''It's a Beautiful Evening''

photo: group, tomoko, steve, daniele

The 'Group of the Week' - Tomoko, Steve and Daniele.

''And I'll Be Drinking Outside''*

Paris:- Thursday, 10. July 2003:- It may be a 'first,' but I don't feel like checking up on it. The 'first' being that today's weather is what the TV-news and the paper predicted on Monday. Did I write that it was supposed to be 30 degrees today?

Or was it a few degrees less? I guess there isn't much difference between 28 and 30, if there's no wind and the air feels a bit - um - tropical. It is definitely a 'Hawaiian shirt day' so I put on one of my two versions and cruise down to Gassendi and then turn left and glide along the pavement between the two parts of the Montparnasse cemetery, under the ample shade of the big plane trees.

But first - tonight's forecast, which is short and simple. Except for a bit of cloud on the angle of thephoto: full drinks channel, Friday through next Monday are dominated by ever-increasing sunballs. Temperatures, in order of the days, are supposed to be 28, 25, 26, and 32, for Bastille Day on Monday.

Going into the métro at Raspail - even wearing a Hawaiian shirt - is like being in a bakery in winter when the dough is rising. It is almost a relief to get on the train, especially after it starts slamming through the tunnels, pushing used air around like an underground tugboat.

A day requiring a variety of the waters.

This is a fleeting sensation. Coming out of the underground at Châtelet is like rising to the surface from the bottom of a pot of boiling eggs. Admittedly this slight relief is fleeting too. The Rue de Rivoli feels like a warm day in Arizona, with Amazonian jungle overtones. There can be no doubt - it is really summer in Paris this summer.

The wait for it has certainly been long. Since spring, at least. Anybody with a grain of sense will be at the Butte-aux-Cailles pool today - tomorrow and the day after.

Today's Club Meeting

This starts off with a mistake by the secretary. The four people sitting at the club's tables are not potential members or members whose names I've forgotten - they are complete civilians, and they seem to be discussing the terms of a divorce.

I never mind civilians in our spot if they are within minutes of finishing a late lunch, but lawyers together with about-to-be recently married people, are not koscher.

So I sit down right beside them at the club's auxiliary tables, and begin entering the statistical information in the members' and 'reports' booklets. Member Steve Camera-Murray sits down across from me and asks me what I'm doing.

The 'statistical information' is the issue's number, the meeting's number and the date. I always write 'Thursday' with the date, even though meetings are always on Thursdays. Then I write in Steve's name.

He asks me why I do this. I say I do it so that, if I ever bring the official members' club list up-to-date, I can add the names of existing members who attend club meetings - even after becoming members - so that if they ever need an alibi they can use club records to prove that theyphoto: steve camera murray couldn't have possibly robbed a bank on the day and at time the police think Steve did.

One of the men at the next table moves one of the blank legal pads away from the influence of our table. Steve says, "I spend a lot of time in churches," and adds, when I look puzzled, "Because they're made out of stone, and are cooler."

Steve thinks Picard has superior air- conditioning, as well as frozen food.

Another of Steve's beat-the-heat tricks is to visit Picard, the frozen-food chain of shops. He mildly complains that they don't sell ice cream in cones - only in boxes of them, or by the litre. He says some air-conditioned shops are okay too, but the security people can be annoying.

The contentious divorce people leave at the same time as two ladies arrive. They sit down in the club's legal department. After all, the club does have its share of members who are attorneys - luckily.

Daniele Dupuis is here with Tomoko Yokomitsu. Daniele puts in New York City as a hometown, but was born in France, and lives part-time in Paris. Tomoko's hometown is Osaka in Japan, but she has lived in Paris for 25 years. Daniele is in the process of moving from Quebec City, possibly to Ireland, and Tomoko is at the club because she thinks its members may speak English, which she wants to practise.

In taking in this information I fail to note who has brought who, but at the very least Osaka becomes the 'City of the Week,' restoring this honor to the club after having had it absent for a meeting. Tomoko even says she visited Osaka as recently as last November, which makes it a more really real 'City of the Week.'

Tomoko is an actress and this is her main reason for practising English. Not many plays and movies in Paris require Japanese speakers, although I saw a part of a movie recently on TV that had a lot of Chinese in it. Set in the 13th arrondissement, it was about a French guy, played by a French guy, who wanted to become Chinese.

Tomoko explains she was in a one-man show at the Bataclan in 'Marciel Halluciné.' This was onstage as a 'one man show' and she was in the film that ran as a backdrop. She was in another film, mabye with David Soul, called 'Hitchhiker.' She had two lines in it and is very proud of them.

All of this is wonderful. Tomoko is the club's 'first' actress member as far as I know. If Dimitri would only join the club some day, it would have two actor members. He just got paid for being an extra in a new Eric Rohmer film, and after seeing his pay slip, he knows why actors and stagehands are on strike in France these days.

Daniele shyly narrows down her New York City residence to Elmhurst in Queens. My goodness, this is nothing strange or wierd. It is next door to Jackson Heights and not far from Corona, wherephoto: tomoko yokomitsu the Marx brothers once lived. Back down Roosevelt Avenue towards Woodside, there's the Cuban sandwich place, and Donovan's, which has pretty good fish-and-chips, Irish style..

She is not at all put off by my warning that Ireland is nowhere near as warm - or as cold - a Queens or Quebec City. She thinks Dublin is the air-conditioned capital of Europe because it seldom gets warmer than 20 degrees there.

Tomoko fondly remembers the two lines she spoke, but doesn't tell us what they were.
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