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''It Is What It Is''

photo: corona terrace

The terrace of the café La Corona today.

''Don't Change a Thing!''

Paris:– Thursday, 2. September 2004:– Is anybody supposed to take this weather seriously? Today wasn't quite as clear and sunny as forecast, but it was warm and tonight's TV–weather news Joe says there will be more. It even rained for a bit tonight, rattling on dry leaves.

The partly cloudy morning and afternoon that we had today, is supposed to repeat tomorrow – either after more hectic weather goes east, or before new hectic weatherphoto: seine today comes from the west, or both. We are in the middle. Let's say it might be mostly sunny, with a high temperature of 28 degrees.

This is higher than normal 'for the time of year.' To drive home the point the same temperature highs are forecast for Saturday and Sunday. Also for both days, lots of sun should be straight up above and not over some far off horizon.

Near the end of the TV-weather news I held my breath, expecting the Joe to step out into the wild blue yonder with a prediction for Monday. But no. His time was up and he called out the saint's name for tomorrow before being yanked off camera.

This morning's Le Parisien says we should be ready to be 'bronzed' next Monday. This will be too late for all people who were doing it under cloudy skies in August.

The Lonely Hearts Club Report of the Week

There must be readers and members who will prefer not to read a club report about a meeting with no membersphoto: reflection of terrace of any sort at it so I will start this off not with the usual paragraph about how I ride the Métro as usual to the club, but get right to the point and say there were no members at today's club meeting.

Patrick, in a reflection, out on the terrace.

With about 400 words saved right here, and the only person present being the club's secretary, this is as good a place as any to introduce Vancouver, British Columbia, as the 'City of the Week.'

This city name has been mentioned before in club reports. The city with the same name in Washington State did become 'City of the Week' at a club meeting not so long ago, and Port Moody to the east of Vancouver, might have too.

Vancouver is famous for being the place that Port Moody was supposed to be. It was the destination of the first trans–continental railway, handily located at a deep–water inlet with access to the Pacific ocean.

But folks in Port Moody, were, I guess, mostly railroad types and no match whatsoever for the real estate hustlers that already infested Gastown – as Vancouver was then known. They invited the railroad's surveyors and engineers to a Gastown saloon and after 72 hours of hospitality, the railroad got pushed another 20 miles west. Port Moody never recovered.

In my time in Vancouver it was still infested with real estate hustlers. They owned the city hall and the parks board, but let taxpayer types run the school system – which they did, pretty well.

Vancouver used to be famous for woodworking and rain, fishing and rain, and mining and rain. By the time I came along the fishing and mining had been banned, and the woodworking was being expropriated, but it was still raining a lot.

About the time I left, native Indians decided they wanted Vancouver back. The original real estate hustlers had paid for it with three gallons of fake whisky and 17 Hudson's Bay blankets. I haven't heard how this turned out, but I'm pretty sure it's still raining.

This is much more than is usually devoted to a 'City of the Week.' You shouldn't think Vancouver is worth morephoto: non club glasses than any of the others. It has just hit a lucky week with nobody to oppose it. I thought of asking Patrick, the 'Waiter of the Week,' to propose his 'City of the Week' but he is a Parisian, and more partisan than me.

The glasses of non–members.

Club statistics show that the last meeting with no members was the one held on 24. April 2003, which was a Thursday. That was quite a year for no member meetings – the other no member meeting was on 3. April of the same month.

When today's meeting started the 'grande salle' was empty except for a group of four French people sitting one table away from the club's area in the 'no smoking' section. The noise of my pen scratching on the paper of the club's booklets drove them away. Then it got lonely. Willy the Bird did not appear.

At about 16:00 Patrick came over and looked at the empty tables and then looked worried. "C'est la rentrée," he said. I wondered how many members would be busy taking their kids back to school today. The radio news this morning said about 12 million kids were supposed to go and hardly any schools were on strike.

To pass the time I read the membership booklet. One member wrote, in answer to a question on the club's non–obligatory questionnaire, that he was in Paris for 'flanneurism' and 'mangeurism.'

Another member answered the question 'what is the primary reason for your visit?' with "Hedonism – my girlfriend lives here." To the next question, 'what have you liked most in Paris,' the answer was, "See above – and use imagination."

'What is your favorite Paris activity?' was answered with, "Une grande crême chaque matin." Another answered, "The length of my stay," tophoto: mirrors, windows the question asking 'what would they would like to see changed, improved?'

But not all is rosy in Paris. One member complained, "I couldn't find soup for dinner." Another member wants to see traffic lights with 'improved' colors.

More mirrors, more reflections.

A number of members, without looking at how others responded to question 6 – 'what is your favorite Paris activity?' answered with, "Lounging in the Luxembourg garden" – or something very similar.

Chance in life is something some members might be looking for in Paris. One member wrote, "First visit! I came because I won a raffle!" Chance before you get here is good too.

One member moaned about the 'dog poop on the streets, the sullen faces and all the cigarette smoking,' and then answered the following question with, "It is what is – don't change a thing!"

"This is my 7th visit, my fourth in the last 2 years. I love Paris – especially the Left Bank and the bookstores and the walking and the beautiful little patisseries & boulangeries. My favorite church (at the moment) is Etienne–du–Mont. My least favorite place is the Flea Market at Clignancourt. Favorite Paris activity is walking (a flanneur!!) Metropole came up in a search for Paris weather! I would like to see a page on Ric – there should be a page 'more about Ric!'"

Finally, an enthusiast. "I like Beaujolais Nouveau even when it's not new!" And another – with the answers to questions two, three and six – "Eat, drink and buy shoes."

I don't know about the rest of you – readers, would–be club members and members – but I enjoyed today's club meeting and I'm sure Ric did too, because it wasn't raining.

The Café Metropole Club's About Page

Today's club meeting 'report' contains more than what happened, which was nothing. The 'About the Café Metropole Club' page has some other details, butphoto: clubs mascot you can skip it and not miss a lot. An easier way to find out all you want 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 nearly in a flash by signing–in yourself any of its meetings in Paris if you happen to be here on a Thursday. Getting something to drink is easily arranged, especially if Patrick is the 'Waiter of the Week.'

The club's tasteful mascot, or icon.

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

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

The weekly club meetings start about 15:00, on Thursday afternoons. Meetings end about 17:00, also on Thursday afternoons in the western European Time zone – which is really 'CET' for short and not 'extraordinarily sunny' although it sometimes is – and known elsewhere as 3 pm to 5 pm. Club meetings are held in Paris. If the secretary gets any other better offer, club meetings will be held there.

Doing something clever at a meeting – like turning up for one – is considered the opposite of not being in another town. True 'firsts' are welcome, with 'true' having a much greater 'clever' value than 'first,' especially if Beaujolais Nouveau is involved. 'First' is perfectly acceptable too, especially if it's honestly 'true.'

There's just 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 archives except for all the originals still online buried in the cool and deep salt mines of the chronicles.

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 bit of it is, sometimes.*

*The above paragraphs are relatively unchanged since last week because member Willy the Bird failed to show up for the second meeting in a row.

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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Waldo Bini