'Cityless of the Week'

photo: group, lena, pedro, heather, barry, glennis, laurel

This week's group, from left, Lena, Pedro, Heather,
Barry, Glennis and Laurel.

Non-Barking New Members Welcomed

Paris:- Thursday, 3. July 2003:- Now that spring is safely out of the way and summer has begun, early spring weather has resumed here with scattered rain showers, cool temperatures and sunny periods that are brief.

Do I care? Nah! I'm not on holiday. I feel for those who lived through Paris' premature summer in spring and are now sitting by the seaside somewhere, wondering where summer went. They've been shown on the TV-news. They are all very brave and are putting on good fronts for the TV cameras.

But you know, there are people - there really are - who deliberately go to the channel coast, and they are shown too, putting on the seasonal stiff upper lip, saying how grand it is to be by the freezing cold gray seaside.

The odd thing is, none of them ever say they tried the Riviera and didn't like being warm, so they never leave the channel coast. Oh no. They act like they're nailed to its mists and fogs, and, what could be better?

To be philosophical about it, what difference does it make whether you go to afternoon movies in Dunkirk or Paris, so long as the theatre is heated?

But the weather isn't philosophical, it just is. As it is today, in fact. It's not raisins or figs. This isphoto: vin rose a French expression for things that aren't completely cloudy or completely sunny, or completely not raining all the time, nor completely warm 'for the time of year.'

Laurel's 'Wine of the Week' amounted to one glass.

In fact, according to tonight's TV-weather news, this is the exact and precise forecast for tomorrow, with maybe a bit more sun than not on Saturday. The high temperature is supposed to drift up from 23 to 24.

But this coming Sunday looks like it might be having a taste of almost- summer weather again. The long-range prediction for a couple of days from now calls for mostly sunny, and a high temperature of 25 whole blistering degrees. Be ready for it.

Today's Club Meeting

After an uneventful métro ride from Denfert to Châtelet and an uneventful stroll through the usual back streets to the Café La Corona, once installed in the club's area of the café's 'grande salle' I have about five minutes to read the métro paper, 'A Nous Paris,' before being joined by club member number one, who has brought along two midget new members named Lena and Pedro.

This makes Heather Stimmler-Hall one of the few members to have her entire immediate family enrolled as club members. Besides telling me that Lena and Pedro are Pinchers, she also mentions last night's hail storm on Montmartre, which happened when she was moving into the apartment where she's staying for the summer.

She asks Patrick, the 'Waiter of the Week,' for a glass of Evian. When it comes she says, "Crappy Evian, you'd think there would be ice in it. Every time I order a Coke there's ice in it I don't want."photo: big beer of the week

What to do with unwanted ice could be the 'Question of the Week,' but nobody thinks to ask it. I don't mean Lena and Pedro, because they are very quiet because they are unused to Paris cafés, and are far from their usual Riviera cafés.

Member Laurel Avery arrives at the same time as member Barry Wright. In fact it is possible that they arrive together, which is not altogether unusual.

Barry's 'Beer of the Week' amounted to one big glass.

"I wonder how long it'll take to get that blasé Paris attitude?" Heather wonders about Lena and Pedro. Having dogs in Paris is not easy for an owner, until they get their 'smarts.' While they can go to most restaurants, they are not allowed in parks like the Tuileries. Everybody at the club's tables gives them a pat to show them that the club's café is friendlier than an average park.

Member Glennis Desbien joins the meeting. Glennis joined the club in June of 2001, and still comes from Tonkawa, Oklahoma. On her visit to France this time she has been visiting Brittany instead of the more usual and much warmer south of France.

She says she went out fishing and caught a squid. She had never seen one before and was amazed when the fisherman running the boat cut the cuttle bone out of it so she could take it home for her bird.

Of course, since it is animal day at the club, the secretary forgets to ask what sort of bird Glennis has. It might have been the 'Bird of the Week' if it was an eagle or a hawk.

Barry and I have been talking about 'Better Living Through Chemistry' and about how he lived in Santa Fe but took on jobs in Detroit and other northern places I can't spell easily, and about times when the movies were cranked out by the hundreds by the old studio system.

Being able to see some of these movies again is a very good reason for living in Paris. Sometime, somewhere, some cinema is showing a movie you haven't seen since the 1930s, the '40s or '50s.

Barry is also a mine of odd facts and statistics. He says I should 'bear in mind' that more Americans have passports now than they used to have. The percentage has jumped from five to seven percent.photo: new members, lena, pedro

"But," he adds, "Only ten percent use them." He goes on to say that use has probably risen because Americans need passports to get into the USA when returning from Mexico, even though Mexico requires no passports for entry.

Who can blame the two new members for not holding rock-still for their official photo?

I do a swift calculation. If Barry's percentages are right, then about 18 million Americans have passports, but only about 1.8 million use them. 1,933,000 Americans spent 5,166,000 nights in hotels in Paris in 2001.

This could mean that many Americans who go to Mexico also come to Paris in any given year. Or it could mean that most of the Americans who go to Mexico never come back from there because they forgot to get passports.

With Glennis, who tells us about a renewal in school libraries of 'Huckleberry Finn' by Mark Twain, caused by a single plug by a popular TV personality, we cover a slew of other American subjects.

Thus the club's secrtary does not hear or record the non-stop conversation full of crucial Paris survival information shared between Heather and Laurel, until it comes back to dogs again.


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