The Club's Club Meeting

photo, Tomoko, Joe, Susan
This Week's Group of the Week

The Nose... Flows

Tomoko explains about her "forced vacation"
Waiting tranquilly for his
cured owner...

This 'guest ed''s first metropole club meeting began by a nose. Guest ed's, that is. For some strange reason a nick he somehow got in the shower (sharp soap?) wouldn't stop bleeding, which made for an odd Metro trip to the Corona cafe. Luckily, just after my arrival, longtime club member Tomoko walked in, which meant that guest Ed had a 'sitter-inner' while he nipped off to the nearest pharmacy for a fix. Enter also Susan and Joe Donohue, but guest ed had to hold more than hello's - with the hand that wasn't holding a kleenex to his nose, that is - for when he returned.

(Aside) I know that Ric usually begins his club report with a weather report, but I didn't see much weather because of my looking down at my nose - In fact I found it hard to think of much else. Anyhow, by what I did see of the not-so bright pavement and the warmly-clad feet around me, it must have been cold and cloudy. I did hear that it will get warmer but rainier towards the weekend, but no springtime greens and flowers yet. Maybe for the next meeting.

All Settled in, a change of Focal length.

At 'Guest ed''s return, the kleenex had become a blood-stop chemical-imbibed sponge (intended for the inside of the nose, guest ed would later find), but after a few minutes the flow stopped and he could finally pay attention to goings-on further away than the end of his nose.

Susan, Joe and Tomoko were still the only members present, but they were alreaady in conversation about Tomoko's doings in Paris. Susan is a painter/artist and Joe a photographer - an artistic couple living in Montreal, Quebec, in the red-and-white draped country that is Canada.

Tomoko explains about her "forced vacation"
Tomoko defines "forced vacation"

Aha! Fellow Canucks. With red-and-white-draped Tomoko (from the land of the Rising Sun), that set the club colours for the week. "Has there ever been a 'colours of the week?" I ask to no-one in particular, then promptly kick myself under the table for not attending more often.

For people from Montreal, Susan and Joe sure had 'strange' accents - that is to say there wasn't a trace of Quebecois 'twang' to anything they said. There are more than just a few English-speaking Canadians living in Quebec, it seems, but the numbers are shrinking, Susan says. Talk did then turn to accents and dialects in general - Tomoko explained that the French-Canadian accent we are so familiar with today in fact comes from 17th-century Auvergne, as a majority of the French emigrants to "La Nouvelle France" came from that area. I remember a similar story about people of the same origin pouring into Paris at a time two centuries later - but strangely, even though the latter story is much more recent, it seems that Parisians haven't been able to hang on to their Quebec accent.

"Well, why don't English-speaking Canadians talk with an Irish accent?" I said. "Newfoundlanders do!" Joe says, and this of course knocks me one. Sometimes it gets so thick there, he says, that the television shows need subtitles so that the 'lesser-accented' can understand them. The same thing is true here for TV5 programs (the Belgian/European/Pan-African channel) showing French-Canadian "frontier dramas". But that m~a~y be just for the hearing impaired.

Are we Social? Secure?

Tomoko explains about her "forced vacation"
Cafe Corona's Illustrious Lustre

I must admit that it's been a long time since I've been to my homeland, so I've more than a few questions about its well-being. Of the quite dear but all-covering unique and omnipresent health insurance of my tender years, I head that it risked becoming a two lane roadway... one for speeders with chauffeured cars and the other for the bus-waiting majority. Joe also advised us that, should we have to go to the emergency room for a minor boo-boo (say, for example, a bleeding nose tip), should we not want to wait for days, that it would be a good idea to have a heart attack first. I'll have to put that one into my 'travel tips'...



I was hoping the conversation would turn to things more positive (it was me who got it off on that slant) and we came to the French version of social security, visas and such. It is difficult to get working papers here in France, and Tomoko informs us that the ten-year "carte de residence" will no longer be automatically renewable - we'llhave to pass a test every time we need to extend it. Thank goodness a foreigner living in France won't have to do it more than ten times in his lifetime.


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