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'Does It Sound Like Gin'

photo, group, sheila, fran, herb, tomoko

The 'Group of the Week,' with Sheila, Fran, Herb and Tomoko.

Last Major Sin

Paris:– Thursday, 13. October 2005:– The forecast for today in Le Parisien is fantastic. It shows Paris under a black cloud, surrounded on three sides by other black clouds and on three other sides by black clouds that are raining.

When I looked out my window this morning all I could see were blue skies. Admittedly I could only see three sides but I looked out my bathroom window and saw more blue sky on 1.5 sides and figured the other 1.5 would probably be blue too.

Of course Le Parisien could have been beside the plaque on account of being printed at night, but it was sunny yesterday and as it got dark no change was in sight. The good news is that the weather has turned out to be consistently better than the forecasts – giving us lots of sunny, warm days instead of cold and rain.

So, I think you should find Le Parisien at fault if it does rain, and give three cheers to my forecasts if it doesn't. Now, tomorrow looks like being a bit tricky. Up along the Channel expectphoto, beer of the week clouds, and murky weather will be in the south too. This will leave this part to have sunshine again, along with a right warm temperature of 23 degrees. TV–news said this is 'above normal,' etc. etc.

Saturday should be simple. It should be sunny all day and the temperature should be 21, so I say it will be 23 degrees again.

A club exclusive – the 'Beer of the Week.'

In return for simple, Sunday looks like being complicated. This is the story – there will be a vertical band of crummy weather sweeping across France from top to bottom or vice versa. In the morning this will be in the west and in the afternoon it will still be in the west, but it will reach here. Besides a temperature forecast to be 21, there will be sun in Brittany and in Alsace, which hardly concerns us. If, between now and Sunday, this band picks up speed, it will not be here and it will be there instead.

The 'Does It Sound Like Gin of the Week' Report

I read somewhere that a 'golden October' is bad for getting essential things done because one can fall into this season which lasts one day at a time. By 'falling in' I mean chucking everything to go out for the 'last day' to be under blue skies and shuffle through the fallen leaves and waste time sitting around in the Luxembourg.

Even if I am not giving into this temptation I am still conscious of how pleasant it is to be out in brightness and warmth as I traipse past the cemetery, noting autumn colors, on the way to the Métro at Raspail.

The Métro is all business. There is no 'golden October' underground, you find it only where the Métro isphoto, schweppes of the week elevated. But going up the escalator at Odéon the golden starts again at the top and continues in patches through the Quartier Latin down to the Seine where it is pretty intense beside the river and on the island and along the right bank.

As usual on a day like this Paris seems to be full of people who are either unemployed, taking a day off, playing hookey, or they are visiting dentists with nothing better to do than hang out on the Pont Neuf.

Formerly known as the 'Green Drink of the Week.'

On the right bank in the Quai du Louvre there seem to be many more bad tempered motorists than usual. The city has this situation well in hand with a small platoon of police acting like lion tamers, using shrill whistles instead of whips.

Visitors are looking for dirty postcards at the newspaper kiosque where I get a Parisien but do not get any posters worth capturing. Further on the terraces are peopled with the faint and hungry but the Corona's is near empty. The wind, which seems to be from the southeast, has blown them around the corner, illustrating the wisdom of having two terraces.

The café's 'grande salle' is deserted. But the room is bright and puffs of wind are blowing in the door. It seems like a promising begin for the day's meeting, the 311th, the last in the club's sixth year.

I take care of the usual because it is nearly routine by now and turn to the paper. The French football team snatched a last–chance victory away from Cyprus last night, to sew up a spot for the World Cup next year. In addition to the front page, Le Parisien runs this story over the first four inside pages. Merci Zizou!

I am about to read about Internet dating in France when member Herb Finch arrives. Herb is from San Francisco but he has been visiting Europe, Slovenia and Italy, before getting to Paris. Herb decides to remind me of his other visits, like sticking his nose into volcanos in Sicily, or escaping from wild sheep in the Falkland Islands. Wherever it is, Herb has been there, including Mongolia.

Which makes him a perfect club member. With Herb around I don't have to invent geographical stories. I am itching to hear about the volcanos, but it is the turn of Ljubljana. Herb says it is a great town even if it is not very big. I agree, having slept in a park therephoto, coke of the week one night 41 years ago.

So, he was also walking around in the Julian Alps with six ladies from Scotland who were there to get away from their husbands. "Rain, rain," he says about the climate, and then he was in Trieste to visit James Joyce's house.

Herb is telling me about the one 24 year–old lady dentist from Hong Kong who was with their group when Sheila Archer arrives, followed within a couple of minutes by Fran Griffin and two minutes later by Tomoko Yokomitsu. Everybody probably remembers that their home towns are Brooklyn, Neptune and Paris.

Still known as the 'Coke of the Week.'

The 'Waiter of the Week' is summoned and given orders for refreshments and he goes off to fetch them. Herb, required to reveal his former profession by two–thirds of the members, says, "I didn't like being a lawyer for 30–odd years."

I am unable to make Herb feel better by saying that the club has several members who are lawyers, because the ladies edge me out to cross–examine him, trying to find out if he is a rich ex–lawyer, or an interesting one, and Herb cries out that he did taxes for corporations.

"They only worried about tens of millions, not hundreds of thousands," he says. Can you imagine? Herb probably wanted to work for Harry Bridges, fighting the bosses on the waterfront. Before delvingphoto, gin of the week into this Fran says this is her last club meeting and she got a wonderful deal on some going home shopping. She got a free scarf for buying one but she's forgotten to bring them.

Then Sheila notices that her drink looks odd. It looks wicked, with its accompanying slice of orange. We all guess what it is and we all guess wrong. The 'Waiter of the Week,' when summoned, says it is gin.

The first ever 'Gin of the Week' was sent back.

"Gin?" says Sheila. "Gin?" we all say. "I can't drink gin!" Sheila says. The waiter shrugs. "I ordered Orangina," Sheila says. "Qua?" the waiter says. "Orangina!" we all shout, and the waiter picks up the offending glass as if it contains nitroglycerine and trots off.

Say it slowly. Or an gina. Does it sound like gin with an orange slice or does it sound like Orangina?

Then we notice that Tomoko's drink is not green. For weeks now Tomoko has ordered a menthe withphoto, orangina of the week Perrier but today her drink is colorless. "Somebody told me that green is not a good color for actresses," she says.

Which, of course, leads naturally to the pomegranate question. As in, 'what's the brand name of that pomegranate drink?' Three members then attempt to describe a pomegranate to Tomoko, who thinks it is something else, close, but I've forgotten.

The real 'Orangina of the Week' looked a bit weak in the orange department.

The 'Waiter of the Week' returns with a huge martini glass full of yellow and white ice cream, with a European wafer like a hollow cigar. It is the 'Food of the Week' and it is for Fran. It is her last major sin in Paris. We all admire it and Fran's presence of mind.

Herb is liking Paris the more often he visits, so he and Fran discuss online apartment rentals. Fran uses 'New York Habitat' and another service; She says both are good.

Then Willy the Bird is overhead, hovering. You don't often see sparrows hovering. "How long do sparrows live," Sheila wonders. I think other members are starting to doubt that 'Willy the Bird' is the same Willy.

"He probably doesn't even know what a worm looks like," says Sheila, full of doubt. Willy flies off towards the bar and hovers for a while near the corner before flitting outside.

Then off we go out to the café's terrace and pose around doing the 'Group Photo of the Week,' until after everybody is tired of it and back inside Tomoko gets ready to go and we admire her leather jacket which has a shawl effect across the shoulders. She says she got it at a leather salon about 20 years ago, cheap.

Then it is the wrap–up and Herb is looking for a 20 cent piece for Fran, and she isphoto, ice cream, food of the week saying she will have to go to Florida three times before Christmas.

Which, as it always does, brings up the subject of humidity in Florida. "Whenever it gets too hot for me, I go down to my wine cellar and lie down," Herb says.

And, far from least, the 'Food of the Week.'

On the way out there's a 'see you next week' to Monsieur Ferrat and we cross to the Pont des Arts and go up the Rue de Seine and stop in the Gordon Pym gallery for a minute and then continue along narrow carless streets past cafés and peek in a lead soldier shop and cross in front of Saint–Sulpice and climb towards Luxembourg and go through the park past the small Statue of Liberty and then through Montparnasse and up Raspail and go past the cemetery and turn up my street to my building, and Herb goes along the street there to his hotel, the no–star Savoy.

Club Birthday

Not only will next Thursday have its 'Saint of the Week' but it will also be an anniversary for the club. Conforming to past habit, the exact number of years is unknown at this time but I am confident that a week will allow me time to count my fingers, to arrive at the correct number of boogies to be blown out. Do not miss this historic occasion!

The Café Metropole Club's About Page

This club meeting 'report,' composed using only a couple of my little fingers, gives a mere hint about what this is about. If you have excess life trade some of it in and for a look at the virtual 'About the Café Metropole Club' page with its cheesy photos, crude writing and sappy parody of a membership card. You can join the club too, without driver's license or plastic, money or credit, on any week containing a bonafide 'Thursday of the Week.'

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

Let us be frank – club meetings begin at 15:00, in the afternoon, on Thursdays and continue until 17:00, always in the western Euro Time zone, now on its jog through autumn to winter. Known in faraway climes as 3 pm to 5 pm, around somewhere else is not the place where meetings happen. Come to the café La Corona and seek out its 'grande salle.' Bring a friend or two. The folks in the rear of the big room, under the hovering sparrow, are us.

Attend a meeting – by being at one. Hang out for a hour or for a whole meeting with new friends. Real 'firsts' are welcome, with 'true' being equivalent to 'real' even if 'first' is more than likely too, and if it is an alternate form of 'reality' with any sort of connection to truth, like true lies or fictional facts. Yes!

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' ingraphic: club location map one of these club reports. Toss your own name into Metropole's search if you have forgotten it.

The 'ex–rules' that the club used to have continue to be former. Nonetheless these discontinued rules may still be accessed so that you can learn that this somewhat hypothetical club of no purpose repeats them seldom as they are already on record, even if hardly remembered.

Talking to other club members at meetings is encouraged rather than optional. There are usually dozens of empty chairs, so sit – wherever you like. Nobody will mind if you stand either. Whatever you say will be truly 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 Fran's daring to have her last major sin right in front of other club members, who wished they'd thought of having a bit of sin too.

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