A Coincidental Meeting

photo: group, roy, tomoko, barry, daniele, joe, len

The first, partial, 'Group Photo' with Roy, Tomoko,
Barry, Daniele, Joe and Len.

With Many Birds

Paris:- Thursday, 17. July 2003:- The tropical spell here lasted from last Thursday's club meeting until last night, which is a good thing because I am really counting on my elderly Hawaiian shirts lasting to, oh, about the summer of 2013. By that time new models may be available, and I will be able to continue feeling tropical occasionally.

This is not to predict that this summer will have no more tropical periods here. But for the moment things are cooler, the humidity is within bounds - and all the café windows are still open, so we officially still have the season loosely called 'summer.'

In fact, tonight's TV-weather news forecast calls for some cloudy periods tomorrow afternoon, and temperaturesphoto: barry's beer to go up around 28 degrees, which is up a big jump from today's 22 degrees, which didn't feel as low as the number suggests.

But Saturday is supposed to be right up there with lots of sun and a high temperature of 30 degrees. According to both this morning's Le Parisien and tonight's TV, Sunday should be mostly sunny in the morning and becoming less and less sunny in the afternoon, with the temperature nailed to 30 degrees or higher.

Barry switches beer brands but not the glass size.

Sunday will be - as nobody in Paris is being allowed to forget - the opening day for 'Paris Plage 2003.' Therefore it is probably appropriate that the accompanying weather be tropical rather than merely summer-like. But, heck! - you know how reliable these forecasts are. Having weather vaguely like summer in summer is the best we ever get.

Today's Club Meeting

On the ride from Montparnasse to Châtelet I notice that the métro has retained two day-old weather underground. There are no hitches during the trip except for the kid with the guitar I trip over getting through the last wagon in the train, to an empty seat. This is another summer bonus feature of Paris - empty seats in the métro.

The air on the surface at Châtelet is quite refreshing too. There is less traffic underway on account of all the Parisians who have left town, to take courses in French-baking in southern regions of the country. Those remaining behind are still shopping energetically for bargains in the 'Soldes d'Eté,' which continue for weeks more.

Club member in good standing, Joe Fitzgerald, is sitting in the club's area of the 'Grande Salle' in the café La Corona when I arrive. It takes only a minute or two to get Patrick, the 'Waiter of the Week,' to clear luncheon debris off the club's three central tables, and when this is done, more members are present.

These are, not in their order of arrival, Tomoko Yokomitsu, Barry Wright and Roy Trew. While the first two have been at recent club meetings, Roy has just come from the airport, where he arrived this morning after a very long trip from Brisbane in Australia.

Roy says, "I left weather as warm as here, to find a summer as warm as winter at home." He says he is going to stay two months this time, with Elizabeth Trew - also a member - following him by a month. Roy says his next objective is to move to Paris, but after being in the air for 22, hours anybody might say this by accident.

Here this 'report' is interrupted for a new type of 'First of the Week.' It is called the 'Coincidence of the Week' and the first example is brought to us, coincidently, by Roy. Last fall he and Elizabeth were looking over some tidy place in New England and chanced to fall into conversation with Shirley and Walter Pappas.

The conversation turned to Paris, and then to the Café Metropole Club, and they were all amazed that they are all members of the same club in Paris, without ever having met before, and normally live on opposite sides of the world!

Even more amazing, the Trews joined the club exactly 372 days after the Pappas. This has me convincedphoto: marie zaengle, gail hyatt that it might not be a bad move for the club's secretary to visit New England in the new future, but not to eat lobsters.

Unaware they've missed the 'Group Photo,' here are Marie Zaengle and Gail Hyatt.

However, since coincidences are not all that rare, Roy thinks that one should be on 'best behavior' at all times, because you never know when you'll meet club members someplace other than in Paris. I can say this has happened to me too, but it was on purpose.

The conversation then turns to the recent 14. of July festivities in Paris. Roy says the weather was the best he could remember, especially for the air force flyover of the Champs-Elysées, when he didn't get rain in the face for a change.

Barry says he went over to the 16th arrondissement to see the fireworks at Trocadéro. The crowds were so thick that he had to use some ingenuity to get back across the Seine to the 7th arrondissement. The four handiest bridges were impassable. But he did not swim the river.

At exactly 15:30, the club's mascot, Willy the Sparrow, flies into the club's area to feast on the large amount of crumbs strewn around. Willy flies out again, through the café's front door, a few minutes later but returns several more times during the rest of the meeting. Willy has been attending club meetings off and on since last February.

Tomoko, the club's first actress member, tells us about the line she spoke yesterday. She said, "The President doesn't have time to see you." Barry tells us about his part as an extra, in Morocco, for the 'Last Days of Sodom and Gomorrah,' ending in the trash bin because he fell off a horse he claimed he could ride, in order to get double-pay as an extra.

Joe says he didn't fall off the horse. It fell down, and he landed on top by chance. Roy tells us about going to Banff in winter to ski because there isn't a lot of snow in Australia. As it was, there was no snow in Banff either, and, "The six guys running the snow machines were all Australians," he said.

These stories launch 'sports time' at the club, with assorted tales about snorkeling - very dangerous for people accustomed to breathing air - climbing in the Grand Canyon - very dangerous without water, the opposite of snorkeling.

When 'Willy the Sparrow' makes a reappearance, this reminds Roy of the carrier pigeon that flew successfully to France from Britain, but on the way back made an erroneous left turn and eventually made a surprise landing on Staten Island. Roy claims this surprised British Airwaysphoto: betty davis so much that they flew the wrng-way pigeon home, in first class, for free.

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