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''France Is Out of Order!''

photo, group, bruce, michelle, olga, dan

Todat's 'Group of Bruce, Michelle, Olga, Dan, Photo of the Week.'

''Where's the Poetry?''

Paris:– Thursday, 16. June 2005:– This weather is way too good. Residents and visitors are making remarks about it. People who should know better are saying that Paris has fine weather this year, or this June. I can agree with them. After all it's about 27 degrees today and the sun is almost shining. The illusion of fine weather has never been better!

I bet you are expecting me to spring the storm of the week on you. I admit that my weather map for tomorrow has a lot of wiggly lines on it, representing clouds up north and reaching down to here. But the sleaze is moving out east and the high is sitting out there, ready to replace it.

Therefore more sun is in the offing for Friday afternoon, and the temperature is expected to hit 27 degrees again, which tonight's TV–weather news said was 'above average.' I should say it is because the 'average' for June is probably 18.5 degrees.

But not this year and not for us. Saturday should be remarkable, with no clouds other than a brand–new white–bodied Airbus A380 floating around in the sky. It'll be a day to look for breezes because the temperature is predicted to be 30 degrees.

Sunday will not be quite so fine because there might be two little clouds up near the Channel. And except for two other little clouds swirling around an Alp, the sky will be azure blue. Head for the ventilators because the temperature is predicted to be 31 degrees.

If any of this actually happens it will be truly remarkable. I am getting ready to put down the end of this week as the 'best June of the millennium.' So far, so good.

The "Where's the Poetry?" Report of the Week

Owing to having to screw my head on tighter I didn't make my early get–away to the club meeting today, but by the time I'd gotten past the cemetery and into the Métro at Raspailphoto, green drink of the week and ridden to Odéon where I got out and walked down the Dauphine of the useless sidewalks and reached the middle of the Pont Neuf, then, I was a bit ahead of time somehow.

Not only this but there were fewer people on the bridge than usual which allowed me to walk along almost as if I were on my very own railroad, rather than being shunted onto sidings – hopping down and walking on the road surface, I mean.

The green 'Drink of the Week.'

At the Quai du Louvre, across from the Samaritaine, there was an unusual scene. It looked like peace had broken out. I knew this meant a sad story was true – the great department store, here since the 19th century, was closed. It was closed yesterday and nobody knows when or if it will reopen. Last night 300 employees and fans tried to force the store to stay open.

But there is no sign of this today. When the green man signals I take the crossing, while crossing my fingers for the newspaper kiosk to be open. Surprisingly it is and I buy Le Parisien, which has a photo of grieving Samaritaine employees on its front page.

This bit of the Quai du Louvre will not be the same without the Samar there, acting as the grand bazar, ever ready to provide some 'bonheur des dames,' and lady club members too. Dommage bien triste.

Just over a block away the café La Corona is ambling through the afternoon in its typical low–key fashion, with all of its doors and windows allowing free passage of air. Not many are taking the shade in its 'grande salle' when I pull in to take up residence in the back of the room.

I must even be a bit early because I have time to note the day's particulars and get out the paper and read about all the 'bagarres' Europe has had since the idea of it was hatched. They've had their share of schmozzles.

But then Olga and Dan Ciupitu are upon me, pulling out members' chairs and taking their places, telling mephoto, lemon drink of the week about yet another place that has good café. I think this couple remember all their questions for a week and dump them here, but this allows me to show off.

Yes, I say, the Métro's messages about the 'pickpockets in the station' do not necessarily mean 'right now' – these messages have been broadcast for years. For all anybody knows all those pickpockets got rich and retired to Nice.

The lemon 'Drink of the Week.'

Next question is about the Joes standing around at Les Puces with authentic watches and genuine American cigarettes for sale extra cheap. Before I can suggest these might not be the bargains touted, Dan tells me what happens when a couple of salad baskets full of flics descend on the scene. 'All the usual suspects' are arrested, all that the police are able to catch.

Dan says the cops throw the loot into waiting garbage trucks that gobble it up. It just goes to show that the police are so efficient that they need no evidence. Then Olga mentions the picnics.

It is the season of the brocantes, of the garage sales, of the antiques, and Olga and Dan have noticed that the dealers get together and have picnic lunches, sitting on their wares, but not necessarily eating off gilded plates with silver cutlery. All over France between noon and three junk dealers are eating al fresco. Well, hmm, where else?

Then Dan becomes philosophic. He is worried about the younger generation, he thinks they might be shallow and materialistic. As an example he says that they go out and get drunk in herds on weekends. "They don't get drunk on Tuesdays," he says. "Where's the poetry?"

Before I can remember how little good drinking on Tuesdays did for me Tomoko Yokomitsu arrivesphoto, brown drink of the week with a ready–made observation. "It is very hot!" Either just before or just after her heels is Bruce Poole, who says, "My daughter is off looking for Van Morrison."

Good grief! I think. Has another one kicked the bucket in Paris? But no – Tomoko and Dan rush to substitute Jim Morrison for Van Morrison. "He's not going anyplace," says Dan.

Today's brown 'Drink of the Week.'

"This is our third trip," Bruce says, adding, "The other two times the weather was crappy."

Tomoko understands that visitors prefer good weather. She says, "In museums, I need oxygen."

Dan agrees, "All those people, they burn it up." Then, to make sure the club's secretary is alert, the subject shifts slightly. "Elevators that don't work, work when you don't need them," Dan claims. "France is out of order!"

Yes, it is true. The ordinary things of daily life in other countries are sources of adventure here. Every doorknob is a puzzle, every light switch is a flirt with danger, every water tap is a mystery. It keeps us on our toes but we don't take it personally, these are the kinds of tests nobody gets 'life points' for.

Next Dan is telling us about an early morning excursion to see the garden at Bagatelle. 'Really nice, roses, garden gnomes.' He started out from Porte Maillol to go to the Bois de Boulogne, but became a bit unnerved by the vans parked along there, and the van ladies in them, 'some in the forest.'

I do not have time to explain how former minister of the interior Nicolas Sarkozy arranged for the ladies to switch from the Rue Saint–Denis to vans, because he is minister of the interior again and for all I know he'll get them to switch back.

"I had a garden gnome but somebody pinched it," Dan says. This could not have been easy because Dan lives in an apartment.

Last week Bruce reminded Dan ofphoto, group of drinks of the week several phrases that Australians only say when they are pulling the legs of foreigners, such as 'put another shrimp on the barbie.' Today Bruce chooses to say, "That's the home of the funnel–web spider, isn't it?"

Today's group of 'Drinks of the Week.'

"Not around Sydney!" Dan denies stoutly. Then while Dan is mumbling about places like Queensland, the Outback, Alice Springs, Bruce says, "Most poisonous – you get bitten by a funnel–web and you're dead."

I'm thinking, Nigel never mentioned these things to me. Dan is explaining how to shake your boots in the morning to make the poison spiders fall out – heck, it was only a few weeks ago that somebody brought up the steel boat–eating sea–going crocodiles – gosh, no wonder people visit France!

Right here a lady arrives who is such a recent member that I can't locate her name. In revenge, Michelle Dauvissat says, "I'm sure you work for the CIA."

Dan fills me in. "Zen, holes in Oregon, never look up for heaven." I must say, none of it rings any bells. Even if I worked for the CIA I would be perplexed.

Bruce becomes the next target when he is asked to explain where he's from. When he says eastern Canada, Michelle says, "In that case I have a tenant from Canada who hasn't paid the rent."

The long and short of this has Michelle staying in youth hostels until the end of the month, until the tenant – 'a wonderful person' – leaves.

Youth hotels sound like fun if youphoto, samaritaine, closed of the week don't mind youths. Dan points out that you can be any age to stay in Turkish youth hostels, and Bruce agrees. Michelle's only problem with them seems to involve having to change rooms every other day. But her next move will be okay – it's to be on the same floor.

Today's closed 'Department Store of the Week.'

Along the way we got out to the terrace for the 'group photo of the week' but just before that Tomoko got a call on her phone and zipped off on urgent business.

About the Café Metropole Club's About Page

Today's club meeting 'report' with sufficient members for a hand of bridge, probably doesn't exactly clear up what this is all about. Take a look at the virtual 'About the Café Metropole Club' page with a vast collection of words, but you can ignore them and still not miss seeing the membership card. You can join the club, even with one, on any 'Thursday of the Week.'

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

Club meetings, as these things are called, begin at 15:00, in the afternoon, always on Thursdays and continue for two complete hours until 17:00 the same afternoon, usually in the western European Time zone, now in its summer version. Known in other rare places as 3 pm to 5 pm, around somewhere else is not where meetings are held so be sure to come to the café La Corona's 'grande salle.' The folks drinking and drinking 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 'reality' with any sort of connection to true life, fact 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 Throw your name into Google if in doubt.

Former 'rules' continue to be former week after week after week, month after month, year–in year–out, forever and moreover beyond the rivers, mountains, solar system and stars. Nevertheless these may still be consulted so that you know the past of this historical social club making it rare 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 surprise mention of Sydney's dreaded funnel–web domestic spider.

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