a half million kids to write their BAC-Philo exams, they are writing them. The subject is 'dialogue.' The striking teachers gave the go-ahead last night.

The garbagemen are still on strike in Marseille, but the rest of France should be running normally again by tomorrow. The conflict isn't over - it continues for the moment in the Assembly National, and in Marseille's streets. The unions have promised that if the politicians don't get it right, they will be back. Probably in the fall.

Leaving the métro's steamy underground at Châtelet, I find another one above ground on the Rue de Rivoli. I swim to the club's café La Corona where everybody looks like they are in the same coma as I am in. At the bar, Monsieur Ferrat says, "Il y a du monde," waiting for the club's secretary. It is 14:55.

I meet Ellen Campbell and Emily Campbell, who are from Winston-Salem, North Carolina. I am pretty sure this is the 'City of the Week' and it isn't even 15:00 yet. They are talking to Mary Marcus from Dallas, Texas. All three have expected to find light-weight spring-like weather in Paris - not at-home weather.

It is the Campbell's first visit to Paris. Ellen won a trip for two for a week in a raffle, and extended it to two. Mr. Campbell prefered to go to London, so Ellen brought Emily to Paris instead.

As soon as Ellen learned she was coming to Paris, she took 12 lessons in French. I think winning a trip to Paris by club members is an extraordinary true 'first.'

It is also Mary's first trip to Paris. She has come for a vacation, and thinks Paris should be air-conditioned like every other civilized tropical country. She has been browsing in the shops and some of these are air-conditioned. You go in them and get cool and thoughtful about the prices, and when you leave them without buying anything, the outside climate clouts you.

Ron Bristol, a club member from Austin, Texas, who appears at club meetings three or four times a year, appearsphoto: waters of the week again. He thinks Paris is having three of Dallas' four seasons, none of which are 'the rest of the year.' But not for long - Ron is going to St. Petersburg to see its 300th anniversary now that the razzle- dazzle is over.

In fact, most of today's members were professed 'hydraulics.'

Doug Fuss, a well-known member who always visits Paris when Savannah gets weather like we have now, arrives and says, "There's no shade at the bus stops at Concorde." He adds that Austin, at least, has telephone poles for shade.

Eva Lee from Tranquility, New Jersey, floats in from visiting the south of France with Sally Dilgart, who returned to Chicago yesterday. Eva knows Sally went to Roissy yesterday and she hasn't come back. From today's club meeting then - 'Bon Voyage Sally!' Eva does not say Paris is more humid than New Jersey. Sally is not here to say it is no worse than Chicago.

At 15:35 a thirsty Mary Marcus asks, "Who is the 'Waiter of the Week?'"

Mary and the Campbells had drinks when I arrived 40 minutes earlier, but nobody has remembered that we are in a café again until now. Ron scans the menu and discovers that San Pellegrino costs the same as Perrier, but comes in a bigger bottle.

Today, as an exception, I need one of these. When the 'Waiter of the Week' does show up, I forget to pay enough attention - still in a coma - to stop my automatic order of a double-express, and everybody else either gets a San Pellegrino or a Perrier, and I get hot café.

New member Laurel Avery, from Nyack, New York, shows up with new member Barry Wright from Santa Fe, New Mexico. Laurel does the club's non-obligatory questionnaire, and writes that she has been in Paris 16 times before, and there's never going to be an 18th time because the 17th is going to last forever.

Barry does the questionnaire too and answers a question not asked, by giving permission to publish even the nude photos of him, in Metropole.

When I look up next from writing some very sketchy notes, I see that member Lauren Camera-Murray has slipped into the meeting, and is sitting opposite Laurel. Before I can introduce them, I forget both their names.

In fact, with six new members and four already-members on hand I am losing track of my secretary marbles. I see, belatedly, that new member Nancy Pillifaut has arrived, also from - from where? It's either from Austin because Ron has said Nancy will be coming, or she is from Dallas, but Nancy has come before Lauren - who dropped in from the sky somehow.

Here it is. Nancy is from Dallas, Texas. There is a lot of talk about an airport called Love Field near Dallas that is restricted to flights with destinations in Oklahoma because of some porky Federal law that decrees that the Dallas-Fort Worth thing is the only one allowed to have other destinations.

I'm giving up on this meeting 'report.' Quite early on the club's mascot, a sparrow named Sam, flew in to check the baguette-crumb situation and I have only absent-mindedly added this vital bit of club news to the end of the day's notes.

Finally, at 17:30, after all ten present members have disappeared in seven different directions, I amphoto: half ham sandwich, club food of the week standing on the café's terrace thinking about the climate in the métro, when club member number one, Heather Stimmler-Hall, says, "I thought the meetings went on until six."

Documentary evidence of the 'Food of the Week.'

So we go over to the Samaritaine building that has been turned into a five-floor Kenzo paradise sandwiched between a below street-level sushi bar and a bar-restaurant on the top floors named 'Kong.'

This sleek and ultra-modern place has been open two weeks. Heather scans the menu and says it has very reasonable prices. But when I ask to take a photo, a manager-type says the place needs no publicity because they only want chic Parisians to come and make the place fashionable for six weeks, before settling into the routine of catering to ordinary folks - who come to Paris instead of various 'redneck rivieras.'

I can take a hint. I'm not going to give this 'Kong' place any free publicity - not when the Samaritaine's open-air rooftop terrace is right next door.

The 'Hat Story of the Week'

This is not actually about hats, but about some real events after the club meeting and the 'Kong' business. The first happened in the Rue Emile Richard, the road that slices through the Montparnasse cemetery.

I was walking along idly wondering why cars were parked on the sidewalks of this street with no buildings, when an approaching old man stopped when we were abreast, to complain about the parked cars on the sidewalks.

The conversation wandered off to his great great-grandparents and his great-grandparents who are buried in the Saint-Vincent cemetery on Montmartre. His parents are safely stowed in the Montrouge cemetery. He said the Montparnasse cemetery, on either side of us, was only for famous folks with influence.

Himself, if he was lucky, would be planted in the one in Montrouge. Slightly less good would be Bagneaux, but still acceptable.

In parting, I suggested he should give the parked cars' rearview mirrors a passing whack. He saidphoto: interior, whole group, minis one he'd done that as a kid on Montmartre. I said I thought he could take the kid stuff up again. At 85, what does he have to lose?

Extremely rare interior photo of ten 'Members of the Week' in one photo.

Then I ran into my ex-landlady in the Rue Daguerre. She complimented me on picking a place to live that overlooks the cemetery. She said the renovations in my old apartment are going ahead but slowly. When it is finished she wants me to come by to assist with the 'arrosé.'

This is a kind of vernissage. Instead of getting 'varnished,' you sprinkle the new apartment with rosé wine. When I went by there the other day, painters had painted it all white again, like it was when I lived there.

In my own building a lady coming out of the elevator asked me to hold its door open. She fished around in the post trash bin and got a bit of cardboard and wedged it into a crack inside the elevator. She said it would prevent the elevator doors from sticking shut, and trapping users inside.

When I rode up to my floor I didn't take my eyes off this flimsy but essential piece of elevator equipment until the safety doors opened at my floor.

Inside my apartment, as I put my work sack down on the table, its strap fell off. The metal strap fastener had unbolted itself. Part of the metal either expanded or shrank. In the bathroom to wash my hands, the toiletpaper roll suddenly leaped off the faucet it hangs on, and scored a perfect ringer on the upright handle of the toilet brush.

There is something crazy about this weather here.

About the 'Café Metropole Club' About Page

Being a member of this club is pretty low-stress, despite all the talk about climate. If you care to read the 'About the Café Metropole Club' page itphoto: two wines of the week will tell you a bit about the club and how informal it pretends to be. Being free and having sparrows as mascots are its other plus-points. If better information is your goal, I suggest that you think twice about joining this club.

But wait! Not all members are 'hydraulics.'

You can give this 'About' page a pass if its exceedingly needless details are tiresome. Knowing more than the one fact that you can become a lifetime member of this online magazine's live, free and real club by being at any one or more of its meetings in Paris, yourself, is next-to-useless.

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

Club meetings begin - contrary to Paris usual 'exceptions' - about 15:00 on Thursdays and continue until 17:00, in Europe's only Zone of Kong Time - which is really 'CET' for short and not 'ZKT' - and elsewhere known as 3 pm to 5 pm in unhip areas of the planet, even though club meetings are nearly exclusively only held in the Paris part of it.

Bringing a 'Quote of the Week' or concocting any other 'Things of the Week' are not 'rules' to be obeyed. True 'firsts' are more than welcome too, with 'first' scoring far higher than 'true' if they are not untrue. This is a general rule rather than a club ex-'rule' or informal 'exception.'

If you prefer to be 'not found' on the Internet, or 'opted-out-opted,' please tell the club's secretary before hegraphic: club location map makes you mildly famous. 'No rules' have ceased being an 'exception' or a 'rule' a long time ago. There are some other 'exceptions,' but really, none worth mentioning much.

Talking at meetings is okay. Whatever you say will be honestly appreciated by the other members present if they are listening, which they really do sometimes - even when listening - and by all readers of this online magazine, if it should happen to be written here, as some of it is, sometimes.*

*The above paragraph is unchanged since last week on account of some of the items in this week's 'Hat Story' being extremely unlikely even if they happened for real today.

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