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 wrong-way pigeon home, in first class, for free.

Obviously, as jetlagged as Roy is, this is the 'Most True Story' that anybody at the club is going to hear today.

Expecting camera's flash, Betty Davis prepares eyes.

New member from last week, Daniele Dupuis arrives, just as everybody is telling everybody else about the 'great flying with birds' movie. The club secretary wonders if he shouldn't elevate mascot Willy the Sparrow to member status.

Tomoko is telling us about meeting her actor pals in the unemployment lines when Barry says he has to leave, so the secretary calls for the 'Group Photo of the Week.' At the same time Len Levine from Prague and New Orleans arrives, only to be hustled outside to the café's terrace for the ritual photo first, before becoming a member, second.

We are no sooner back in the 'Grande Salle' with the 'Group Photo of the Week' wrapped up, when Marie Zaengle from Malvern, Pennsylvania arrives with Gail Hyatt from Oakland, New Jersey. The two places are close together and getting into New Jersey is free, but one has to pay to get back into Pennsylvania - and this is why Marie thinks Malvern should be the 'City of the Week.'

I am not so sure. Having to pay a toll to get out of Oakland, New Jersey, seems like a kind of unusual distinction too. Besides this, Gail teaches French in Oakland and likes it so much that she has a Web site full of French language resources, called Gail's French Links.

The 'Question of the Week' is posed by Marie. She wants to know why the crowds mobbing the Champs-Elysées on 14 July applauded and cheered the 'Eurocorps,' Paris' Firemen and the Foreign Legionnaires when they passed, but fell silent when Président Chirac rode past down the avenue to Concorde.

Although I was asleep at the time - it was a holiday - I do not know the answer to Marie's question, but do know the evening's TV-news did not mention it. TV-news did show the Républicain Guard not surrounding the presidential jeep, although the contrary was announced in advance.

Maybe Jacques didn't invite the entire crowd of a quarter-million to the Elyséephoto: sherry quayle Palace garden party afterwards, and there were some scattered soreheads. The big shows staged on the Champs-Elysées aren't always perfect - but the interest shown in the Bastille Day parade by club members surprises me.

It is about 17:00 when the meeting's final two new members arrive. These are Betty Davis from Atlanta and Shirley Quayle from Alpharetta, which are both in Georgia. Betty tells me that she belongs to a group that visits Atlanta's sister city of Toulouse every year.

While Sherry Quayle keeps eyes open for the camera's non-flash.

This year - oh, it is past the end of this week's meeting - so we chat about visiting Paris instead, or to be more accurate, 'in addition to the City of Roses, Toulouse.'

The truth is, I didn't write any more meeting notes for this 'report,' and some that I did write are not here - which turns out to be just as well, because I have taken a hint from tonight's TV-news, and its report by its Washington correspondent. As somebody has said at today's meeting, "Poor Florida!"

Club Secretary to Take a Holiday

I expect this news will be welcomed by club members who have been in regular attendance lately, becausephoto: roy's cafe the management of a few upcoming meetings will be undertaken by the server-lady, Linda Thalman, and the club's member number one, Heather Stimmler-Hall.

No club meeting is complete without its soup bowls of café.

The regular secretary will be taking notes at next Thursday's meeting as usual, while the two nifty ladies are tossing coins to find out who wins which of the three following meetings. The regular secretary will resume his post on Thursday, 21. August, for club meeting number 199.

Watch for Monday's 'Café Metropole' column or next week's Thursday meeting 'report' for possible new details.

About the 'Café Metropole Club' About Page

Being a member of this club is more fun than being its secretary, who has to attend nearly every meeting. If you are relaxed enough you can read the 'About the Café Metropole Club' page. It will tell you next to nothing about the club except how free it is. But if needless information, even free, is your goal, I suggest that you read something else in the magazine, which is also free.

There is only one other factoid to retain. 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, without even buying a métro ticket.

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

Club meetings begin - in exception to the usual Paris 'rules' - about 15:00 on Thursdays and continue until 17:00, in Europe's only Zone of Universal Plage Time - which is really 'CET' for short and not 'EOZUPT' - and elsewhere known as 3 pm to 5 pm in scattered 12-hour areas of the planet. Club meetings are only held in the Eurometrical Paris part of it, mostly.

Bringing a 'Quote of the Week' or concocting any other 'Things of the Week' are not 'rules' to be blindly obeyed. True 'firsts' are more than welcome too, with 'first' worth far more 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 secretarygraphic: club location map before he makes you mildly famous, but less famous than some members who bring their fame with them to share with you. 'No rules' have ceased being an 'exception' or a 'rule' longer ago than anyone can remember. There are some other 'exceptions,' but really, none worth any amount of needless detail.

Talking in any languages at meetings is okay. Dancing may be permitted too, but only the server-lady has tried this. Whatever you say will be honestly appreciated by the other members present, if they are listening, which they really do sometimes - and by all readers of this online magazine, if it should happen to be written here, as some of it is, sometimes.*

*The above paragraphs are unchanged since last week on account of today's 'Question of the Week' being topical, but remaining unanswered, and unwritten.

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