Unbalanced Whites

photo, group, terry, maureen, yoko Today's balanced group, Terry, Maureen and Yoko.

Mascots, Cookies, Boggles

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Thursday, 7. September:–  It's a good thing the weather is simple tonight because Metropole's server has been razzing me, in effect saying that it will accept uploads of files it already has but it doesn't want to see any new files. Not from New York and not from yesterday when the old sun was plastering the Luxembourg garden with jollies.

It is certainly no way to treat somebody just returned from a harmless holiday, yesterday, hardly jetlagged. Why, even my ears popped somewhere on a twenty–hour bus ride from the airport. That never happened before. Usually the deaf numbness takes six weeks to wear off.

So there I was, hearing everything as clear as bells – I should say hearing the monthly air–raid siren test that's been wailing every month since the Soviet Union borrowed the atomic bomb from America. Then I found that my magazine shop has abandoned all hope – who reads? – and my favorite bakery retired. The rentrée can be bitter.

photo, drinks and friends Drinks and friends, drinks and friends.

Meanwhile on the TV–weather news front the old météo is fairly simple. We can forget yesterday's glorious 30 degree temperature and cloudless sky and look forward to more sunshine although it will be laboring under or over a thinnish screen of clouds. There will be a wispy wind from the northeast but it will only be enough to notice that the air is not stagnant. With this the temperature should be about 23 degrees.

Saturday has been advertised as being sunnier than Friday, and our patience will be rewarded with an extra degree. Then, for September we will get a sunny Sunday with a forecast temperature of 27 great, whopping, Celsius degrees. Revel in it.

The 'Totally Unbalanced Whites' Report

You might think that spending five weeks in New York might have caused me to forget the way to the club, but no such luck. Allright, I'll admit I missed walking past the old cemetery under the leafy trees and the underground ride in the Métro, while somewhat warmer than expected, treated me to the usual thrill of seeing the new billboard posters that entertain all the poor wage–slaves on their daily voyages.

photo, pot of the week First and only pot of the week.

Having a couple of extra minutes in hand allowed me to inspect the progress of the renovation on the Pont Neuf. They are on the last bit on the right, north, side, and the whole thing should be finished sometime before 2011. The main thing is that they are doing a proper job of it and not skimping by not filling the 300 year–old cracks with jumbo putty.

The club's café La Corona is still spelled wrong but I am willing to let it go. Otherwise it appeared to be pretty much like it always is. Folks were lounging around its terraces and waiters were gliding around with trays of drink and plates of tasty French food followed by the usual smells of red wine and frites.

On the street in front the usual drivers were doing their usual thing of being periodically in a huge stall, and then bolting off to the next set of traffic lights. In short, if it weren't for the rentrée, the whole world here would be tip–top and full of hot feathers.

Monsieur Ferrat greeted me, the bar staff waved high–signs, the waterworks were in order, and the club's area in the café's grande salle was ready and waiting. I plunged into the thick of it and turned on the club's 'welcome' sign with a virtual flourish.

Then, as is often enough the case, nothing happened. So I pulled out my copy of today's Le Parisien and settled in to catch up on five weeks' worth of back news. I was on page 149, looking in vain for any mention of Nicolas Sarkozy when members Maureen and Terry Cooper from San Francisco swept in carrying bags and packages and settled into seats while disembarking their mascots, the veteran Bongo and one of the latest additions, whose name I stupidly neglected to carefully note.

Terry said, "It's number 251." That I caught but then Moe said, "You bought me seven more since then!" From earlier visits to the club I can remember that each and every one has a name as well as a number but for the life of me, they are all Bongo.

And every one has a distinct and colorful history. This new Bongo might have been acquired yesterday in the lobby of a hotel in Nice that is not the Negresco but it is within sight of it so it's nearly the same thing. The new Bongo has his charms, to wit, a handsome knife with a corkscrew that could be handy if you have miniature fingers.

photo, pillow sale of the weekThe club's first pillow sale in live action.

As I am being boggled by this the former Tomoko Yokomitsu now known to all club members worldwide as Yoko makes a grand but subdued entrance, also with shopping bags and other bags, also with a mascot, which is usually a cat possibly called Kitty but I can't be certain.

Before we even have Patrick, the ur–waiter of the week, bring us drink, Yoko hauls out a pillow that she has just acquired for a good price somewhere in the Rue de Sèvres, near, as she says, the Rue de Bac. It is a lovely pillow and Moe immediately buys it, which is not such a bad thing because Yoko has another. All the same – another true club first – a snazzy pillow sale!

The next of today's extraordinaries came quickly and again from Yoko who extracted a package of Japanese cookies from one of her bags and we immediately needed that little knife to wedge open the cellophane which is now made of panzerglas. "To keep bad people from putting in rotten things," Yoko explains. But Terry has buried Bongo too deep and we have to use other methods, a bit short of explosives.

photo, cookie of the weekCookie of the week – taste it!

In fact, Patrick takes away the package and it gets sawed open in the kitchen. Upon his return Yoko extracts a cookie from the pack and hands it to me. It too is wrapped in its individual cellophane, but it is a bit limp. So is the cookie, most of which sticks to the roof of my mouth. It's a good thing I wasn't using it for anything else.

Then, in order to keep this report simple, we go out to the café's terrace for the customary group photo of the week. I am doing quite well until Terry happens to mention white balance. He's right. I had set it for the supposed light in the café's interior, which makes the whole outside world too blue. I switch the camera to daytime and shoot some more.

This ends the visit of Moe and Terry and they gather their bags and mascots and hike off to a late lunch with a friendly Joe at the Prince de Galles.

Then Yoko and I settle down to exchanging horizons. For example, I learn about the half–price ticket outlet in Times Square. I could have told her about Water Taxi Beach but it was kind of wintry there when I left on Tuesday. But while I was there, Yoko was in Osaka, also enjoying sub–human temperatures of 37 degrees. Small world!

photo, white unbalanced, groupUnbalanced white group photo of the week.

Of course the big news is the royal birth in Japan. Yoko kindly clears up all my misconceptions about this. Yoho is happy it's a boy, she said. She explained the geopolitical consequences concerning the second son, the unlikelihood of an Empress and the unhappiness of the first son, something about the prime minister – the one with all the hair – and before you know it, I'm boggled again. At least I have these copious notes.

As a gesture to close the meeting – usually we just cut and run – Yoko calls over Patrick and gives him one of the Japanese cookies. She tells him it is a gateau japonaise. I think that's what she said. Patrick looked puzzled. It didn't occur to me to warn him about it sticking to the roof of his mouth.

About the Café Metropole Club

As unlikely as it seems, but this is a true club meeting 'report' representing a miniscule fraction of the actual events even if many others occurred. Hurt a glance at the equally true story of what might have been going on here, found on the About the Café Metropole Club page, containing its dry and tedious bits of stinky words, broiled commas and steamed low–fat dumplings. And always, more frites.

graphic, club location map

What's This About What?

Honestly spontaneous club meetings, often more than the little they seem, begin at 15:00 on Thursday and continue until 17:00 every Thursday. These true times are equivalent to 3 pm to 5 pm around somewhere else. Around here is where these meetings are. Whatever you say will be truly appreciated by the other members present if there are listening, and sometimes there are but not always – and if it should by rare chance be written here.* Your skill for other stories is strongly urged.

Caution – should you have the personal goal 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.' Not becoming a club member is one of the other ways to remain unfound.

*The above paragraphs are relatively unchanged since last July because of the club's secretary's sticky typo finger sticking to the sticky keys and the other sticky mouse finger sticking to the sticky mouse, making the whole sticky exercise decidedly tending to sticky sticky sticky repeats.

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.
Next club meeting on Thursday, 14. September.

A bientôt à Paris
signature, regards, ric

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