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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 explanation 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.

The following note, 'could have food 'City of the Week' is something I don't remember at all. Because Patrick asks me to help him out with some other customers who are sitting nearby. They are from Carlsbad in the Czech Republic and Patrick keeps thinking he's hearing 'Carlsberg' – the Danish beer – when it's really a spa like Vichy or Baden–Baden or Spa.

At the same time new members Amy Hersch and Allyn Hertzbach drop in from Arlington, Virginia, but actually they are from around Paris somewhere, here for a long time.

As a carry–over from Carlsbad, we discuss how not to pronounce Versailles and even Peru, and Allyn tells us about the great views there are at 12,000 feet in Peru. From here it is a quick shift to the life and times of condors in Patagonia.

Which leads in all logic to what you should do if you are ever up on the Jungfrau and pass out because of a lack of oxygen. Amy, in case you are up there and worried, Amy says they have tins of O around like six–packs of beer, ready to be administered to anybody who drops. "They have oxygen in restaurants," she says. She also says there is a lot of snow in June up there. I shudder.

Time has, without these notes reflecting it much, sped away and Amy and Allyn are on the point of leaving so we quickly arrange to introduce them to the 'Group Photo of the Week' part of the club meeting out on the café's terrace and we tumble out there and shoot up a storm, with Josef taking his potshots too, with his new bazooka.

Back inside, waiting for either Willy the Bird or Tomoko, or both, Josef tells Lucky how taking show shutter speed photos is like sprinkling sugar on strawberries.

We both think this is unlikely, so Josef switches to telling us about how he invented a 19th century kindphoto, paris plage, map of type face. This is interesting because Lucky's racket is the famous School of Visual Arts in New York, where some people might use 19th century type faces if this wasn't the 21st century.

As in all things find us on the map's left side.

After this it isn't exactly downhill but Lucky goes one way and we go across the Quai du Louvre to Paris Plage, and the first place we come to beside the Seine is the beach outpost of La Corona, being manned by the patron in person, Monsieur Naudan. Just beyond, a bunch of cuties are doing smooth Brazilian moves under the palms. Checking this out following club meetings may become a regular 'after.'

Rescue the Club's Secretary

To be a member of the club costs nothing once you pay for your education, your house, your airlinephoto, group photo of the week, secretary ticket and your Paris lodging. The club's secretary has no education, no plane ticket and is in danger of losing his Paris lodging, but insists that the club remain free. As a gesture of solidarity, consider contributing a bit today to support your social club in Paris.

What club members see every week during the 'Group Photo of the Week' session. Photo by J. M. Schomburg

Please use the support facility today and toss as much bread in it as you can stand without skipping meals. There has been a positive and lively response to the 'Metropole Submerges' appeal in last week's Café Metropole column. Readers and club members who have responded already have been thanked with personal emails.

About the Café Metropole Club's About Page

Today's club meeting 'report' with a unique and original 'Gas of the Week,' probably doesn't exactly clear up what this is all about. If you have the time take some time to have a peek at the virtual 'About the Café Metropole Club' page with its loveable collection of blurry photos, cute but idle words and the famous wreckage of a membership card. You can join the club too, with or without any of it, on any 'Thursday of the Week.'

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

Club meetings, as these afternoon gatherings are laughingly called, begin at 15:00, in the afternoon, always on Thursdays and continue for two entire hours until 17:00, always in the western European Time zone, now in its extended summer version. Known in other exotic places as 3 pm to 5 pm, around somewhere else is seldom where meetings are held. Be sure to come to the café La Corona's 'grande salle.' The loud folks in the back, as usual, are us.

Hang out at a meeting – by being at one. Stay for a hour or two with new and old friends especially if you have the time for it. Real 'firsts' are welcome, with 'true' being equivalent to 'first' even if 'real' is just as likely too, and if it is an alternate form of 'real' with any sort of connection to first, like fact or fiction.

A note of caution – you may have 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 far beyond the present. Nevertheless these ex–rules may still be looked–up so that you can know that this extremely old social club makes it uncommon to repeat them, as we are fond of repeating.

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

*The above paragraphs are relatively unchanged since last week because of today's quite surprising lack of any 'City of the Week' and 'Food of the Week.'

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