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''You Gotta Be Crazy''

photo: group, lucky, linda, scoop, berta, mark

The 'Group of the Week,' with Lucky, Linda, Scoop,
Berta and Mark.

La Corona, Plage

Paris:– Thursday, 29. July 2004:– By now good weather is so old hat that the nervous nellies are starting to plague us with drought scares. Some people in the Marne can't wash their cars on Tuesday mornings, so we're supposed to rush out and buy two six–packs of Evian. It's how it is – three days of blue sky and it's falling in.

I half–watched the before–the–news TV–weather forecast, and then when I saw it after the news, it looked worse. Anyhow, I give you the latest.

First I have to get past the crossed–out notes. For Friday you can expect some cloudy–type skies, leaning on Paris from the direction of the Channel, or northwest. You might have to go far out west to see this, but maybe not. If there are no clouds, or if they are thin, then it will be sunny. It is also supposed to be warm, like about 31 degrees. It might feel humid.

Today, with a temperature right up there at 30, with full–blue skies, it did not feel humid. It felt plain warm. Saturday's one big sunball over all of France might be glazed a bit by thin clouds. The temperature should be a bit lower too, at a predicted 28 degrees.

Sunday is called Sunday because it's supposed to be sunny. I mean the forecast for it is sunny – with another big France–wide sunball, and bluer skies. Because it's Sunday, the temperature gets a pip, up one degree to 29. Get to Paris Plage early if you want to get a deckchair. If you want to share one, go later.

A 'Cityless' Club Report of the Week

In the interests of good Paris reporting I set out early for the club. This means I leave the warm underground of the Métro early – whew! – so that I can inspect the state of café terraces. In today's case this is in the Quartier Latin.

At first I think the terraces are empty, because everybody has left town, but harder looking reveals that many terracians are well under the awnings, only dimly seen in the deep shadows. Awnings have more uses than letting people sit outside when it's raining.

Nobody is sitting in direct sunlight. Some people have even chosen terraces on the shady sides of streets. If people are inside cafés, they are sitting as close to outside as possible.

It's the beginning of the summer weekend when the second shift is ready to blow town, before the somewhatphoto: cafe, paris plage map disappointed July shift returns. The 'July shift' is always disappointed because of July's first two weeks of rain, and July is imagined to be a short month because August is imagined to be a much longer month.

The business end of a soup bowl of café.

This year, of course, a handful of people remember August of 1914 being interrupted by World War 1. It was supposed to have been a novelty war, over by mid–September, but because it wasn't Augusts have never been the same.

Monsieur Ferrat at the café La Corona assures me that all is well in the café business today. He also confirms that the Corona has a concession to run a café right on Paris Plage, right across the Quai du Louvre. It is the closest one to the Corona, but they have their drinks down there so don't expect to see any 'Waiters of the Week' scooting across the busy street.

In the café's 'grande salle' – all windows open today – I pick a table and note half the particulars before I am joined by new member Linda Wanless, from Portland, Oregon.

Linda says she arrived a bit early so she had a bit of a cool tour in the Saint–Germain–l'Auxerrois church, half a block away. It was a parish church for the Valois' in the 14th century, but it started out a bit more modestly in the 8th century. During the Révolution it was used as a barn, but became a church again in 1855. On a hot day it is cool inside.

Lucky Checkley arrives, bringing the 'LiveStrong' bracelet he collected for 1€ on Sunday while watching the final rounds of the Tour de France. The euro goes to the Fondation Lance Armstrong in France.

While searching for Paris Accordéon in the 14th on Monday, Lucky recalls being accosted by a hustler with a Monoprix shopping bag who said, 'Hey Man! Wanna buy a watch?' "I have one already!" he replied. Then he checked the cheapo CDs at 'Disc King' while I carried my spaghetti home.

"We just lost a race," was the initial greeting made by Scoop Maginniss, and Berta immediately spied the yellow Lance Armstrong bracelet. I wonder if Lance has copyrighted yellow, but don't do it out loud.

Yes, readers and members, here are Berta and Scoop again, not seen at a club meeting since New Year's Day. Berta's second question is, "Is the club re–inventingphoto: circles of pelforth itself?" Before I can even begin to wonder she says, "What a question!"

And the race they lost, it was because it was 'out of town,' in Enghien. In summer, all races are out of town. But most in–town PMUs are still operating, so there's racing somewhere – probably not 'virtual.'

Circles of Pelforth are good ones.

Linda explains that she's been in Paris each year recently but this is the first time she's managed to attend a club meeting. This must be the case for a lot of members before they become members.

Berta remembers what she thought before becoming a member in December of 1999. "You gotta be crazy to go to a club full of Americans in Paris," she says.

That was so long ago that Berta with the membership number of 26, and Scoop with 25, wasn't a member of a club 'full of Americans,' not like it is today anyway. Some of the 600 members are other kinds of people.

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