"You Pack Too Tight"

photo, group, mark, norman, yoko, drena, guy, jane, richard, hetti, bob A complete 'Group Photo of the Week' for a change.

Who Isn't Being Irish?

Paris:– Thursday, 27. April 2006:– The 'Law of Sevens' says that if you miss snow at Easter in Paris then it's going to get you on May Day. There is some kind of deal about the weather keeping score or getting even.

The weather has been pretty good lately when it wasn't raining, flooding the underground scoot ramps for the automobilistas, but on the surface it's been cool for skaters. Yesterday it was even warm as well as sunny, because I had to stay in and work, work, work.

So today it's cooler and cloudy and a bit breezy and it feels humid. The temperature tomorrow should be about the same with 17 degrees, and tonight's TV–weather news said it would probably be partly sunny during both morning and afternoon periods, and partly cloudy at the same times.

Then a big wave of rotten colder air is to descend on France on Saturday, driving the high temperature down to 13 degrees, but with mostly sunny skies. This will be followed on Sunday by more of the same, with the high being one degree less.

photo, crepe de semaine Crêpe de la semaine.

The international worker's and peasant's official day off is Monday, May Day, so the weather is expected to be frazzled, perhaps being mostly cloudy with sunshine peeps, and a daytime high of 14 degrees. While this doesn't sound like paradise on earth, it is a lot better than the prediction in today's Le Parisien, which says dreary, dreary, dreary.

"You Pack Too Tight"

Whatever it is that I've forgotten I leave behind because my personal Métro train waits for no one, not even the owner of the railroad. I am out the door and bopping down the sidewalk this after, heeding no posters, cars, beggars, dive–bombing pigeons, scooters and other hazards of daily life here in the centre of the universe.

And my train is not late and I'm glad to get on it and away from the three people on the platform who can't walk right. There are people around unaware they have broken steering. But many fewer here than in New York, where it's a major plague.

What with one thing – the weather is not bright, it's windy and it's cool – and another thing – I forget, the cobbles in the alley I outfoxed again – what with, I get to the club's café early, and nobody notices. I am blending in too good.

photo, beer of the weekThe beer of the week.

The whole club's area is at my disposal, after I move the condiment trays elsewhere. The 'waiter of the week' comes over to tell me of the club members, a couple with a baby, that were in the café for lunch after he told them the meeting would happen at any minute. After a couple of hours they left, he says. "Maybe they'll come back," he says, roughly translated.

If I had a nickel for every... ah, forget it! I am entering the meeting's particulars in the booklets when members Jane and Richard Nystrom of Chicago arrive, and immediately tell me a virus ate their PC. They decline when I offer to sell them a notebook. On reflection, I will need both of the club's booklets.

Then there is a face over our tables that I've seen before but not for some years. It is, yes, member Norman Barth, who is famous for being head 'ed' at The Paris Pages, the very Web site where I had my online debut, oh, 11 years ago.

Norman, I must say, looks pretty much he did back then. This is compared to me. I look like one of those grizzly pioneers you see in the wagon train movies, the old loco coot who was in the California gold rush and then joined the wagon train to 'head west young man' and become a sodbuster, who gets speared in the second reel because John Wayne is in a different movie.

Anyway Norman is hanging his sombrero in Monterrey, Mexico, these days and I am sure glad to see him show up here with this 'City of the Week,' located in Nuevo Leon, 200 mikes south of the border from Neuvo Laredo. He says the shopping is great across the river in Laredo. "A fine town of 50,000 with shopping for one million!" Somebody else remarks, "And all cash."

At almost this moment there's a loud sound, BART! I think, no, it can't be. Then there's a HONK and then a WAP, and a BZZZ, then some WHEEPs and another loud BART BART! Then outside on the Quai du Louvre, jammed to the gutters with metal and glass and rubber, there's this big American fire engine with, what looks like, a 150–kilo yellow canary wearing a chromed firefighter helmet. The motorists must be terrified. BART BART!

photo, firetruck of the week Honks, squeals, blat, from the firetruck of the week.

Over the noise I hear Norman saying, "Don't pack your luggage too tight – they'll think it's locked. They'll break the unlocked locks to get it open."

Which allows Hetti and Bob Wohlgemuth from Belmont, Texas, to slide into club seats, order crêpe, brown ice cream and Jane decides to have another Irish Coffee, possibly the second in the club's whole history, following the first one she had 45 minutes earlier. It only counts as one 'first' though.

Now Norman is saying that he wears flipflops when he's checking into airports. "See?" he says, "Nothing hidden in my shoes!"

Jane and Richard are long–timers in Paris and she is telling Hetti and Bob how much cheaper than in Chicago it is to eat in Paris. We all listen carefully to this, hoping to get inside tips. The trick is, only eat lunch in restaurants.

At this juncture member Yoko, formerly Tomoko Yokomitsu, finds a place on the banquette, and says that she's reading 'The Da Vinci Code' in French. She says she has a month's time to get it finished, before the movie shows up in the cinemas. She says it is a good read. I suggest that the movie might be better.

photo, brown ice cream The brown ice cream of the week.

Member Mark Kritz wanders in carrying a stack of thick brochures that he's studyng, to plan his replacement bathroom. Something happened in the apartment above to cause his to deteriorate, and now he's looking at shower stalls that are composed of 1000€ glass panels. He thinks he can afford one. The rest will have to be plastic curtains from Monoprix.

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