...Continued from page 1

Then Marion – who knows why people do things – remembers her driving school days. In Germany driving schools use diesel–motored cars because – here's a techno–term – they have a lot of torque. You can drop dead the clutch and the motor won't stall.

Oh, I see this is far too technical. Let's go on to the funny hats and the ties meant to be chopped up with scissors. Here the problem is not the members – Stephan has brought a tie – but, the club's secretary. As in, Marion asks for scissors, and guess who didn't bring any.

As if on cue Tomoko Yokomitsu and her hat arrives. "Do you want to cut up my hat?" she asks, not entirely bewildered, for she remembered to bring one. Plus, Mardi Gras oblige, she has her 'Cutie.' I see this out of the corner of my eye and briefly think it is a mouse. Actually it is her every–day gerbil, pressed into service today, for Carnival.

In Paris it might be overlooked but in Köln today the ladies are out there with their scissors hacking off ties left and right, between bouts of swilling buckets of red wine, and tonight they will go to the balls wearing masks with the intention of acting real sassy.

This must remind Stephan of something he'd rather we forget so he distracts us by noticing that the café's mirrors reverse left and right as well as right and left, sometimes reversing everything, in a binge of third dimensionalism. "No," Stephan says, "It is not hocus pocus!"

This is where Kati and Alan Lewis, from Camel, California, come in. They decline the waiter's offer of Champagne, while wondering what Marion means with her imaginary scissors. The waiter then busies himself with waiter stuff, and then tries to collect money he says we owe him.

photo, cafe thimbles of the weekThimbles of 'Café of the Week.'

Kati and Alan have given up the restaurant they had in California because the town turned into a tourist place and folks only live there when they aren't hungry, and they have moved to the 7th arrondissement. Alan does not exactly say they are getting revenge, but at least I don't think he is washing as many dishes these days.

Alan has also noticed that this winter's weather is not as mild and Riviera–like as former winters, but is perplexed about the choice of this particular winter to be winter. Kati looks as if she thinks the idea of doing the 'Group Photo of the Week' out on the terrace is daft.

But in the end the waiter comes out with us, to make sure there are no absconders, but if he thinks he's getting in the photo – I don't even have to Photoshop him out. After this bracing gulp of air we are back inside, tossing money at the waiter, picking up whole hats, uncut ties, swilling off dregs, closing out the annual Café Metropole Paris Club Mardi Gras Wingding and Birthday, 11 years old today.

The tables are littered with debris and I see a gray hair and try to whisk it away, towards Tomoko, but Stephan says it is a scratch on the woodwork, a defect, nothing's perfect. But hey! It's not a gray hair. It's not one of mine.

The Café Metropole Club's About Page

Since this so–called meeting 'report' probably leaves you perplexed, treat yourself to an explanation by reading the 'About the Café Metropole Club' page, for its worthwhile insights.

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

Club meetings begin at 15:00 every Thursday and continue until 17:00. These times, fixed in history, are also said to be 3 pm to 5 pm. Around somewhere else is not where meetings are. Present yourself at the café La Corona. Come alone or with someone. The folks in the rear of the big room are ze club.

Pass a hour or two or a whole meeting with other club members pretty much like yourself. Real 'firsts' are welcome and true stories will get a sympathetic hearing. Other stories will depend on your skill. Attend as many club meetings as you can stand.

graphic, club location map

Caution – should you may have the personal mission of remaining unfindable via the Web, be sure to inform the club's secretary that you prefer to be '404 – not found' by Web search engines before becoming 'found' consorting in one of these literary club reports.

The 'ex–rules' that the club once had continue to be former. Talking to other club members at meetings is kosher rather than optional. There are always some empty chairs, so sit. 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 hazard be written here.*

*The above paragraphs are relatively unchanged since years ago because of a wholly redesigned Web site that isn't quite ready yet, however.

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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