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'Unpredictable' Indianapolis

photo: group, lyndee, tomoko, larry, kathryn, heather, phil, kellsey

Today's group, from left, Lyndee, Tomoko, Larry, Kathryn,
Heather, Phil and Kellsey.

Is 'City of the Week' Anyway

Paris:– Thursday, 1. April 2004:– 'The weather, what's it doing?' This is the question at the top of each day's weather and astrology page in Le Parisien. Usually, unless it's the middle of the night, you can look out most windows and see the answer.

As for astrology, if you were born today, your sign is 'Belier' – which is some sort of goat – and you can expect some bo–bos with your girlfriend, but not grave ones – you should try domination as a solution. With everybody else, try to maintain good relations. Finally, try to relax. If it was tomorrow, you should take a walk.

The reason there are usually weather forecasts, predictions and soothsaying here instead of astrology, is because my view of what's coming could be out of my bathroom window, but all I can see is either up, or the backs of sad buildings in the Rue Cels.

If I look out my main window, it looks north over the Montparnasse cemetery, but I can't look west because leaning out could be dangerous, and there's some high buildings at Montparnasse in the way. All I knowphoto: champagne cork about the weather is what's happening right in front right now, except at night. This is the lame reason I have for passing on the ultra– accurate forecasts and predictions from Le Parisien and the TV–weather news.

First off – spring is here. The regression back to winter is still ten days off, to be at Easter. Tomorrow will be semi–cloudy in the morning and semi–sunny in the afternoon. Breezes from the south will bring the temperature up to 15 degrees, down from a glorious 20 today.

Today's orphan of a Champagne cork.

Saturday is expected to be half–hearted sunny if the weather front being blown in from the Atlantic doesn't get here too soon. One degree will fall off the highest temperature. Wrinkled prunes are in the cards for Sunday, with mostly cloudy–partly sunny and maybe some rain in between. The temperature is expected to hold steady at 14 degrees.

Le Parisien has a more optimistic forecast with slightly higher temperatures, but is unlikely to be true because I'm supposed to be 'resplendissant' today, astrology-wise.

The April Fool's 'Club Report of the Week'

Don't let today's 'report' title put you off. It is not the club's fault that today is Thursday, 1. April 2004 – it is just one of these celestial things that happen somewhat less often than Caesar crossing the Rubicon in 49 BC on his way to visit Paris, three years later.

It is in sunshine, not under Monday's predicted cloudy skies, that I proceed to the club, early enough to leave the Métro and walk part of the way. I will say there are some strange breezes blowing around unpredictably.

But in the Place Dauphine there are none. This place has an unusual shape and a wind–unfriendly geographical axis, making it one of the city's real oasis, right on western part of the Ile de la Cité. Youphoto: before chocolat can come in here expecting the pétanque World Championships year after year, and they are never happening. Maybe at night, sometimes. Boules don't make much noise.

A hot chocolate as it looks 'before.'

Ah, yes, here I am crossing from the Quartier Latin to the right bank by way of the Pont Neuf, which far from being Paris' newest bridge. It is sturdy though, being made out of good old stones – some of which are being slowly fixed up. Even stone wears out a bit after a couple of centuries.

In the club's café, La Corona, Monsieur Naudan says the French equivalent of 'Hey! when we meet. It actually sounds quite a bit like 'Hey!' – but I can't help him out at all with a prediction of the numbers of new members and club members who will attend the meeting today.

I have no sooner scooped up a left–over orphaned Champagne cork and straightened out the club's tables into a military line than club member number one, Heather Stimmler–Hall, arrives.

Heather says we should hold the meeting outside on the café's terrace, which is fully sunlit. On the road, right beside the terrace, there are thousands of cars, trucks, buses, and motorcycles waiting for the lights to change at Pont Neuf. There are more than usual for the time of day, so they are worse than usual.

We discuss the bumper–sticker contest. It is cruising along nicely, but it may be that I am getting more entries. Heather's Internet connection is a bit fragmentary on account of moving.

Either at 15:00 or shortly after, we are joined by new members from Indianapolis, Indiana. These are Phil Yager and his daughter Kathryn, and Kathryn's schoolfriend, Kellsey James. They are in Paris for a short visit, because of a short break in the school year in Indianapolis – which is the 'City of the Week.' It is, for all of them, their first visit to Paris.

Heather, who notices these thing, notices Kellsey's cat badge, which she identifies as an 'Emilie.' It gets photographed, with the intention of finding out about it later – but Heather is cataloguing every other accessory being worn by Kellsey, and it's not a short list.

My attention wanders away from accessories because the next to arrive are last week's new members, Lyndee and Larry Mann, from last week's 'City of the Week,' Portland, Oregon.

Lyndee says she had a dental adventure during the week. Unfortunately it was unresolved, because the dentistphoto: drinks, tray, patrick decided it could wait until the Manns return to Portland later this month. Obviously the dentist wasn't thinking clearly – being in Paris with a toothache is worse than being at home.

On the other hand, Lyndee says the dental cabinet was full of the noise of concrete destruction hammers rattling away, so it was a relief to get out of it.

Patrick, with overloaded tray of drinks, omits the secretary's café.

To ease the pressure, Heather produces a photo of club members Pedro and Lena, and asks Kathryn and Kellsey if they've seen the horses at Chantilly, where they have fancy stables. But no, their visit will be too short for this excursion.

There seem to be quite a few thirsty club members by 15:30 when Patrick, the 'Waiter of the Week,' shows up with a fully laden tray of drinks for everybody. Phil, Kathryn and Kellsey all have big bowls of – I smell not café, but chocolate.

At first I'm not sure. It has been such a long time since I've smelled any hot chocolate at a club meeting or anywhere else, that it takes me a few seconds to identify it. Even if 'out of season' for the time of the year, I am pleased to be able to declare something other than water as the 'Drink of the Week.'

As most club members know – I suppose – a city can only become a 'City of the Week' if it hasn't been a 'City of the Week' before.

Tomoko Yokomitsu arrives. She asks if I got the email she sent me two days ago. As far as I know I didn't. She confirms my email address. But if she sent an email and I didn't recognize it being from her, I may have trashed it. There is a lot of odd stuff going on with email these days. Some 'subjects' will not get past the spam–traps, for example.

Kellsey says Indianapolis is 'unpredictable.' Phil says, "It's not just a corn town." For one thing, Indianapolis has the car racing track, and it's right in town – not stashed out on the prairie somewhere between the malls.

Phil is no a big fan of car racing. He thinks there are three races there every year – or there were when he lastphoto: after chocolat went to one in 1970. The 'Indianapolis 500' is blacked–out on local TV until some time after the race is over. I forget to ask him if this is because of wagering on the race.

An 'after' chocolate, when there isn't any more.

While Kathryn and Kellsey go off down the Quai de Louvre to look at the dogs in the pet shops – Heather is sorry she didn't bring Pedro and Lena – Phil tells me how being one of three stock traders in Indiana keeps him thin.

The stock he trades are not cows, but certificates. "It's interesting," he says, "But not fun." He stays thin by not having time to have lunch.

Aside from high–tech booms and busts, he says the best thing about his job is that when the trading day is over – fairly early – he walks out the door and forgets it. He mentions some of the details about stock trading, and ending most days even or slightly in the black. In fact, for a trader, 'even' is fine.

The girls come back from the dog inspection tour. When I ask, they say they did not see any roosters. I guess they didn't come all the way from Indianapolis to see roosters in the middle of Paris. Who would? They did see some small birds though. Doves?

For a change, everybody has a destination today. Heather has to recover Pedro and Lena from their minder, and some of the others are going to hit the Louvre for a tour when it should be nearly empty. Tomoko is going to lead some others to the Conforama store near Samaritaine.

So I go and find Patrick to ask him what happened to my 16:00 café. It must be a sort of dozy day, because he usually brings it like clockwork. When I pass the bird shop on my way to Châtelet, the parrots look very sleepy. This week, no tricks.

The Bumper–Sticker Slogan Contest

Readers and club members who read these reports have been sending in their entries for the fabulous Bumper–sticker Slogan Contest that is running jointly in Heather's Secrets of Paris newsletter and in Metropole.

To win you have to submit very short slogans that sum up Paris and France positively in as few pithygraphic: bumper sticker words as will fit on a bumper–sticker. Suitably 'grand' prizes for the best entries will be announced later, so have a little faith with this.

Judging will be held in late April at a club meeting, and members will be asked to assist with choosing the winners. Find all the details on the Contest page.

The Café Metropole Club's About Page

This brief 'report' about today's club'sphoto: cats eye, kellsey meeting should give you a hint of the dozy times to be had at some club meetings. Even those who have been this meeting will not know how little has been omitted. The 'About the Café Metropole Club' page doesn't say the club's secretary is always alert, but it might contain a couple of facts about the club. No more than two, I believe.

Kellsey's anti–April Fool's 'Emilie.'

You need to know hardly more. Become a real lifetime member of this online magazine's real, live and free club by becoming a member in seconds by attending any of its meetings in Paris, for free. The other fact is that there are no hidden costs or other 'rules.' But if there were an entry charge, it would be tax–included.

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

The weekly Thursday club meetings start around 15:00 on the dot, on days that are Thursday afternoons. Meetings continue until about 17:00, in the European Time of Paris' annual 'semi–real spring' – which is really 'CET' for short and not 'les temps douce de avril' although they are sometimes – and known elsewhere as 3 pm to 5 pm. Paris is where all club meetings are held.

Doing anything interesting at a meeting – like being at one – is considered the opposite of not being at one. True 'firsts' are welcome, with 'first' having a decided edge in 'report' value over 'true.' 'True' is acceptable too, especially if it's remotely plausible.

A note of caution – you may have any one of a hundred personal reasons for not wanting to be traceable viagraphic: club location map the Web. If so, be sure to inform the club's secretary that you prefer to be '404 – not found' by Web search engines before becoming 'found' in a club report.

Former 'rules' are 'former' and have been eliminated from the club's chronicles except for all the latter ones still online buried deep in the archives. All 'exceptions' to any other 'rules' have been suspended forever, quite a bit like all the 'rules.'

Saying things at meetings is fine. If there's an empty chair sit – optional – wherever you like, or haul one over from another part of the café. If they are listening, whatever you say may be honestly appreciated by other club members present, and there usually are some – and if it should chance to be written here, as some of it is sometimes.*

*The above paragraphs are unchanged since last week because Indianapolis isn't just another 'corn' town.

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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