Turnout Falls Drastically

photo, group, yoko, sherry, joe, susan, michael, tonia, stephan, marion, mr ferrat Rare group of the week's gathering includes the café's Monsieur Ferrat.

Salade Gets Bigger

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Thursday, 9. November:–  At the beginning of the week we were getting a taste of what winter has to offer and we were saying, "Ow! It's cold on our little tootsies, winky fingers and our noses are dribbling." But that was short–lived because the temperature has leaped up – from 10 to 14 degrees and the sun came out and now we are as happy as Larry.

The forecast for tomorrow, Friday, calls for some foggy times in the morning which are supposed to dissipate to reveal a mostly blue sky full of sunshine and tidy little white clouds for contrast. If your camera can handle it, it'll be a great opportunity to load up with some stock sky photos to drop into dull skies that are flat gray. Otherwise it will not be quite so warm as today was, with a high of 11 degrees predicted.

photo, cafe of the week The café of the week.

Saturday will be a disappointment around here in this area dammit. Friday's 50 kph breeze will switch from southwest to west, to blast us with 60 kph gusts. But that's not all – around here the skies will be full of lots of mean clouds with next to zero blue sky or sunshine. Not at all what I want for my weekend trip to Saint Malo to test the hot oatmeal at 04:00 in the morning. The one positive thing the damp will bring should be a high of 13 degrees.

Sunday is sort of a mystery. While tonight's weather guy on the TV–news was doing Saturday I wrote down the temperature forecast for Sunday – 11 degrees again – but neglected to look at the sky part of the map before he stepped in front of it. Today's map in Le Parisien doesn't make sense either. On this note then, I wish you and yours a bonne weekend and may all your oatmeal be hot.

The 'One Big Frolic' Report

Today I want to go to the club because the sun is shining and it is pretty warm for November. You know, when I think about it, what we have here these days is weather worthy of memories and postcards. It's like the stuff that never happens but they put it into glossy come–hither brochures to trick you into thinking we have paradise here.

photo, mark, window diagramMark draws windows.

So there I was, hop skipping down the old road between the walls of the cemetery, whistling past the graveyard, and diving into the métro at Raspail and zooming under the Quartier Latin to Odéon where I left the underground for the traipse down Dauphine, to my private bridge, the Pont Neuf, which was particularly smooth today.

All the folks clotting the byways and sidewalks last week must have been on temporary permission because there was an air of desertion today. But the sun was still flashing on the terrace as I bowled into the café and fetched up in the club's area, that was blitzed by shafts of the low sunlight. No sooner had I noted the usual, cleaned my specs to read the newspaper, than today's first club member was accounting herself as present.

This was Tonia from Toronto, telling me about a watering hole across the Seine called the Great Canadian. I asked, "Who is that?" Before I could think to answer Tonia added the entire history of the place, involving other Canadian–style watering holes named Moose and Beaver and added, "It's really smokey!

Tonia had a great interest in finding out all there is to know about buying an apartment in Boggleville and as luck would have it Mark Kritz walked in, saying this week that his hometown is Los Gatos. Mark immediately hauled out a battered and scratched Olympus digital camera and showed us a photo of his new bathroom. It looked like it is an anteroom in a coal mine, but I didn't have my glasses on.

This set the stage for the entry of Cherie and Michael Licamele, possibly from Easton, Connecticut. I write possibly because they were saying something about taking a trip to Paris in order to trigger buying a house, and goldarn it, it worked! They got both.

And Mark is on a roll, using the reverse of a paper placemat to diagram the replacement window scam. The trick is putting the replacement window inside the frame of the window already there, reducing the area for looking out the window, while saving the need to actually do some tricky work to fix the original. Whew! So technical!

photo, stephan's navigo cardStephan's Navigo card.

Michael leaps up, holding a Sapeurs–Pompiers t–shirt, explaining how he joined the volunteer fire department where the Licamele's new house is located, and here in Boggleville he's been visiting fire stations to say Howdy and take part in the firemen's t–shirt exchange. The slight hic here is the difference in sizes between French and American firemen. It's the thought that counts though.


By this time Mark was musing about further refinements he can add to his bathroom, such as a mini sink in the toilet room – which is not in the bathroom, so be precise about which room you really want to see. He said, "I am an American after all," even though nobody asked him why he wanted a sink there. "The smaller they are, the more ugly," he continued, without saying, so small that you can only wash one hand at a time.

photo, michael, pompiers shirtMichael's exchange fireman's shirt.

Then Monsieur Ferrat brought us a lost soul for instruction. The issue was taking photos of the café, which the rattled young man thought was forbidden. As soon as Monsieur Ferrat understood the problem he said it was okay, and wandered off shaking his head in utter wonder. I told the pilgrim to shoot all he wanted, without remembering to tell him it's forbidden to photo the folks because they might be valuable private property.

This was so unusual that explaining it to the arriving Marion and Stephan Nowak from Cologne seemed fruitless, so Marion immediately began to give Tonia tips about apartments. Michael said that he had been on this trip too but had abandoned it in favor of a temporary deal that allows walking out the door and forgetting the key.

In the meantime the window diagrams had been pushed aside – signed by Mark and scooped up by Michael – "Original Paris art, done in a café!" The waiter of the week brought a huge plate of salad for Mark who said he was going to a play – it sounded so good that Cherie and Michael decided to go too – without having a monster salad. They had monster soup bowls of café instead.

Where was I? Oh yeah, I suggested that we quit the meeting and go outside where it was so sunny. Michael countered, pointing out all the sunlight pouring in, blinding me. Jeez, six years on this gig and every winter the sunlight is blinding me.

photo, salad of the weekSalade of the week.

Stephan chose this particular moment to show us his Navigo card. This is a magic card that you can buy from the métro if you live here and it it like an Orange Card. But the new card is smart and it remembers how much you've paid – for the week or month – and you just flash it at the ticket turnstiles and they read it on the fly. You can even leave it in your handbag and thrust that at it. It must be WiFi or something.

But they don't hand them out so easily as a weekly or monthly Orange Card. Plus, being electronic, they leave a trail of your trips. Undercover spies wouldn't want to use them. Stephan told us all the details, but I was listening to Cherie's account about the Edith Piaf show, called La Vie in Rose et Noir. They thought it was really good and so did everybody else who wasn't fascinated by the Navigo card. "Edith is a blond," Cherie said.

Tonia thought it was lovely and Marion said, "Yes!" Then we went out to the café's terrace for the Group Photo of the Week and found Monsieur Ferrat there and hooked him in. But just before Mark went off to look for a sink, and Yoko arrived, so the score stayed the same.

Philosophy became a brief subject when somebody wanted to know how to pronounce Quincampoix. The next was the relative position of the Place de la République in relation to here and there. As in, "It's between..." someone said. Yoko said, "It's not easy."

photo, missed group,  motorcyclist The missed group photo of the week.

You might think this went on for ever, but we only added 20 minutes of overtime. Marion and Stephan were determined to find a table at Conforama over by my bridge. It is where you go when you are too lazy to drive out of town to Ikea. I mean, if you have a parking place here, you don't give it up lightly.

The Group Photo of the Week

It might be a long while before I get the white–balance right and 9 folks to all look at the camera at the same time, including the Corona's Monsieur Ferrat. Let's note that they were, from left to right, Yoko, Cherie Licemele, Joe Donohue, Susan Donohue, Michael Licamele, Tonia, Stephan Nowak, Marion Nowak and Monsieur Ferrat. Tiny bonus is the smaller, blotched photo, just to prove that nothing stops the secretary.

Yoko Does Yoko Again

Our very own Yoko appears in the stage show Beatles Story soon. This involves some French guys who play Beatles tunes – really well – and sing, and act like Beatles. With intermission the show lasts over two hours, and it is a show. This will be on stage at the Petit Journal Montparnasse on Thursday, 23. November at 21:30. Like Yoko, Tomoko doesn't sing, but club member Renaud does, as do the other Beatles look–alikes. At 13. Rue du Commandant René Mouchotte, Paris 14. Métro: Gaîté. InfoTel.: 01 43 21 56 70. Entry of 55€ includes dinner.

About the Café Metropole Club

Difficult to believe that this is an ordinary club meeting report because, unless it was unordinary, it contains only a fraction of today's content. Cast an eyeball at the absolutely realistic story of what probably was been going on here, to be found as usual on the About the Café Metropole Club Webpage, containing its wispy words, photos and splendid graphics of day–old garlic. And forever and ever, more better frites.

graphic, club location map

This Stuff Is This It?

These spontaneous club meetings, totally unrehearsed, begin at 15:00 on Thursday and continue until 17:00 every Thursday. These times are similar to 3 pm to 5 pm around other places but these meetings are held around here. Whatever you say might be truly appreciated by the other members present if they are listening, and sometimes they are, but not always – and if it should by fluke chance be recorded here.* Your other, mainly true, stories are welcome too.

Caution – if you have a personal need to remain 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 sure way to become unfound.

*The above paragraphs are relatively unchanged since last week because Paris continues to be the café Metropole club capital of the world for another week. Oh, life as it is, is just one long frolic!

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, 16. November.

The café's location is:

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