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''This Is Irreal?''

photo, group, walter, dan, susanne, bruce, olga, audrey, shirley, tomoko

The only 'Group of Eight Photo of the Week.'

Put On Another Prawn

Paris:– Thursday, 9. June 2005:– This weather is way too good. Here it is June and it's not freezing or nearly snowing, it doesn't feel like March and the end of winter, spring has actually happened and here it is sliding up to feeling like summer. What is this? The 'impossible' year? Some fantasy out of a textbook?

One thing for sure is 'normal' weather sure doesn't seem 'normal.' The sun is shining, the breezes are playing around with the air, the sky is a total pale blue – no, mid–blue – and if we were going to complain it would be about the rather low temperature. But for some people, maybe a majority, this is a plus too.

Tonight's TV–weather Joe didn't bother us with details like the big picture 'mass of air' or the blue and red temperature animation. He just launched into the outlook for Friday, very uncomplicated, with one big sunball and a few scattered itty bitty little clouds caressing the north, which is a fair way off from here. Add a low of 11 and a high of 22 degrees and there you have it.

The rest of the show wasphoto, red wine full short, for the outlook for Saturday is for more of the same, but with the itty bitty clouds knocking around near the Alps or bumping into them. Over Montmartre, just blue skies. Ah, the temperature won't be blazing with a high of 18 degrees though.

On Sunday while maybe more little clouds gather over to the east, harassing the Alps, the show should stay the same here, with the same temperature. It won't be perfect for sitting on the grass and having a picnic but if you keep moving you are unlikely to get overheated. For once I can say it looks good, so be sure to carry a concealed umbrella on Sunday.

If I'm wrong you can't say you weren't warned.

The 'Put On Another Prawn' Report of the Week

Apparently there has been a huge demonstration by angry industrial workers, but tonight's TV–news treats this like a 'ps' to their story about the prime minister's offensive against unemployment. A bit of a scan reveals that retired people have been marching today too, and the Métro had a partial strike on some lines. The effect of this on the line four at Raspail is less waiting time than usual – one minute.

The station Saint–Placide is open again so the train stops in it. It means one more station full of posters to look at, but none of the posters are wonderful this week so I'm just as content to rise to the surface again at Odéon and swing down Dauphine to the Pont Neuf, where the traffic lights are on strike.

A couple of cool lady flics are controlling traffic like lion tamers and I put my life in their hands without a qualm, and gain the bridge where I immediately jaywalk to the western side. This is a number one sport in Paris but I've heard that the parking–ticket brigade can hand out tickets for this. I can't imagine them doing it if the jaywalker does not do anything silly – like falling asleep in the middle of a street.

The usual flics controlling the traffic flow at the Samaritaine are nowhere to be seen so I wait for the green man and when he lights up I risk my life to cross. The lady who runs the newspaper kiosk has ended her strike, today at least, and she sells me a paper.

Further along the Quai du Louvre I see that visitors have taken to seats on some of the terraces with a front–row perch for watching the antics of drivers getting enraged while waiting for the traffic lights to give them the old green dot. Or, maybe they are watching for seagulls.

When I get to the club's café I go around the corner to look in the cake shop window, to see if there'sphoto, 2 coronas anything cute to photograph. Member Susanne Chaney is coming along and asks what I think I'm doing. My watch, which is fast, says it's ten minutes until the meeting time. There is nothing in the window to shoot so I turn around and go to the café.

A pair of 'Coronas of the Week.'

Its clock says there are 12 minutes left before the hour. I think it's slow. The club's area is empty, except for a couple of place mats and cutlery. Susanne Chaney arrives, eating an ice cream cone, and asks me if I'm going to order something to eat.

The 'Waiter of the Week' arrives a minute later and clears away the place mat while saying he remembers the club from last year, but I do not remember him – one of several dozen one–time 'Waiters of the Week.'

Susanne tells me about the street demonstration of industrial workers, and the warning about today's Métro strike that she found yesterday posted in buses. In the middle Olga and Dan Ciupitu arrive and Dan hands me a leaflet that the demonstrators gave him. It complains about measures that the prime minister, Dominique de Villepin, announced yesterday.

"Summer is coming," Dan says. You might not think such an observation is remarkable, but it is a rare one to make here, in this climate where summer some times does not arrive in summer or any other season.

Olga and Dan were on Montmartre yesterday, by coincidence, in the same place where I began a '50–cent tour' for a couple of visitors. A '50–cent tour' starting on the Right Bank that doesn't include the Left Bank, is half of the 'dollar tour.'

"I didn't get my portrait done," Dan says, about the portrait artists up on the Butte. Beforephoto, carafe water, glasses I can explain the geopolitical situation of Montmartre's portrait artists Susanne, Olga and Dan are locked into a fascinating discussion of train fares between Amsterdam and Gare du Nord. Obviously, just finding the right track at Gare du Nord is worth whatever it costs.

The hardly noteworthy 'Waters of the Week.'

Next I have some guy standing opposite, until I figure out it is Walter Pappas with a haircut. "I fell asleep in the barber's chair," he says, not a bit embarrassed. "I can recommend him!" He scans the club's area, all four of us, and says, "Where's Shirley?"

Since I don't know he continues. "They have a way of smelling bargains outside a store," he says, "They have a bargain hunting sensor, and their pocketbooks vibrate," he insists.

He must be thinking of having no 'bargain hunting sensor,' which allows him to be in this café, where his wallet isn't vibrating. "It can't be better than this," he says, pausing for a big gulp of breezy air, "But we're not aware of the reality of it."

Dan, who is listening carefully, asks, "This is irreal?"

"My ashes are going to be thrown into the Seine," Walter asserts, with a grin.

"Your ancestors aren't going to be very happy," Dan says.

Walter says, "Did you see all the skulls underground?"

"I don't see why we have to talk about the dead," Susanne says.

"I went to three cemeteries last week," Dan says, "You might get ideas."

This gives Walter the idea to phone Shirley to find out how the search for bargains is going, or maybe slow it down. I think it might be a club 'first' but am not certain.

Apparently Shirley is reassuring because Walter continues with, "He might have been Cuban. He wasphoto, walter, membership card worried about Castro starving Cubans." This turns out to be what the barber might have worried about, but Walter was careful not to put his neck in danger and didn't say anything.

This is when unsuspecting members Audrey and Bruce Poole arrive. They are from Fredericton, New Brunswick, which is quietly in Canada someplace. The Poole's are practically the only club members who order Corona beers and get Corona beers in bottles.

Just as we have ways of making membership cards, we have ways of of confounding stealth lamination.

When I tell Dan this is a little–known but true feature of the club's café he wonders if it might not be named after a cigar instead. Neither of us feels like trekking to the tabac up front to find out.

It's been a couple of weeks since the last member from Canada was at a club meeting so I ask Audrey to fill us in about events there. "Everybody wants to vote for the leader of the Quebec separatists," she says, "But only people living in Quebec can vote for him." It's good to hear that Canada is still a sort of democracy I think.

Shirley Pappas comes into the café, not carrying any shopping bags of any kind. She sits down and the 'Waiter of the Week' immediately fetches her a wonderful glass of red colored wine. Tomoko Yokomitsu arrives right after, to a round of light applause.

Walter tries again. He pulls out his club membership card and holds it up. Bruce says, "What?"

"I'm a card carrying member," Walter says. "It doesn't look like a membership card because of the bad lamination." Bruce photographs the card and when he is finished I give it a shot. We agree it is a test of 'stealth lamination.' Walter has to hold a finger aloft for something to focus on.

Bruce says, "I really like this France Télécom interactive digital TV. It's gotphoto, empty wine interactive weather!" Then he explains what 'interactive' weather looks like on TV. No, it's not the 3–D type of weather that makes carpets wet.

Susanne says that TV5 is really good for learning French. I wonder what all this is about. My TV doesn't have any of this stuff, and it certainly isn't 'interactive' or digital, unless you count the wavy lines and the ghosts.

"Life wasn't meant to be easy," Dan says. "It should be alright," he adds. Somebody else is shouting, and most are laughing, what is it?

"I'm looking for a chicken," Tomoko says. Oh – I get it. She's given up on a 'Kitty' mascot and now she's hunting for a chicken. Or a small bird, like Willy. I think, 'easter.' Easter is a long time off.

"Put another prawn on the barbie!" Between Dan, Walter and Bruce, they've decided that this new slogan that sums up the ethos of Australia, involves a prawn not a shrimp. That's why somebody kept saying, 'no shrimp, no shrimp.'

I have a feeling it is getting close to news time but it is only just past five. Everybody pays up, after Tomoko tells us where to find the next performance of 'Beatles Story' on Tuesday, 21 June. I look around but I can't see the club's blue Bic pen anywhere.

I must look like I've lost my number one teddy because Dan generously gives me his tested–in–space pen that writes upsidedown under water in sunken submarines. While I try to write upsidedown with it – it works! – Susanne looks under the seat and sees where I'vephoto, empty cafe cup dropped the blue Bic pen. Dan doesn't want his space pen back. Now the club has three official pens.

About the Café Metropole Club's About Page

Today's club meeting 'report' with enough members for a summery blather, probably doesn't totally clear up what this is all about. See the virtual 'About the Café Metropole Club' page with a mess of redundant words, but you can ignore them and still not miss the membership card. You can join the club, even without one, on any 'Thursday of the Week.'

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

Club meetings begin at 15:00, whenever it's in the afternoon, always on Thursdays and continue for two whole hours until 17:00 on the same afternoon, always in the western European Time zone – which is always 'CET' for short and never 'TszZ' although it occasionally is – and known in other rare places as 3 pm to 5 pm. Around somewhere else is not where meetings are so be sure to come to the café La Corona's 'grande salle.' The people drinking and laughing in the rear are us.

Attend a meeting – by being at one or more. Hang around for a hour or two with new and old friends especially if you have the time for it. True 'firsts' are welcome, with 'true' being equal to 'first' even if 'real' is just as unlikely too, and if it is an alternate form of 'irreality' with any sort of connection to facts, true or not.

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.graphic: club location map Toss your name into Google if in doubt.

Former 'rules' continue to be in disallowed week after week after week, month after month, year–in year–out, forever and moreover beyond the stars. Nevertheless these may still be consulted so that you know the history of the past of this social club making it seldom to repeat it, as we attempt to avoid doing.

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

*The above paragraphs are relatively unchanged since last week because of today's total no–show appearance of any buzzards or other UFOs.

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