A Few Lonely Snowflakes

photo, empty corona terrace

Falling in our frigid air, snowflakes too small to see.

And a Couple of Movies

Paris:– Thursday, 5. January 2006:– We are having pesky Orange Alerts again but as usual they do not concern anywhere in or around Paris. I think they are put on to see if we're paying attention, but there's a danger that 'wolf' will be cried too often and while we are looking the other way they will sneak one in for here – like, 'freak heatwave in January!' and we will miss it by hiding in a cool cinema.

Today if you looked at the sky you would have seen it from edge to edge, as solid gray steelwool. The temperature was low and random snowflakes were floating about, as if to say there is a hair–trigger here and one false step will plant us in snow up to our nostrils.

The outlook for Friday is much the same, with interesting variations. Through the middle for the country, from north to south or vice versa, there is to be a band of terrible gray weather, called by Le Parisien, 'rotten.' On either side it will merely be very cloudy, with some fake hints of sunshine, and it will be cold again with a forecast high of 2 degrees.

Exactly the same thing has been predicted by tonight's TV–weather news forecast for Saturday. The centre band of terrible rotten will be wider or have wiggles in other places, butphoto, reserved for members otherwise, it will resemble Friday's. But the temperature is expected to increase by 100 percent, to 4 degrees. Le Parisien calls it, 'dogs.'

Reserved for you.

Tranquility arrives on Sunday with a flat gray cover over the whole caboodle. At least, with a temperature of 5 degrees, we will be able to enjoy this weather by staying in with our eyeballs glued to TV, with its usual program of sports, variety, sports, variety and more sports. As Le Parisien comments, 'mediocre' says it all.

Club Non–dates

The club's secretary will be helping 'Ed' to rebuild Metropole over the next several weeks, in anticipation of Metropole's 11th birthday. There will be no meetings on 19. January, 26. January, 2. February, 9. February and 16. February, all Thursdays every one of them.

Thursday, 23. February, is not only a Thursday but it is also the exact date of Metropole's anniversary. We can have a party at the club's café, wear funny hats, and cut each other's ties to shreds with chainsaws, because it will almost be Mardi Gras! Don't miss it.

The 'Few, Lonely Snowflakes' Report of the Week

The last thing I want to do today is go to the club meeting. My longjohns said they were going out for a minute to the laundry last winter and they haven't come back yet. They probably like it there because it's warm, or somebody is treating them nice.

A glance out the window suggests there is a blizzard over the cemetery but it is mostly dirt on the glass, and a few flakes floating around in indecision. I guess it was a 'light' snow, with somephoto, club view, quai, institut de france of the tiny flakes floating up. Tonight's TV–news will say that France is still having a drought and that we should forget any idea we have that snow contains water. That's right – what you think is snow is really cold puffs of steam, sort of frozen.

The outside we are not out in, if we are in the club.

But on the way, going past the actual cemetery, those flakes I saw were hiding. I made it all the way to the Métro at Raspail without seeing one snowman. Then the exciting ride underground began, and was over all too soon, at Odéon.

Paris is a great place when it's cold. The stone blocks on the Pont Neuf have a warm color when they are not glistening wet. And there was a cold breeze blowing upstream from the Musée d'Orsay which I expect will be blowing downstream from the Hôtel de Ville by 16:00 when I am sitting high and dry in the club's café.

In the main I scoot straight along to the club's café. When I arrive the entire crew are glumly looking at their entire collection of clean, empty glasses. Chairs are sitting around with nothing to do and the lady of the kitchen cubbyhole in the cellar is having a siesta.

The grande salle, in total contrast to last week, is occupied solely by the old man reading his paper, while his table holds up his bowl of beer. The emptiness of the large room is stunning. The fronds, with nobody present to enjoy their languid waving, are limp. It is two minutes to forever.

The club's area is scrubbed and clean, without a stray frite or random spray of sugar crystals. The tables have been arranged militarily so I drag two into an offset position, giving the club's area asymmetrical vibes. After taking off outer garments and sitting down, I extract thephoto, ed's 1st cafe club's booklets and enter the statistical details of the meeting. To finish I square everything up, tidy the arrangements, align the club's pens, and settle down to await the meeting's first members.

First this year, the secretary's 'Café of the Week.'

Then nothing happens for a long time, except the old man finishes his beer after 90 minutes, gets up and leaves. Two other civilians come in and take a booth near the bar and immediately fall asleep.

Patrick, 'the Waiter of the Week,' happens by and asks from afar, if I don't want a café. I have forgotten how to talk, forgotten how to get a café despite the negative, but think, 'this may be the only event of the meeting – the 'Café of the Week.' I croak, "Si, si!"

After the café evaporates even less happens. From Le Parisien I learn a new word. It is sexagénaire. It does not mean what you think it means. It means '60–something hottie.' There is no, I am sure, equivalent in English. Outside on the Quai du Louvre lonely snowflakes are floating, again almost with chronic indecision.

The TV movie Tuesday night that I did not watch, according to Le Parisien, was re–run for the 15th time and had the second highest rating for the evening. Only Brian De Palmas' 'Mission Impossible' could beat out 'Les Tontons Flingueurs.'

The café desperately needs some 'Tontons Flingueurs.' But it is 17:00, and blue fills all the spacephoto, table, chairs, terrace between the low clouds and the damp earth as I step out of the warmth and light into the rush hour gloom, where rushing cars full of warm airheads are hooting at pedestrians foolish enough to attempt crossing the quay, even in the crosswalk. Paris cares nought for no members.

Outside 'Café Table of the Week,' awaits summer.

This report, fantastically light to write, waits until I watch on tonight's TV 'North by Northwest,' in color and in English, showing hardly a gray hair since it first appeared in 1959. The TV magazine gives it four stars, one more than either of the two on Tuesday.

The Soldes d'Hiver begin on Wednesday, 11. January, and continue until Tuesday, 21. February, two days before Metropole's 'pause for refreshment' ends.

The Café Metropole Club's About Page

This somewhat vague club meeting 'report,' with motes of light snow, may leave you perplexed. Spotlighted behind the mystery real facts about the club are on the 'About the Café Metropole Club' page, with its technicolor photos, bloated paragraphs and the concoction of a membership card made of recycled beer cans suitable for stove lids. You can join the club in any year containing at least 51 remaining 'Thursdays of the Week' left this year, except for the few exceptions mentioned above.

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

Club meetings begin at 15:00 next Thursday and normally continue until 17:00. These times, fixed in oyster shells, are said in some lands to be 3 pm to 5 pm. Around somewhere else is not where meetings are held. Substitutes are seldom. Bring yourself to the café La Corona. Come with a friend or relative. The folk in the rear of the big room is ze club, or more exactly, me.

Attend any meeting – by being at one or more. Pass a hour or two or a whole meeting with other club members pretty much like yourself. Real 'firsts' are welcome. True stories will get a hearing. Other stories will depend on your skill. Attending more than one club meeting per membership is cool.

Caution – you may have a personal passion for remaining unfindable via the Web. If so, be sure to inform the club's secretary that you prefer to be '404 – not found' graphic: club location mapby Web search engines before becoming 'found' in one of these flaky club reports.

The 'ex–rules' that the club once had continue to be former. These rules were mostly nonsense, even if you can find them. Otherwise you may, in theory, learn that this club features unlikely stories that are pretty true sometimes, and never institutes new rules because members can't remember them.

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

*The above paragraphs are relatively unchanged since last week because of today's unlamented, unnecessary, unreported, but mainly true, 'Thing 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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