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''A Profound Experience''

photo, tomoko, josef, silvana, nina, mitch, dee, philip, pamela

This week's large 'Group of the Week' is not quite all.

What's In a Title?

Paris:– Thursday, 28. April 2005:– At today's club meeting new members informed me that they read this weather report or forecast and they take it as a true indication of what the weather was like here – when they read the report, which might be months before they are turning up to experience it, or avoid it by passing the afternoon at a club meeting.

Which means, I guess, that I could be giving weather forecasts for the back side of the moon, for all the good it is going to do anybody. Even if the forecasts are right, you aren't here most of the time – and they are not right all the time, and sometimes they are in the wrong month, or are never the same from year to year. It's a problem beyond solving, I think you'll agree.

Fortunately we are all grown up and we know the weather can be mysterious and capricious, ornery, devil–may–care, or plain careless, so we are used to being perfectly prepared for any and all occasions – like for picnics in February or deep–snow skiing in June. We are like the 43–blade Swiss pocket knife of weather afectuosos, aren't we?

Luckily for all I try to see the TV–weather news before the news. Lately the news has been followedphoto, le parisien, superbe, airbus a380 by 'questions and answers' with a politician, leaving the weather shorted to just tomorrow. This happened tonight and if I hadn't been quick on the spot you would have been left guessing for May day.

This important day is on Sunday. Good weather is crucial for it because a lot of people are annoyed with the government and they want to go out and march all over Paris – it's the 'Fête du Travail! – the day most workers worldwide have off. The day the grindstones are still.

Here is the weekend's good news – Friday may start off crummy but it's expected to get kind of sunny. High temperature for the day will be 21 degrees. Saturday may be mostly sunny, with a high of 25 degrees. Sunday may just be super–sunny with a high of 28 degrees. Do not worry about the clouds in Brittany for they might stay where the are, leaving us with only very tiny little clouds. See you at République at 14:00.

The 'Profound Experience' Report of the Week

This morning's radio news has said lawyers are demonstrating today somewhere around the Palais de Justice, so I stay on the Métro all the way to Cité in hopes of getting a photo of a bunch of lawyers wearing their black robes and shaking their fists at the gendarmes guarding France's number one courthouse. But the slackers are still having lunch when I arrive. Nothing is happening except for a few tourists lining up for the show in the Conciergerie.

On the north side nothing much is happening in the Seine either and further on the Pont Neuf is having a ho–humphoto, wine of the week day too. Ditto Samaritaine, although I don't go in, and the newspaper kiosk outside gives up a copy of Le Parisien. I have to ask for it because I don't recognize its front page, a full–page photo of yesterday's Airbus takeoff. Ohh, the photo takes up all of the back page too – it's all one huge photo.

I must say I am going to take some credit for this. My archives must have about ten drawings of this super jumbo that I did 35 years ago. What looked like an overweight joke then looks like a pinup today. Some people have said the new Airbus looks ugly. I say it does not – it looks like a fat flying sausage with gull–wings. Like a short Condor.

Onwards along the Quai du Louvre to the club's café there isn't much startling to see, so I go around the corner to the cake shop to look for animals in the window, but all there is are some chocolate boxes. Okay, enough fooling around, it's showtime.

In the club's area of the 'grande salle' a new member is waiting for the club's secretary. This turns out to be a nice young lady from my own home town, who is really from Paris, I think, but who is '404' – 'not found' – for this meeting. I mention this so that any of you who wish to be '404' will know that you are not alone even though it can be ticklish fitting you into a club report without you being in it.

There isn't a lot of time to get hung up on this before Dee Kubel and Mitch Bitting, from Daytona Beach, Florida,photo, mark kritz are taking places at the tables to my right. Mitch says that he has tried to get to the club on past visits, hindered by the 'usual excuses' clause.

Then Nina Keneally, from Stratford, Connecticut, swings in and sits opposite, talking, saying something about a date. A moment later, or maybe at the same time, Silvana Felix from Toronto, Ontario, is settling in beside Nina. Do I hear this right – they met online so they could walk around Paris together.

Mark Kritz, club member and many–time visitor.

"I like walking around and getting lost," Mitch says, but makes an exception of Montmartre where walking around is on stairs or hills. He tells Dee about the club's 'rules.' The secretary tries to think of some, and makes sure everybody knows about the dead–letter email 'rule' that says if anybody sees a name in a club 'report' and writes to a member, the secretary passes it on.

Right here I should remind members and friends of members that it is impossible to pass on emails to abandoned or dormant email accounts. Members have slight reason to keep their secretary up–to–date with current email addresses. Spam–be–damned, etc.

Nina takes out her glasses and the lenses fall on the table top. She has fall–apart glasses,photo, pill boxes actually designed to have interchangeable lenses. They are not a bit like having two pairs of glasses.

The 'Waiter of the Week,' first week on this job, glides up and takes a round of orders. He has spiky hair with blond tips. Maybe he is not really a 'Waiter of the Week.' When drinks come, Mitch asks, "Is there an official club toast?"

Members' handy pill boxes, one with mints.

It's the first I've heard of one. More new members Pamela Stone and Philip Stone arrive, from Edmonds, Washington, near Seattle. Mitch suggests, "C'est ce bon!" Maybe there should be a contest?

Nina says what she thinks of the only club 'toast' proposal, and says, "Getting lost in Paris is a profound experience."

Everybody has shaken everybody else's hand by now, and all exchange 'numbers of times' visiting here. "I will not be a tourist when I can't remember how many times I've been here," Nina observes.

Josef Schomburg arrives and Mitch recognizes his hat. Famous times in cemeteries are remembered and Josef claims that they are full of guard dogs.

My cemetery across the street never barks, but Josef says the dogs have muzzles on so the neighbors aren't disturbed when prowlers get caught. I wonder about being disturbed by the guards when they blow their whistles to chase out the visitors.

Does this make any sense? Nina says, "A lot of people going to Monticello weren't alive when Jefferson lived there." If not, it is like the rest of these notes, a result of everybody talking at once.

Pamela poses the 'pasta' question, tophoto, leslie silton me. The purpose of this is to find out who is a closet Canadian. These apparently can't say 'pasta' or 'mafia' or 'roof' correctly. Oh golly! I thought it was a Monoprix question.

Most members prolonged their meeting for Leslie Silton.

Tomoko Yokomitsu finally arrives so we have enough of a quorum for the 'Group Photo of the Week.' The awning has been lowered outside so we go out there to catch the light. The traffic is growling but the members line up pretty well and most of them keep their eyes open for some of the photos. Tomoko seems to be asleep in a couple of shots. She's done it so many times before.

Back inside other cameras come out for the 'each–other' photos. Philip says, "Un, deux, trois..." and there's a terrible blitz, causing white spots all over.

Long–time member Mark Kritz arrives too, and parks by Josef and Silvana. He has a long story about coming to the club all afternoon after starting out early. I can believe this happens often, when members get lost on the way here and have to wait a year before being successful enough to sign the members' booklet. But there's no hurry. Any Thursday will do.

The waiter sweeps up the change and exactly around five more or less is when new member Leslie Silton, from Los Angeles, California, arrives. The half that haven't risen stay sitting and some that have sit down again. Leslie remembers being in a club that was all black inside, near Houston Street, and a friend of Alan Ginzberg made a collection for her,photo, drinks of the week gathering six or eight dollars.

And then there are four of us outside the café as the traffic creaks by, putting the finishing touches on a conversation of many voices before crossing the street to the river side and dividing to go in different directions, to the Quarter Latin.

I forgot. Stratford is the 'City of the Week.' The official club toast is the 'Question of the Week.'

Cheer for Club Member

See Laurel Avery's latest works at the Salon des Artistes Indépendants. The 116th edition of this salon celebrates the 50th anniversary of the death of Maurice Utrillo. Look for Laurel at stand C–36 and say hello anytime until Sunday, 1. May. Open from 11:30 to 19:30. At the Espace Champerret, near the Périfreak, Paris 17. Métro: Porte de Champerret. InfoTel.: 01 45 63 39 15.

About the Café Metropole Club's About Page

Today's club meeting 'report,' with a couple of more members than usual, skipped lunch but did not lack for talk. The evocative 'About the Café Metropole Club' page has some fuzzy photos, but you can ignore them all and miss little more than a flood of words. The club can be joined on any 'Thursday of the Week' is the short version. Bring a friend or two.

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

Club meetings begin about 15:00 on the hour in the afternoon, on Thursday and continue for two hours until 17:00 in the same afternoon in the western European Time zone – which is really 'CET' for short and not 'TZsZ' although it sometimes is – and known in a few other places as 3 pm to 5 pm. Around somewhere else is not where meetings are held so be sure you come to La Corona regardless of how it's spelled.

Be darned clever at a meeting – by being at one or more. Hang around for a hour or two with new friends especially if you have the time for it. True 'firsts' are welcome, with 'first' having more worth than 'true' regardless if 'first' is perfectly believable too, and if it is an acceptable form of 'true' with any sort of vague connection to fantasy.

A note of caution – you may have any one or more personal reasons for remaining unfindable 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. If in doubt toss your name into Google.graphic: club location map If it's a made–up name don't bother.

Former 'rules' continue to be discontinued week after week after week, month after month, year–in year–out, forever. Nevertheless these may be examined so that you know the history of the past and will be hardly condemned to repeat it like we often try to avoid doing.

Talking to other club members at meetings is encouraged rather than optional if there aren't any. There are usually free chairs, so sit – wherever you like. Standing up is okay too. Whatever you say will be properly appreciated by other members present if there are any that are listening, and there usually are some – and if it should happen to be written here.*

*The above paragraphs are relatively unchanged since last week because of a reason well–known to us all that I've forgotten.

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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Send email concerning the
contents to: Ric Erickson, Editor.
Metropole Midi © 2014
– unless stated otherwise.
logo, metropole sml midi logo No matter how good it tastes,
there is no such thing
as a free lunch.
Waldo Bini