Etna was Smoking

photo, group, tomoko aka yoko, bill, kathy Today's Group of Three, all smiles.

Spring, Two Weeks Early?

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Thursday, 8. March:–  It is definitely too early to say spring is here but it's getting pretty hard to keep pretending that we are in the grip of a nasty and freezing winter. Across the street there is a spray of green throughout the cemetery and it is something I am not used to seeing until after the winter blast at Easter and the frigid march of the workers and peasants on 1. May.

Well, before you get your tickets for that shindig, let's see what this weekend has in store for the deserving and needy. Mister Young Guy was doing the weather tonight on France–2 and wearing a tie. I guess that the end of their hippy phase. But how much more competent he seems! I don't believe and yet, and yet...

If you wake up tomorrow and see grey skies you are intending on getting up too early. It seems as if, by noon, the light wind will have switched, and morning greyness will be moving away toward the southwest, leaving mostly blue skies over our heads around here. The slight b–moll comes the day's high which is predicted to be only 11 degrees.

photo, water of the week Yoko's water of the week.

Then when we don't work, on Saturday, the skies should be mostly clear all day. Where they won't, won't be near here. Plus the temperature is supposed to reach up to 12 degrees. You might as well get used to this if you aren't already because Sunday has been forecast with more of the same – mostly clear, sunny periods all day, no rain around here – and all this with a high of 13 degrees.

Mind you the Riviera will be warmer and Sunday night's TV–news will be teasing us with images of the topless things frolicking in the surf while waiters run around the beach passing out colorful cocktails with little parasols sticking out of them, but we'll have Paris, won't we?

The Etna was Smoking Report

This morning it was bright enough to count the green things in the cemetery across the street. It made me feel like playing hooky. But we are grown up now, half a century and counting, so just like way back then I loaded up the bag with the exercise books, grabbed my crutches and hobbled off towards the club on the Right Bank.

Going past the cemetery the birds were tweeting, no doubt with joy. Now I toss the crutches I don't have, let spring bounce my step and note – truth at all times! – they weren't tweety birds but some kind of cow birds that terrorize the local cats with sounds like grawkkxkx. Not nice tweety birds at all but the kind of Hitchcockian buzzards that lurk around cemeteries.

photo, paris ballet ticketThe ballet ticket of the year.

All sorts of movie crew trucks were parked around Raspail but I ignored them and entered the underground gloom to catch a train, which was forthcoming, and which transported me to Odéon without hazard or thrill, to where I crossed the mighty boulevard and stumbled down Saint–André's alley behind Procope in a reenactment of last week's passage.

On my bridge, the new one, the sky was blue all over it, acting as if the town beneath, the one I was standing on, was paradise. I took a photo of the sky. I saw that the Seine is high and brown and if it keeps up before long the automobilistas will be paddling hard upstream if they intend to keep using the riverside speedways.

But that is no care of mine. The harvest of terrific posters on display was meagre, a definite three out of ten today. The only good one the one for Opodo showing legs and arms hanging out of a hammock, about 350 metres above a deserted beach of honey–colored sand. Reflections spoiled it of course, but we dream anyway.

Thus I was dreaming in front of the club's café when I was hailed by a suntanned couple sitting in the sunshine, waiting for my appearance so they could disturb my dreaming, transform it into utter confusion. I mumbled that the club meets inside, in the Grande Salle, and that the meeting would start forthwith, forthcoming, soon.

And so it did. However members Kathy and Bill Licarzewski settled on a nearby table instead of a club table. Actually they are really all the same but the slight gap between us was often filled with hordes of young ladies, the waiter of the week, and various other passersby. Kathy and Bill joined the club some time ago – frankly there is a lot about the club that is some time ago – and I had to be reminded that they are from Long Beach, just beyond Brooklyn, New York City, on what looks like a narrow sandbar out in the Atlantic Ocean.

photo, strapless watch Bill's Strapless Watch of the Week.

Even more astonishing was the story of how they came to the meeting. It started with a wedding in Ireland which is great for a wedding if it isn't your own, and then Bill found a air fare for Sicily which did not involve changing planes too often, and then there they were, romping around in the sunshine picking lemons and oranges off the trees and bushes, and flitting around in a Smart.

I was, of course, disappointed that it wasn't a Fiat 500 but the new one hasn't come out yet so that's that. "Etna was smoking," Kathy assured me. Garlic was plentiful. Food was great. It was warm and sunny. The folks were helpful and friendly. Nobody was still angry about that football riot they had there a couple of weeks ago.

Then we talked about many things that are the kinds of thing people talk about when they are sitting in a café in Paris and the door is open and sunlight is slanting in the windows and hordes of young ladies are milling about, drinking Cokes, rearranging their lipsticks and fiddling with their phones.

Just as we were about to slip into a doze the club's own young lady in the form of Yoko arrived. Regular readers may recall that the former Tomoko Yokomitsu is now Yoko, even if I forgot two weeks ago. Yoko's new news was that she saw the movie she is in, yesterday, and she wasn't entirely cut out of it as she feared she might be. Not only this but she liked the movie too! If you have a chance go and see Je Crois Que Je l'Aime.

The other good news was that Yoko got a free ticket from the film's producer – because she was in Japan when they had the projection for the cast and crew. She said Japanese producers would have made her pay. No, sorry. That was about last week when she saw Josef Schomburg scuttling between fashion shoots, just before his quick drop–in at the club on company time.

photo, cafe of the weekThe secretary's café of the week.

Then in a right good humor we all traipsed out to the café's terrace for the Group Photo of the Week. The light was good and passing drivers did not make too many off–color remarks, probably thinking we were all famous people they had never seen before but they might remember our names any minute.

Back in the café, getting to be beyond five, Patrick came by to collect some cash. As a parting bonmot, Yoko told us the parrot story again. Maybe it was a new parrot story. It was about the parrot who answers the phone in the office while the secretary, and the punch line is, "I'm Kiki, I'm here!" Bill said an Australian told him the same thing.

It was pretty funny though, if you heard it. Yoko said, "When I smile I have more wrinkles." Then Kathy and Bill invited me to Long Beach – "Catch the LIRR at Woodside in Queens and it's only 30 minutes!"

Then – I am not making this up – Einar Moos burst upon us, explaining that he couldn't sit down as he was shooting, filming, the fashion thing? – pretty much like Josef the week before.

photo, cafe la coronaThe club's café La Corona.

Seeing how it affects them, club members too, I thought that it is just as well that I am beyond all that razzle–dazzle, and hold down this club gig with a certain amount of authority, because all I have to do is be awake enough to get to the club every Thursday, to get to hear stories about how you can pick lemons off the trees in Sicily, fly around for a cent – plus charges, taxes, and only pay 20€ per bag, and as long as you bring your own seat cushion. Europe is sure cool.

About the Café Metropole Club

Keeping connected to your club via meeting reports only means you have to read them. Think of the club secretary who has to write them. But the few words describing what we might have been doing here, to be found as ever on the About the Café Metropole Club Webpage, are harmless enough. And don't forget, more better frites.

graphic, club location map

This Stuff Stuff Stuff, About What?

Unrehearsed, unplanned, unreal, not to mention unread. The club meetings begin at 15:00 and go until 17:00 every Thursday. The next spontaneous meeting will be on Thursday, 15. March. These times are identical to 3 pm to 5 pm around a very few other places while these meetings are held around here. Whatever you say will be truly appreciated by the other members present if they are listening, and sometimes they are, but not always – and if it should by sheer fluke dumb freak chance be recorded here.* Your other, wholly true, stories are all welcome too.

Caution – should 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. Becoming a club member is one sure way to become found.

*The above paragraphs are relatively unchanged since last week because of the fact that we surmounted the year–of–meetings obstacle with aplomb and continue on our merry way, whistling like yellow tweeties past the cemetery.

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, 15. March.

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