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Maybe Next Year

photo: tempest on terrace

Today's tempest on the terrace.

Hurricane Season

Paris:– Thursday, 12. August 2004:– Good weather that was 'so old hat' last week has turned into tropical weirdness this week. The rains, when they come down, come down hard and lots. Good for the trees if they aren't already too far gone.

And the rains are coming down lots of times a day. I thought they were only coming down at 03:17 in the morning, which they were, but now any old time is good enough. There's more about this in today's 'report' below.

I got a pretty good partial weather forecast tonight from the TV–weather news. I also got a copy of today's Le Parisien to scribble it on. I'll use it to fill in the parts that are only 'partial' from the TV.

Friday will be, first off, kind of windy. It will blow from the west towards the east except in Channel areas where it will blow at Amsterdam. While it will be cloudy in the morning, it will be worse in the north. 'North' may start as far south as Montmartre. In the afternoon it will be partly cloudy and part–time sunny, and there may be bits of rain too. High for the day is forecast as 24 degrees, maybe like today, which may have not got all the way up to 24.

Expect considerably simpler weather on Saturday. My note says 'half–sunny.' I neglected to note the other half. Le Parisien's weather map is quite a bit more optimistic, but TV's high is lower, at 23 degrees.

Sunday is the 'partial' day. I have written 'semi–blue' for the sky, as opposed to 'very blue' for the southern half of France. I guess the high temperature up north here will be somewhere between 23 and 25, which is, I guess, 24. There may be other elements of weather for people who like variety, but what I got is only 'partial,' so your guess is good too.

Another 'City of the Week' for this Club Report of the Week

Without devoting a lot of thought to it I set off for today's club meeting about the same time as always and I go thephoto: glassworks, corona same way to the Métro at Raspail and take what looks like about the same train to Châtelet, which looks the same too.

So does the Rue de Rivoli, even if I haven't come this way often lately. I get tired of it fast and take the street by the poodle–clip parlor and come out on the quay and cross over and look at people walking along Paris Plage. I do not see any people lying on Paris Plage, but I might not be looking in the right, dry, place.

Every week – also the empty–bottle club.

Most of the posters on the kiosk in front of Samaritaine are last week's. They weren't much good then either, so I skip them again. A fair number of people are inside the cafés along the Quai du Louvre and not many are out of the terraces.

It's the same at the club's café, La Corona. Monsieur Ferrat is waiting to tell me there is 'du monde' waiting. My watch says it is five minutes before three. He says he told them I'd be along in 10 or 15 minutes. For all I know he did it a half–hour ago.

At the club's area in the 'grande salle,' which is a quite large room, I find Barbara Cooley from Sanibel in Florida, sitting a bit offside, not exactly at the club's tables. They are occupied by members Donna and Jason Hraynyk.

Donna and Jason haven't been to a club meeting since Lauren and Steve Camera–Murray left. They have brought new member Elodie, who is two months old. They have also brought new members Susan and Nick Hraynyk, who are closely related to Jason.

Since the bulk of this family comes from Oshawa, Ontario, Jason hints strongly that it should be the 'City of the Week.' And so it should, if it hadn't been 'City of the Week' at the meeting in May of 2000 when Jason joined the club.

That was, um, four years ago. Jason has been to a lot of meetings, but I hadn't realized that it was over such a long period of time. No wonder he forgot about Oshawa. Actually, that meeting in 2000 had a big 'first' – it was about the first and last meeting to have two 'Cities of the Week.' The other one was Cincinnati.

While I'm thinking of this Barbara says that her home town island of Sanibel is expecting a hurricane soon. Last week it was alligators and this it's hurricanes. No wonder folks come to Paris!

In fact, there is a problem. The people from Paris who traded homes with Ed Hurwitz don't know about the coming hurricane as they blithely traipse around Orlando, not answering their portable phone. I've always said the United States is exciting.

Then Kim and Ed Hurwitz arrive. Donna takes Elodie, with Jason's help, off to the underground bogs. When they return Jason will say they've participated in, witnessed, assisted with, about three brand new club 'firsts.' Kate Ernst, of Manhattan and Paris, arrives at the same time.

Jason is still trying to tell me about the new major 'firsts.' Then he lets off one of his own – he got to wear the eight–foot inflated Corona bottle at Disneyland! Jason is the first member of this club to have ever done anything like this. It makes me proud to be this club's secretary.

photo: group of 11
Today's group, from left – Jerry, Susan, Donna, Nick, Jason, Barbara, Kate, Heather, Kim and Ed.

In fact, while he was not at club meetings and becoming the father of little Elodie, he also got a job with Corona and now hustles it in the 14th, 15th and 16th arrondissements. I don't get a chance to ask him what it's like to walk around Passy dressed as an eight–foot high inflated bottle of Corona. He does say the Disney people asked him to stop signing autographs out there though.

Ed croaks, loudly, "Drink!" The 'Waiter of the Week' is not being appropriately attentive because the 'grande salle' of the café is filling up with soaking wet people, looking like drowned refugees from Bulgaria.

One of them is Jerry from Jacksonville, Florida. At first I can't make him out because his glasses don't have windshield wipers. Nothing he has is dry enough to wipe them off. Jerry is one soaked dude.

For good reason. Outside a tropical shower is dumping about four hundred thousand litres of water a minute on the Quai duphoto: donna, jason, elodie Louvre. The only living things out there are city buses, and suddenly Monsieur Ferrat is with us, giving us the squeeze and shove, helping stuff in these drowned rats that have suddenly poured in the café's doors.

In the midst of this uproar, member Willy the Bird flies in and picks up a couple of crumbs from the floor. Then he hops up on a chair back and gives Jerry the beady eye. Jerry says he's here because he's read the club 'reports,' but I think he may have skipped Willy the Bird's part in them.

Elodie smiles for camera while asleep.

The café's 'grande salle' is entirely full for the first time I can remember, making it this week's 'First of the Week.' Also, though I didn't know it at the time, Jacksonville in North Florida is the 'City of the Week.'

Another Jacksonville, in North Carolina, was 'City of the Week' in June of 2001. This leaves the way open for another six Jacksonvilles to claim the honor. If anybody else shows up to be a member, we can call their home town the 'Jacksonville of the Week' instead.

For Susan and Nick this is their first visit to Paris. Nick, as a loyal Canadian, was taking a photo of the United Kingdom Embassy in the Rue Saint–Honoré when he was bounced by a gendarme who told him it was forbidden. He wanted to confiscate Nick's camera, but Nick offered to erase the photo instead. The gendarme accepted this compromise, so Nick still has a camera.

I could have told him he could take all the photos he wants of the Centre Culturel Canadien, but instead told him taking photos of anything in Paris is illegal because it's simpler. Naming what you can photograph is a very short list. You can photograph yourself if you don't stand in front of any background.

Jerry says he was at a tatoo in Edinburgh. He wants to know if there are any military band parades here. Well, yes, there will be some for the Libération ceremonies. See the recent Scène Eté column, beginning with the list starting with the date, Thursday, 19. August.

One of the café's waiters is out on the drenched terrace battling with a parasol, so I scrub the traditional 'Group Photo of the Week.' There isn't even room to stand up in the 'grande salle.' The light is terrible too.

Members are counting numbers, sortingphoto: kerry button change and throwing money at a red plastic dish. I am unaware of this until I hear – is it Barbara? – tell Kate, "You're less than half a person." Ed asks Jason if Elodie will have a perfect french accent because of being born in France.

"A Kerry button can change my life?" someone asks and I don't hear the reply. Somebody else, Jerry I think, says, "Christmas is on a Saturday this year." Now that I've got a calendar big enough to read, I can confirm this as the 'Fact of the Week.'

Ed parks his car in a free spot nearby across the Seine, along the quay, up the Rue Saints–Pères, in the Rue de Lille. Kim, Barbara and I walk with him there. While he goes west to his car, we find we have walked halfway to where we're going in two different arrondissements. The sun is shining and the air is fresh.

This was the 250th meeting of the Café Metropole Club. All that's left now is looking forward to its 251st meeting.

The only thing I've forgotten today, and not so minor, has been Heather 'Member–Number–One!' Stimmler–Hall's arrival. It's probably because I didn't get to sit beside her and hear all about her Tour de France and the van–with–windows she drove in it for two weeks. Maybe next year.

The Café Metropole Club's About Page

This abbreviated 'report' about today's club's meeting is a total approximation of what happened today. photo: waiter, parasolThe 'About the Café Metropole Club' page has some other information, but you can skip it and not miss anything. The easiest way to find out all you need to know about the club is by joining it on any week with a Thursday.

You can become a real lifetime member of this online magazine's real, live, and free club by becoming a member in a half a minute by signing–in yourself any of its meetings in Paris on a Thursday. Getting something to drink is easily arranged, if the 'Waiter of the Week' happens to be paying attention.

A 'Waiter of the Week' about the rescue an endangered parasol.

The club's 'rules' were dematerialized by the club's own members some time ago, much to their satisfaction. The club's other slim distinction is that it is the only club related to an Internet magazine that still has no newsletter.

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

The weekly club meetings start about 15:00, on all days that are Thursday afternoons. Meetings end about 17:00, in the western European Time zone – which is really 'CET' for short and not 'continental tropical rubbish' although they sometimes are – and known elsewhere as 3 pm to 5 pm. Club meetings are held in Paris. Even if the secretary gets any other better offer, he'll only accept Astoria, specifically at the Bohemian Hall.

Doing anything clever at a meeting – like being at one – is considered the opposite of not being at one. True 'firsts' are welcome, with 'first' having a much greater 'clever' value than 'true,' especially if a hurricane is involved. 'True' is perfectly acceptable too, especially if it's a clever 'first.'

Only one note of caution – you may have any one or two personal reasons for not wanting to be traceable via 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 one of these club reports.graphic: club location map

Former 'rules' remain 'former' week after everlasting week and have been purged from the club's gigantic volumes of chronicles except for all the originals still online buried deep in the cool salt mines of the archives.

Talking to other club members at meetings is an encouraged activity rather than merely optional. If there's an empty chair sit – also optional – wherever you like, or haul one over from another part of the café.What you say may be honestly appreciated by other members present if they are listening, and there usually are some – and if it should chance to be written here, as a fraction of it sometimes is.*

*The above paragraphs are relatively unchanged since last week because Jacksonville's number came up again.

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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