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''One Month Has Gone By...''

photo: group, jerry, steve, betty, tomoko, eva

Today's group, Jerry, Steve, Betty, Tomoko, Eva - minus Lauren.

''So Fast''

Paris:- Thursday, 2. October 2003:- Here it is, tonight's TV-weather news. My head is turned towards the tube, the animated weather is happening, the sound is on, but my mind is elsewhere. Snap! This is the all-holy weather news! Pay attention. What is she saying?

I think I can explain. I usually have the day's Le Parisien handy so I can scrawl my notes right on the daily weatherphoto: nuit blanche bus map maps, and add the temperatures. I do all this in the dark - this is why I sometimes attach Thursday's weather to Wednesday, when it should be Friday's. But there is no Le Parisien today, and I didn't see any other papers either. The lady I saw reading Le Monde on the Métro might have been reading last week's.

So, I grab Wednesday's paper and transpose tonight's update to it even though they seldom match when they are both forecasts from the same day. Tomorrow - is - the forecast for tomorrow is meteorogical chaos. Horrors all day long, beginning tonight with lightning and thunder. Ka-boom! The high temperature should be 21, but I think this is optimistic.

Map of the all-night buses for Saturday's 'Nuit Blanche.'

But I was fooled this morning. I went out dressed for cool fall weather and found I was overdressed for a surprise replay of Indian Summer. It was really nice. I willingly got undressed to go to the club meeting.

For Saturday my notes say, 'mi-mi.' This is based on what I remember about the TV animation. Clouds looking like dirty egg-whites had bits of yolk periodically showing. I think this meant partly sunny but mostly cloudy.

Hold on to your hat for the temperatures. If Friday has a high of 21, then the best Saturday is expected to do is only 14. This will not be exactly cheery for the 'Nuit Blanche' because the overnight low will be in the single digits. Same for Sunday with a forecast high of 13 degrees. Snow is forecast for the Alps above 1000 metres. Brrrrrr.

The 205th Club Meeting 'Report'

Sunshine is falling all over the café La Corona when I arrive slightly before 15:00, but there are no great hordes of sunshine fans enjoying it on the café's terraces. The patron, Monsieur Naudan, says hiya and I say hiya back and then we discuss the economic situation of the western world for 15 seconds, concluding that it can only get better without bothering to speculate about the when of it.

Before I can find my way into the 'grande salle' behind the café's bar, I run into Tomoko Yokomitsu, who is arriving early after having a Tai Chi Choun session in the Tuileries. She says lotsphoto: green drink of out-of-work actors are usually there a couple of times a week, especially on nice-weather days.

Tomoko says she has been doing the exercises for 15 years, but admits that she drops out occasionally for a year or two at a time. Then she reminds me that we are supposed to be speaking in English instead of French. She is right - English is the usual language spoken at the club, especially because she wants to practise it.

Tomoko's wicked-looking green drink.

Betty and Jerry Blizin arrive. Tomoko asks them what they've been doing for the last week.

"For the last three weeks?" Betty says. "Eaten, walked our feet off. I'm ready to go home! For a rest." The she adds, "No, I cry all the way home. I hate leaving Paris!"

Then she becomes philosophical. "Paris is a licence to do nothing. You can sit and be busy doing nothing all day long."

To break the spell Jerry asks Tomoko what she has as a drink. Tomoko has the same green drink she had last week. It is not anything illegal - it is just syrup of menthe, filled up with Badoit, a slightly bubbly mineral water. Most cafés have a selection of syrups that can be mixed with water, beer or even milk. Then there's Cassis that goes with white wine too.

Betty is thinking of taking the 'day off' for everything, including the club meeting. I think maybe she has gotten tired of 'sitting and doing nothing,' but before she got to the club today.

Eva Lee from Tranquility, New Jersey, comes in and up to the club's place in the world. She and the Blizins have met at club meetings before. Eva says she is 'train-lagged.'

She took a wagon-lit from Prague, thinking she would have a whole compartment to herself. In crowded Europe it seldom works this way, and she shared the compartment with five other sardines.

Jerry tells us about being on a wagon-lit headed for Venice. The conductor told him that part of the train was going to Milan, and he should remember to be on the right part. Some jolly Cubans with a huge bottle of wine joined Jerry, and he woke up as the train was pulling into the station in Milan.

Eva has pulled out a piece of white cardboard and busily sets about writing a message to Sally Dilgart in Chicago. I lend her one of the club's pens for it. Eva has done this before - made a 'bonjour' sign to include in the 'Group Photo of the Week.'

Everybody except Tomoko and me remembers Sally's grand lunch that she had at the Grand Véfour. Jerry says it had, "All you can eat for 75€." I think I must be thinking of some other place where 'all you can eat' is more like 25€, but I have looked it up in a 1988 G&M and it - had - three chef's hats.

Other comments includephoto: brownie in chocolate the sorry state of affairs with plastic cards and withdrawing cash from ATMs. Some card companies and banks are charging for withdrawals, plus visitors from the United States are getting less value for money on account of the dismal state of the .85€ dollar.

One café La Corona 'brownie' for four.

The Blizins have been staying in a rented apartment. Jerry says they've rented studios in the past, but they usually stay several weeks - so now they try to get a place that has 35 to 40 square metres, so they don't get to feeling like sardines. Betty says, though, that 35 square metres shouldn't be over-furnished.

Steve Camera-Murray shows up. He tells Tomoko that he and Lauren have moved to an apartment, 'closer to the club house.'

Because the Blizins have been leaving since they've arrived - Jerry says, "One month has gone by..." and Betty completes it with, "So fast!" - it is decided that the time for the 'Group Photo of the Week' has arrived, and nobody is going out on the terrace for it.

Betty even takes over writing the 'notes' for it. She writes, "Ric takes photo - I look down - but I'm smiling - Betty B!"

Patrick, who is the 'Waiter of the Week,' distributes cards that entitle holders to reduction on cruises with the Vedettes du Pont-Neuf. Tomoko says she is thinking of changing her stage name to 'Tommi.'

Steve was once an extra in an opera production. But, he says he couldn't get any reduced-price tickets. "I only got two for the dress-rehearsal." He thinks this may have been due to his 'special talent.' "I fit the costumes," he says.

With a half hour left to gophoto: lauren sees brownie in the meeting, Willy the Sparrow shows up to check out the crumb situation. This is about when Lauren Camera-Murray arrives, or maybe a little bit before.

After taking the 'Group Photo of the Week' I have not resumed my usual secretary's position, so I can see that 'brownies' are not a selection written on the mirror that is usually behind my head. Lauren tells me that 'brownies' are like fudge.

Lauren has seen 'brownies' before but...

Since Patrick is handy, somebody asks him for a 'brownie.' "Brownie?" he wonders. He thinks there are some available. They are one of Monsieur Naudan's new ideas. Tomoko asks for 'one brownie,' "With four spoons."

When Eva takes a small taste she says, "It's a very fudgy brownie." Just about everybody else has some, except for the club's secretary, who is on a no-chocolate diet. Steve cleans up most of what's left.

"Yesterday I had a chocolatephoto: half eaten brownie drink," he says, adding, "It was with chocolate ice cream in it, from a chocolate shop." Then he turns to me and asks, "Did you have cheese fries at Nathan's?"

...knows how much chocolate Steve had in one drink yesterday.

Then he takes another stab at a slab of the 'brownie.' He remembers having salty ice cream at an Italian place on the left bank. Tomoko tries to find out how much the 'brownie' costs, but Patrick says it is 'on the house,' including the four spoons.

He says that it shouldn't be ordered alone, but in combination with tea or café. "It's a better value that way."

Lauren and Steve have an idea for Tomoko, 'if she isn't in a relationship.' They have heard that Galeries Lafayette are promoting 'singles' at their gourmet food department on Thursday evenings. If you are in a non-relationship you can go shopping there with a special shopping basket for 'singles only.'

I guess the idea is that you look for some other single person who has chosen to buy something - like caviar - to go with your - blinis - and you should be able to hit it off, if a decent Champagne can be agreed on. Whatever this is - a report about it has been promised by Lauren, Tomoko and Steve, to be relayed at next week's club meeting.

The meeting that was is over. Eva and I find ourselves going the same way towards Châtelet, so we zip into Samaritaine and whiz up to the ninth floor and climb the extra stairs to the tenth, get watery drinks from the terrace bar and have a few quiet moments far away from the traffic slogging it out below. Confused bees are buzzing around the flowers blooming in the boxes of plants lining the edge of the terrace.

Flashnews - Tomoko Becomes Media Sensation

This late report has just been received from Lauren Camera-Murray:-

"Sadly, Tomoko didn't meet the man of her dreams during tonight's singles shopping event at Galeries Lafayette in the produce section - or the cheese or the bread sections either, for that matter. However, she was interviewed by four different French television networks. One of the crews said the resulting piece would be on the news tomorrow night around 19:30 or so."

The secretary suggests that you try tuning in on Friday at 19:54 to France-3's 19/20 evening TV-news, just seconds before the weather forecast.

The 'About the Café Metropole Club' About Page

photo: cafe beerBeing a member of this club is a lot more fun than writing a club meeting report, even though some members try it too. Read the 'About the Café Metropole Club' page anyway. It will not tell you a great deal more about the club, but says how few 'rules' it has. Even if you feel a need to know more than this, this is all there is.

Other parts of the café have more conventional fare.

Only one other fact is worth remembering. You can become a lifetime member of this online magazine's live, free and real club by simply attending any of its meetings in Paris. Although this is a longish 'fact,' timewise, it is nearly really the only one of any length.

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

Weekly club meetings start about 15:00 sharp on Thursdays and continue until 17:00, in the European Zone of Paris Time - which is really 'CET' for short and not 'ZBoFa' - and elsewhere known as 3 pm to 5 pm. Paris is the only part of the world where these meetings happen although there are other cities with metric time.

Doing nothing extraordinary during a meeting is tolerated. True 'firsts' are more than welcome though,graphic: club location map with 'first' having a higher 'report' value than 'true.' See the 'brownie' example above. This is a general-purpose rule rather than a club ex-'rule' or French-type 'exception.'

If you prefer to be 'not found' on the Internet, please let the club's secretary know before you become mildly famous for a week. 'No rules' have ceased being an 'exception' or an 'ex-rule.' There were some other timeless 'exceptions,' formerly called 'rules,' but these have been shipped to Bombay.

Talking in multiple languages at meetings is fine. Dancing may be permitted too. Whatever you say will be honestly appreciated by the other members present, if they are listening, which they do sometimes - and by all readers of this online magazine, if it should happen to be written here, as some of it is, sometimes, but not always.*

*The above paragraphs are unchanged since last week because 'brownies' happen here, sometimes.

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

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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