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'O' for Oxygen

photo, group, allyn, amy lucky, josef

Today's 'Group of the Week,' Allyn, Amy Lucky and Josef.

Instead of 'D' for Doze

Paris:– Thursday, 21. July 2005:– How sweet it is! The indoor sleeveless weather keeps on happening outside, with air like silk on the skin with nary the smell of a fried onion or rank fish, so fine that the bugs stay in the trees having a high old time feeding on each other like pâté sandwiches with gherkins on the side.

Well, hmm, er, maybe a tiny exaggeration. There are very few bugs around and I have no idea what the ones I don't see are doing. So forget them! Here on earth in Paris we are having a summer that deserves the label, 'summer,' approved by good housekeeping, the jolly green giant and the tooth fairy.

All the terrible weather that the TV–weather news tells me about and I pass on here, does not come to pass. What could be better? If I say tomorrow it might rain and it doesn't, am I not a hero for keeping the rain away through deft and timely application of an anti–prediction?

Friday for example, is supposed to start kind of cloudy and then gradually drift into a state of half or semi–cloudiness in the afternoon. It might be better than semi–cloudy but I dare not say so out loud. This is to be accompanied with temperatures on the order of 26 degrees – stink normal for the time of year.

Same thing for Saturday, with slight degrees of cloudiness in both the morning and the afternoon, with the post noon maybe being only a quarter–sunny. Hey! It might be better than this. Oh, the temperature isn't supposed to be too toasty at 23 degrees, but who's counting?

As far as Sunday is concerned I don't believe it. Tonight they said it would likely be mostly cloudy most of the day and the temperature would only reach a freezing high of 22 degrees. This is what I mean by a forecast that has turned out wrong so often lately. Do I think this will happen? I look out the window and it's dark out there – what do I know about Sunday? Nothing.

The 'Oxygen' Report of the Week

At 13:00 today there were no air raid sirens. I wasn't until after the club meeting that I heard the news aboutphoto, last beer the new bombs today in London. What is going on over there? Luckily the attacks today were relatively minor, but they are going to shake people up both there and here. The security alert is high in Paris, and it probably went up a notch.

Not exactly a club' first' – only empties.

But I don't know about this as I put on a club shirt and my go–to–club canvas shoes and set off to do a little photo–reporting about the opening of Paris Plage today, my only mistake being that I don't start doing this at 9:24 so that I can get out the door in a timely fashion. I'm afraid it is the regular old hour. Four weeks of it, there's plenty of time.

It's great weather for it too. I am sleeveless and the breeze is lifting my shirttail, ventilating my pale skin. It's great weather for walking down a street in Paris in the shade of the plane trees and I would walk all the way to the club but you know I am already too late to do this.

When I pass the midway point of the Pont Neuf I see the blue sails again. I would swoon except that I still have to buy a paper, and the little old lady is in her little kiosque, reading some trash magazine. Sitting in one of these places, what would you be doing? She makes change for Le Parisien and says 'au revoir' when I leave, another Paris 'first.'

The quay is jammed with traffic, quite a bit worse than usual. There are a lot of folks around on foot, sitting on café terraces and milling about. It feels like everybody decided to be on holidays. Everybody except the mugs in the cars, trucks and buses that is.

La Corona looks prosperous outside and semi so inside. Patrick, the 'Waiter of the Week,' says 'personne' is waiting for a club meeting to start. He is right, until I sit down to wait.

Which I don't do for long because of the club notes I write and the paper I read all the way to the headline on page two before member Lucky Checkley arrives, sits down and orders his usual Pelforth, and tells me exactly where he is going to station himself on Sunday to get his annual photos of the endsprint of the Tour de France.

Yes! It is the one and the same Lucky who attends every meeting on the Thursday before Lance Armstrong wins the Tour on Sunday. This event – the Tour, not today's club meeting – signalsphoto, last glass the last, final – ah, thing – on the Paris calendar. The year ends on Sunday and then nothing happens until about 15. September. Nothing except summer in Paris, with a bonus four weeks of Paris Plage, the longest fake beach in the world.

Bungled photo fails to show stack of three dishes.

Lucky's goal this year is to convince a friend of his who makes mandolins, to make him one with extra strings. Maybe he says 'mandola,' and he certainly mentions some alphabet string names, but I misremember the details because he asks me if many people order Pelforth with cherry juice in it.

Patrick the 'Waiter of the Week' looks as if it is a trick question when I ask him. He says, no. I tell Lucky all sorts of people put all sorts of things in their drinks, so it could be true but it doesn't mean that he would like the taste. Patrick brings him a plain Pelforth.

My next official club note says, 'photo from inside the fridge with the door shut.' From memory, thephoto, corona outpost, paris plage official explanaion is that member Josef Schomburg arrives and before I can switch gears he and Lucky are discussing how to prove that the fridge light goes out when the door is closed.

Business side of La Corona's bar on the beach.
Continued on page 2...
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