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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.

I think it's a good reason for not learning 'everything about a place,' but do not get a chance to say this – because Ana once lived near Palamos on the Costa Brava. Like Diana, Lewis and Barry, Ana has lived in a lot of different places. None of this earns this meeting a 'City of the Week' award though.

Member Laurel Robinson arrives with even less fuss than Eric. In fact, it is the club's secretary causing a fuss by trying to get everybody in a frame of mind suitable for the 'Group Photo of the Week.'

With slices of sunbeams like searchlights in the café, taking the weekly historical photo inside is out of the question. The reason for the fuss is the light outside won't last forever either.

It actually feels mild outside. There is no reason for some of the members to put on all of their layers. Nevertheless the shot has to be done in a hurry because the sun has become unstable, as well as lower in the sky. For one shot, a cloud nicely partly filters the brightness, but as I squeeze off the shot I realize I don't see Laurel number two anywhere.

While some civilians pass, Laurel moves to the front, to hold on to Fergie. I squeeze off another shot, even through Fergie has turned backwards to see who is fondling his ears. At least Laurel is in it.

As is becoming more usual, these notes are again extremely sketchy. Barry says he is going to call '115' if it gets really cold – 'below zero' – because there is a guy in his quartier sleeping outside with only one blanket. Then the people who stand around, opening doors in return for small change, are discussed. Everybody agrees that having doors opened is worth whatever small change can be spared.

Totally unrelated, pickpockets are the next subject. There are tales of successful ones, and of hapless ones. One thing is clear though – the warning about 'peek–pok–kettes' in the Métro are annoying – because the pickpockets who work the Métrophoto: sunglasses of the week are the most professional, and most likely to ignore the warnings.

Absolutely essential 'Accessory of the Week' – sunglasses.

Barry's deterrent is to eat more. "My jeans are getting so tight I can't even put money in the pockets," he says. Maybe this is why so many people – even the TV-weather news guy – wear jeans in France. Or, maybe, because they're called 'jeans.'

Just after 17:00 there are still nine members chatting busily. The club's secretary tells them to 'carry on' and hauls himself out of the café, where he meets Monsieur and Madame Naudan, La Corona's owners. Monsieur says he saw there were a lot of members present today.

And last week, and the Thursday before last. The club and its members are 'carrying on,' quite nicely.

Last Chances for the 'Soldes d'Hiver'

This year's Soldes d'Hiver in Paris continue for a bit more. The final day of this annual shopping fête will be Saturday, 7. February. If you miss out now do not give up all hope – the 'Soldes 'd'Ete begin in six months.

About the Café Metropole Club's About Page

Today's 'report' about your club's meeting is about as garbled as other recent ones, but you might rather read 'reports' like this instead of ones with no members present. Thephoto: water bottle cap of the week 'About the Café Metropole Club' page may clear up some of the other mysteries in this area, if you can't stand mystification.

The only vital fact you need know is – whatever you may think, there are hardly any others. You can become a lifetime member of this online magazine's free, live, and real club by simply becoming a member by attending any of its meetings in Paris, for free. This is a huge value for 'free,' even without any gift coupons.

The 'Bottle Cap of the Week.'

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

The weekly Thursday club meetings start about 15:00 sharp, always on a Thursday, and sort of continue until about 17:00 or later, in the European Time of Paris' Rotten Winter – which is really 'CET' for short and not 'les vrais horribles temps d'hiver' although perfectly true – and elsewhere known as 3 pm to 5 pm. All of these meetings happen is Paris, except for one time in New York City.

Doing something at a meeting – like coming to one – is encouraged. True 'firsts' are welcome, with 'first' having a slight edge in 'report' value over 'true.' Don't get the wrong idea – 'true' is fine too, especially if it is exceptional.

If you prefer to be 'not found' on the Internet, be sure to inform the club's secretary – before you forget. If desired yougraphic: club location map can even be at a meeting and not be at it, 'report–wise.' Former 'rules' have ceased and have been removed from the club's chronicles except for the ones still online. All 'exceptions' to any other 'rules' have been temporarily suspended forever, like some French laws without their 'decrees.'

Talking in local languages like Spanish at meetings is fine. If there's a free chair sit wherever you like, or haul one over from another part of the café. 'Sitting' is optional. If they are listening, whatever you say may be truly appreciated by the other members present, and some actually are sometimes – and if it happens to be written here, it might be read by all readers of this online magazine, as some of them do part of the time. All of a 'report' is never written here sometimes.*

*The above paragraphs are unchanged since a long time ago because the club is constantly 'carrying on.'

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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