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'Carry On' At the Club

photo: dimitri, laurel a, steve, eva, eric, fergie, laurel r, ana, diana, barry, jason

This Week's 'Group of 12 Photo of the Week.'

'Sunglasses of the Week'

Paris:– Thursday, 29. January 2004:– Just before midnight last night I heard a couple of loud booms outside and when I looked out into the dark at Paris there was a blizzard of snow. I stood up to see if I could see the cemetery wall across the street. It was barely there.

Cars in the road below were following four sets of black ruts etched in the street. Snow covered the parked cars and the sidewalks. It didn't look fit for man nor beast out there. I was kind of late to be walking the dogs anyway, but some dogs stay up pretty late here.

The scene this morning was more positive. The sky was blue from top to bottom. Only a little bit of left–over snow was left on some cars and some tombs across the street. Nobody was throwing snowballs or making snowmen.

Tonight's TV–weather news said the nasty–weather alert has been lifted. This means the way has beenphoto: water of the week left open for another bout of merely crummy January weather. After it finishes being somewhat sunny tomorrow morning, it will be cloudy. From a low temperature of minus two, the air is supposed to each a high of five degrees.

With today's sunshine, the 'Water of the Week' is appropriate.

This will be followed on Saturday by more clouds and a super jump in temperature to 11 degrees. It will be cloudy, and I assume it may rain. On Sunday it will definitely rain rain rain, but the temperature should be a mild 12 degrees. Today's Le Parisien seems to think that Monday will be the same. Make sure your head is waterproof.

If you can't manage this, walk on your hands. The soles of your shoes should be waterproof. If they aren't, put your mittens on your feet and make sure your scarf is on tight. Too bad it's going to be so warm. I have been forgetting to try out this new phrase on you – 'sortez les muffles!'

Another Meeting 'Report of the Week'

With so much sunshine this afternoon I modify my path to the location of today's club meeting at the Café La Corona. As I do about half the time, I walk down to catch the Métro at Raspail, but only ride it to Saint–Germain. I go over to the newspaper kiosk beside the Deux Magots café to buy today's paper, so I'll have something to read later.

Then I take some side streets and end up walking down the Rue de Seine, past all the galleries. I do this to make you wish you were walking down the Rue de Seine past all the galleries on a sunny Thursday afternoon in January in Paris.

Then I stroll across the Pont des Arts. In mid–bridge, a young lady asks me to take her picture with the Louvre as a background. She gasps when I kneel on the bridge planks to take the shot. She is going to love the photo if her camera works right. Of all the people who belong to the club, I am the only one who never asks civilians to join it, although there is no 'rule' against doing this.

After taking a couple more photos for Metropole, I arrive at the club's café and it is nearly empty. Thephoto: wine of the week crew pretends to be happy to see me even though they know in their heart of hearts the only business they will get will be the sale of one double–espresso.

But aha! they are wrong. Very wrong. For Barry Wright is already in the café's 'grande salle,' reading a book and drinking a big beer. He says he'll join me once he's finished with the café's smoking section.

'Café of the Week' was more common than this lone 'Wine of the Week.'

The clock's big hand is on twelve and its little hand is on three when Ana Escomel arrives. This member says, "I came back to try the winter in Paris." She explains that she is comparing it to Chicago.

Barry snaps awake and says, "I used to live in Chicago." After batting some names around like the Wrigley Building, Ana and Barry discover that they lived in the same building – at two different times – in windy and very cold Chicago. Barry even lived it twice, on two different floors.

I don't know if this is a legitimate 'Thing of the Week' or not. Then Ana asks if we know of some way she can get the photos out of her camera and saved somehow. Barry and I tell her different things. But in the end, Barry promises to be more helpful.

Member Jason Hraynyk arrives and says that member Steve Camera–Murray will be coming along shortly. In fact, Steve is right behind Jason, and he starts unwrapping himself. Unlayered, he says, "We have to move again. The apartment's owner came back sooner than expected because he lost his job."

Ana says, "This is the first time I have been warm in a week." The club's area in the café is being sliced by powerful beams of very bright sunlight, augmenting the café's warmth considerably.

Ana is thinking about moving to Paris. All it has to do, is be warmer than Chicago. Several members agree that even Toronto is warmer than Chicago. Barry begins to tell us how Boston can be colder than Chicago, but nobody who lives in Boston is here to confirm Barry's claim.

More members arrive. These are Diana Rushing, Lewis Rosenthal and Eva Lee. I shake hands will all, and want to know why they haven't been wearing gloves – bringing cold hands to the meeting.

Curious, I ask Steve about his hair, which is also in layers. He says, "I got it cut last August, and I might wait until next August to do it again."

Member Eric Tolbert arrives with minimum fuss, along with red–jacketed Fergie, who likes minimum fuss because he is 17 years old. Eric says, "I traded Diet Coke for..." – and my notes do not say what for, because of more new arrivals.

These are Laurel Avery, and Dimitri Shipounoff, a well–known well– wrapped Daguerréotypista. There are now more than enough members to play four–handed bridge. I do not think I'll get a chance to read today's Le Parisien.

Diana says she and Lewis will be 'going back soon,' but Lewis says 'there's more time.' Barry characterizes them as 'temporal expatriots.' Barry prefers time to be temporal, fluid, elastic.

Steve wants to know if Johnny Hallyday is French. Everybody who doesn't think he might be Belgian, thinks hephoto: fergie the dog might be French. About Austin in Texas, Diana says, "We don't live there anymore." She explains that after living in a place and finding all there is to know about it, there's no reason to go back.

New member Fergie was extremely shy.
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