Paris Fails Gris Test

photo, yoko, bob, jim, group of the week Almost overcome by sunshine, Yoko, Bob and Jim.

Secretary Faces Water Torture

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Thursday, 15. March:–  I would have been basking in the sunshine yesterday if I hadn't been waiting for a plumber to show up and fix my leaking kitchen tap. But he didn't show. I would have been basking in the sunshine today if I hadn't been at the weekly club meeting, worried sick about my new leaking tap – the one you are supposed to shut off to stop the kitchen tap from leaking.

Where it is not leaking at all is in the sky over Paris. Yesterday the temperature probably reached 17 degrees and today it must have climbed up to 16.5 at least. If it wasn't for my various leaking taps I would feel pretty mellow.

Same with the young guy on France–2's TV–news and weather. His name is Laurent and I think, Romejko. I have been watching like a hawk, an eagle, a spy–in–the–sky, but they run the name so quick I can't keep up. Call him Laurent for short, with or without a tie.

So tonight he shows this huge pile of muck out in the Atlantic but it's just for show. Here we will have a high, at least for the next couple of days. But it will be cooler with a high temperature of only 14 forecast for Friday, which should begin completely sunny and become less so as the day turns into afternoon.

photo, beer of the week The Beer of the Week, again.

Winds will puff along the Channel on Saturday, there will be serious clouds around Luxembourg, and around here there will be clouds interfering with the sunshine. We are supposed to stick with a high of 14 degrees. For Sunday the wind switches to blow here from the northwest and the temperature will crash to 11 degrees. Like Saturday, expect Sunday to be fairly bright with some blue winking at us from between the clouds.

Even the Riviera will be cooler after flirting with highs in the 20's. Sunday night's TV–news is unlikely to 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 all have hot croissants in Paris, won't we?

The Paris Fails Gris Test Report

This morning counting green things across the street in the cemetery was far from my mind as I bailed out my bathroom, threatened as it is by a miserable but determined leak. It was so bad that the patented beer can I am using as an emergency hose is rusting to smithereens even though it appears to be made of non–magnetic plastic.

I rigged it up as best I could and swung out the door. I figured I would have about three hours before its primary basin and backup basin fill up and flooding becomes a possibility. To make extra certain I crossed some of my lucky fingers going down the stairs three at a time.

photo, perrier orange cocktail The Cocktail of the Week.

Outside the weather was perfect and the sidewalk was fairly clean. When all the Parisians go away on their skiing holidays the sidewalks get dirty because the broom men have to go up in the Alps to sweep the pistes so the Parisians don't get wiped out by avalanches, which they will if the ski trails are obscured by snow. If you ask me, they could go to Martinique and waterski instead.

But the sportsreport is not our mission today. Today calls for getting to the club's café, holding a regulation meeting, and getting back pronto to save my neighbors from cascades of city water. Which, if you ask me, is safe to drink, but tastes like it needs getting used to, so why bother?

I was so anxious I got to the café early. When I do this I hide outside somewhere. The union is fussy about secretaries putting in extra unpaid time. Still, it is boring, looking at the boring east end of the Louvre, so I went in and met the new waiter who would function as the Waiter of the Week. I told him the rules and he agreed. "Thirty rich Americans will be here any minute!"

Then I settled down to read Le Parisien. I didn't get far because member Robert Alter, known to club members as Bob, sat down and started talking about photos of famous trash in the basement of the Maison Européenne de la Photographie or MEP for short. He said the photos of trash were life–sized, just like real trash.

photo, canon of the week The big Canon of the Week.

But that isn't why Bob is in town. He said he comes every year when it is dismal and grey and foggy in March. He wanted to capture the dismal essence of the city when it is dismal gris. This year he is striking out. All the same he said he was in La Défense yesterday, taking pictures of the dismal buildings out there. I wished him all the best.

In reality Bob is a professor at the Framingham State College near where he lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Actually he didn't say it was close. What he said was that he teaches photography there. I don't think this has anything directly to do with photos of trash, or buildings at La Défense, and it is too sunny anyway. Where has our drizzle gone? How are we to get our romantically moody photos? We can't all go to Rungis at 5 am.

While we were waiting for our cocktails Bob showed me some of his photos. They were in neat little boxes, mounted in cardboard frames. In fact they looked like slides, or diapositives, and they were all grey. He got the Tour Eiffel on a dismal day. But no – and Bob explained where he gets black and white slide film. This is not digital black and white slide film but real slide film. Trust a professor, a member of this club, to have something like this.

I asked Bob to show me his camera. It was, without doubt, the Canon of the Week! I photographed it. A welcome addition to the club's archives. Bob's Perrier and orange juice arrived, completing the summerlike Cocktail of the Week.

As Bob was telling me about Horace Mann starting his school in 1839, member Jim Donatelli arrived. This was confusing because I had the impression I was just talking to him – but in fact it was a couple of weeks ago that he walked out the door with George Broadhead – who Jim says, has sent greetings, from Brooklyn.

"Do they have wild animals near Pittsburgh?" Bob asks Jim, adding that he sees wild turkeys all the time. Myself, I have never seen a wild turkey except a bottle of it, and that was a long time ago. Jim says they aren't like the Thanksgiving kind. They have feathers and they know how to duck.

Then we were talking about hats. Jim said he has a whole collection of game warden hats, including a furry one with ear flaps that ties under the chin so it won't blow off in blizzards. He said, "One time in turkey season on horse patrol..." but apparently not right in downtown Pittsburgh. Then I missed a bit and he was saying, "Groundhog, chipmunk, whistle pig..." and I missed the rest of that too. I guess I was anxious about my water.

photo, resto card, l'os a moelle The reader Tip of the Week.

We were just getting up for the fabulous Group Photo of the Week when Yoko came in. "Eighty percent of my dialogue was cut," she said. Then she explained about the movie she's in, Je crois que j'aime, with a handy plot summary for those who came in late.

Which led Jim to extoll the virtues of a restaurant he was tipped to by member Eva Lee in Tranquility, New Jersey, who is not with us today either. Jim found the resto's card and we all admired it until we heard that it is out in Issy, which is out of town, but you can get there by riding to the last stop on métro line 12 and hope you'll be coming back before the dernier métro.

photo, my very own water leak The Leak of the Week, damit.

This prompted Yoko, who used to be Tomoko, to ask if she can bring a photo of the members' Camera–Murray new baby to show the club. As a rule, which is not a rule, members who aren't at meeting cannot be at meetings they aren't at – but she threatened to tell us the plots of some other movies, so I said okay. The Camera–Murrays practically lived at the club for a while there, before they were forced back to California.

To get even I arrange for the sun on the café terrace to be in everybody's eyes when we do the Group Photo of the Week. When we are back inside after our brief fling with fresh air I prepare to leave. I can hear a clock dripping.

"Me too!" Yoko says. "I have a leak in the kitchen too." Which reminds Jim and Bob to ask her about her mouse situation. They were still haggling about it when I went off to find the Waiter of the Week and pay my note and get out of there, powered by anxiety, off to my dismal waterworld.

About the Café Metropole Club

Remaining connected to your club via meeting reports is certainly cheaper than being here but only a third of the fun. Think of the club secretary's race against water. But no, forget that. The short description of what we might have been doing here, can be found as usual on the About the Café Metropole Club Webpage. And don't ever forget, more better frites.

graphic, club location map

This No But At What Stuff?

Unrehearsed, unplanned, unreal, not to mention spontaneous, plus true. The club meetings begin at 15:00 and last until 17:00 every Thursday. The next real meeting will be on Thursday, 22. 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 freak dumb fluke 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 my leaking taps. Who can think to do new stuff when all this dripping is going on? My original Hamburg lifering is going to get a workout.

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, 22. 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