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'City of the Week' Missing

photo: group, heather, tomoko, david

The 'Group of the Week' with Heather, Pedro, Lena,
Tomoko and David.

''That's Only a Truck–stop!''

Paris:– Thursday, 6. May 2004:– We have been having some pretty fantastic weather forecasts again. Like last week's grim forecasts turning out kind of mild, so the same pattern continues this week. The high temperatures we're having are lower than recent low temperatures, but just don't seem all that cold.

When does 13 degrees in the afternoon in May not feel like 13 degrees in early March? Why, today of course. There I was with winter coat on, scarf, and scooting along to the Métro, too warm.

Thursday night on the TV–news is short news followed by talk–to–a– politician night. Usually this lops 15 minutes off the 'news' as a tradeoff for being treated to the latest thinking from the political arena.

Tonight was an exception, with no less than the Prime Minister, Jean– Pierre Raffarin. He got started after only 20 minutes of 'news,' and they couldn't stop him. He sounded like a guy extolling the wonders of a marvelously new kitchen robot at the Foire de Paris. Three 'points' here, two 'points' there – counting them off on his fingers. On and on.

He blithely droned on, through what would have been the commercial time after the TV–weather news. When thephoto: sky over pont des arts TV–station rolled the credits at the end, he was still selling the government as if it were a practical utensil. He sometimes wears glasses with blue rims. Maybe his wife's.

Skies full of action in Paris.

The parts I liked best were the billions of euros that appeared from nowhere, to be thrown at this or that problem – no sweat, France is broke, but has magical mystery billions in reserve. But, um, not a sou to spare to get the theatrical people to stop threatening, for example, the Cannes Film Festival.

Also, there was no Le Parisien today to use as a fallback. Libération was just about the only paper available. I didn't realize that it doesn't have weather futures in it. Even its 'today' isn't all that clear.

But the TV squeezed a bit of weather in after the P–M's talkathon and two commercials. After a bit of morning fog or haze or clouds tomorrow morning, the skies are expected to be partly sunny Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The highs should be about 13 or 14 degrees. It might feel warmer, but don't be deceived.

The Only 'Club Report of the Week'

Taking my 236th journey to a club meeting today has not left a lot of distinguishing details in my memory. The Métro runs like a good automatic watch and after the first several thousand trips on it there isn't a lot more to say, except about the other passengers, but today I leave them in peace, as they leave me.

At Rivoli I decide to give it a look–over. This is a mistake. It is silly walker's day. There are groups of four, like rugby defenders, clogging the way. Get past them by skidding along against show windows, and come up against a loner, stopping and starting. Get past by going right, to be blocked by more silly walkers 'en bloc' comingphoto: coke light along the wrong side. Where were they during walking school?

I give up before getting to Samaritaine. As soon as I leave Rivoli, everything is sensible again. I shoot some posters on the news kiosk, skip the poster panel, and wander up the back side of Samaritaine back to Rivoli. Here are the silly walkers again. They've only gotten this far while I made my block–loop.

In the land of metrics, 'light' is the 'diet' version.

I zip around some more. If I go into more detail I'll sound like the Prime Minister, so I get to the café La Corona and shake Patrick's hand while entering. By the time I arrive in the 'grande salle,' Patrick is there briefing the new 'Waiter of the Week,' by telling him to bring my double– espresso at 16:00.

Member number one and recent co–host of the fabulous bumper–sticker slogan contest, Heather Stimmler–Hall, is installed in the club's area. Beside her, members Pedro and Lena, miniature Dobermans I learn for the first time, are lying on their doggie bags.

Heather starts telling me about falling through a chair while at a poetry reading – "I need to get out and talk more – I need practice," she says.

While I am doing something administrative, listening to Heather, I suddenly realize I hear another voice and look up to see this woman who is asking Heather about the canine club members, and where are the pet shops? There used to be more of them along the Quai du Louvre.

The lady doesn't become a club member because Heather doesn't ask her to join, or promise to let her pat Pedro and Lena.

While near the beginning, in the middle, or near the end of Heather talking about the Hash House Harriers, David Pitt arrives. This member has come to the club today to listen to Heather talk. Other members do this too, not realizing that Heather 'needs practice.'

Right here I should mention that it is okay to come to a club meeting and just listen to Heather practicing talking. She lived on the Riviera for a couple of years and really needs the practice.

Willy the Bird pays a visit at the same time as David arrives. Heather is saying – about the Hash House Harriersphoto: menthe, san pellegrino – that they started in some century before this one – "No, wipe that out," she interrupts herself, saying, "Now it's a drinking club with a running problem."

She says there are three groups in the Paris area, and another one out in Versailles. Its name might be 'Sans Clue.' I am surprised to hear that she takes Pedro and Lena along on these harrier chases. Apparently, if you are a medium walker, you can get to the end at the same time as the fastest runners.

Saint–Pelli and menthe, for a green dream of a drink.

Talk switches to Arizona, because both Heather and David know it well, except for some place names. David had a book store in Yosemite for 20 or 25 years. Heather tells us about capturing scorpions in the bathroom and leaving them dazed by hair–spray bombs and under cups for her mother to find by surprise in the morning.

David tells us about coming to Paris in a truck full of Indian artifacts. The truck blew up, he says, so he didn't bring the artifacts.

Tomoko Yokomitsu arrives, and asks the waiter for some kind of water the café doesn't have today. She is about to take some plain water when somebody asks the waiter if there's any San Pellegrino. There is, and Tomoko orders some menthe with it.

"I prefer San Pellegrino to the other fizzy water – it's too industrial!" Tomoko says.

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