horz line

Spiderman's Summer

photo: roller stop, cafe atlantique

The roller watering–hole before the tour.

Double Weather for Nothing

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Monday, 9. August 2004:– This is not the place to look for a tip–top weather forecast. The day started off poorly when I went to get a Parisien and they were sold out. You may think I got up too late, but it happened to two other people too. So I bought a Libération and for the first time in my life discovered that it only has today's weather.

This, I predicted, rightly or wrongly, last Thursday. It's too late to make any corrections. I resolved to be extra diligent with the TV–weather news tonight. To back this up, I made little weather maps by hand, from a well–thumbed Parisien I found in a café.

The TV guy comes on, first, to talk about the storm warning tonight. This is east of here, and it will be over by the time you read this. He must work on the flat–rate 'x'–minute system because he gave a normal forecast for tomorrow, said the saint's name – Saint–Amour! – and then he said 'au revoir.'

Of course what he did say about tomorrow was completely at odds with the Parisien's map from thisphoto: rain, pont au change morning. It looks like it will be very variable, with maybe more clouds than blue sky, and maybe rain, and maybe a high of 24 degrees.

I've just paid my TV–licence so I flipped over to TF1 and watched 13 shoddy commercials. Waiting paid off though and their weather guy came on. He looks like a guy disguised as a nerd. His version for Tuesday was lots of rain–type times followed in the afternoon by less rain.

Real rain, really last Thursday.

Then while I was trying to figure out exactly how to discribe Wednesday's complicated weather map, he stood in front of it and rattled off some nonsense about Thursday, and then said, 'au revoir,' as if he were pulling down a windowshade.

What can I do? I don't have any tea leaves. Libération, a borrowed Parisien, two sets of sketches made from two incomplete weather shows – all of this tells me to tell you that Thursday will be mostly cloudy, partly sunny, and the high will be about 25 degrees. If I'm wrong, sue somebody.

Café Life

You Didn't Ask for Sunday's Weather

It's getting later in the year. I guess this is why it feels cool in the apartment in the mornings, even up until noon. It doesn't seem to matter how hot it was the day before. I think I should take three hours for breakfast and then have a siesta until it's time for breakfast again.

I have to think about where to get bread. My end of Daguerre only has two boulangeries, and further east there must be a half–dozen. They arrange among themselves who closes in July and who closes in August, and the open ones change their regular closed days of the week too, so it's always a guessing game.

My number one boulangerie closed in July so it's open today in theory, but if I don't hurry it may be out of bread.

On Saturday I found the newspaper shop closed. This was after I left the avenue where I could have gotten a paper. I had to tie a string on my memory to remember to get a paper at the first open place I could find. This was at Edgar Quinet, which was a long way around when I could have just returned to the avenue.

The streets in the quartier were closed again on Sunday. Somebody forgot about it two weeks ago. In front of my building, in the shade, the temperature felt 'above normal for the time of year.' At the corner, the sun was baking the dozing Rue Fermat. There was still shade on the east sides on the north–south streets. It didn't make much difference.

Normally, Sunday morning is a market day, up until about 14:00. People are out buying food where they can find it because it's a habit, but it felt more closed than a regular Monday because many of the shops are closed for August. Today feels even more closed.

In the café Rendez–Vous the regular Sunday customers were out of town or hadn't come in yet. The bar's TV was showing episode 149 of the endless tennis tournament. The café got a new wide–screen TV recently. It makes the tennis players look like short, dumpy people with elephant legs. Nobody cares what tennis looks like anymore.

On the way back the pharmacy sign showed 31 degrees. This was slightly short of 90 F. If it got up to 35 degrees, then we'll be having another August heatwave. It felt like it was going to make it but the afternoon topped out at 33. It felt the same at midnight.

The weather forecast for Sunday predicted that it would be hot and that it could crumble in the afternoon from fine to stormy. For this reason I went out on Saturday night, instead of expecting to go up to the Kiosque à Musique at La Villette Sunday afternoon.

I seem to be going out a lot at night now, starting with last Wednesday. Instead of 'news,' the Au Bistro column has three 'August Nights' pieces this week.

Not a Wasted Minute

Ideas sneak up on you. First they invent a bus, and then people ride on it to get where they're going if the bus goes anywhere near there. Then, a really long time later, the bus company thinks waiting passengers might be happier when the bus finally shows up, if there's a shelter from the elements.

The next idea is to plaster the bus shelter with advertising, to pay for the shelter, help passengers passphoto: ratp infobus the time while waiting under cover for a bus, and make some money off the shelter.

After a span of time, about 100 years, the bus shelter itself has evolved from being a crude shack into a steel and glass sidewalk palace, plastered with ads and transit information, and maybe a telephone has been added.

And now one of the RATP's line 38 bus shelters on Leclerc has had a 'InfoBus' unit installed, in a little booth at one end. These have been around for some time, but I noticed last week that this one has become operational.

So, if you tire of reading the ads, the transit infomation, or watching the traffic go someplce while you are cooling your heels, you can now log onto the Internet. You might, in fact, want to find out when the next bus is supposed to appear.

Or you might want to find out what the weather is up to, beyond the bus shelter. Or again, if you are tired of reading the ads, you might want to download via WiFi a 'Palm OS' version of the day's edition of Le Monde. Or, you might want to look at a map of the bus route and then send an email to the Café du Coin to reserve a table because you are pretty sure your are going to be late.

Or, you might be worried about your health after waiting so long for a bus. You can access information about this too, and maybe send an email to your doctor to ask for an urgent appointment. These 'InfoBus' units could be pretty helpful.


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