What's that Song?

photo, group photo of the week In today's Group Photo of the Week five Texans, one Doug and one Yoko.

LucyLaCam – When Will You Join?

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Thursday, 22. March:–  Folks who were out basking in the sun yesterday were getting pelted with pieces of frozen rain. In some countries these iceballs are called hail. In France they are called grêle, and I guess they are what you get when winter wants to give a last snort before turning into spring. Of course I could have been mistaken and it was only grésil, or sleet.

We are getting wonderfully complicated weather maps on the TV–news. But tonight I had to turn up my ears a bit because my TV decided to be in black and white instead of color, so if there was any blue shown on the maps I didn't see it. First, she said, there's big depression in Germany. This is pushing something of other against another big depression sitting on top of Ireland, making what passes for pleasant weather squeeze between the two, becoming hardly improved.

photo, soleil a parisToday's sky of the week in Paris.

Don't try to figure it out. Tomorrow we are going to have grey, rainy, chaos, and the high will be no more than 7 degrees. Light winds will blow water in your face no matter which way you turn. On Saturday France will be divided in three, vertically. Our part might be the best and the high temperature might be 9 degrees.

On Sunday's map I drew one line, from Saint–Malo to Perpignan. West of the line there will be something that does not concern us because it's not near here. East of the line, from the Côte d'Azur to southeast England it will be – warmer! It might be semi–sunny too. I didn't actually see this on the weather news. But warmer I got. They said 11 degrees. Compared to recent winter temperatures it is not brilliant, but it's better than Tuesday, which was very crummy and probably no more than 5. Don't sneeze at it.

The What's That Song Report

While the whole world got up early this morning to dig for money I stayed warm in bed contentedly listening to my kitchen tap not dripping. It's a wonderful sound. Just when I began to think I should record it some joker upstairs in the building commenced to remove some tiles with one of those drills that dentists used along about 1948. I decided to get up and dig for money.

photo, wine pot of the week The best wine pot of the week.

But first, being Thursday, there was a club meeting to be at. I got out my winter scarf, that served so well during New York's Christmas heatwave, and put on my winter coat, glad to have an excuse to wear it again. I put the métro tickets in my pocket, and so on, blah blah. I was just about to pass the cemetery when I ran into my next door neighbor who displayed a great deal of distress about my water problems. It's a bit late, but I didn't say so.

The sun was struggling to emerge from the clouds but I didn't notice much while riding the métro. It came to light as I was crossing the Pont Neuf which is almost all new again. It's such a big job that the new parts at the south end are starting to look a bit old already. Looking too new isn't good either. This isn't Disneyland.

At the club's café the Waiter of the Week, Patrick, apologized for putting le monde in the club's location. There were eight or a dozen people there, sounding like two dozen Americans. I settled into the table nearest the window and admired its outlook. Then I took out today's Le Parisien and read its headline, "Chirac vote Sarkozy" The photo showed the two of them in the rain yesterday, looking glum.

Long–time member Doug Fuss sat down. Doug comes from Savannah, Georgia but as an ex–IBMer he goes on missions to emerging places like the Stans and most recently, to Lebanon. Last summer there he had to leave in a hurry because things got hot hot hot, but he went back later, and recently went with his Joes to Dubai.

The sun was licking at the windows near our elbows so I didn't bother taking notes. I learned a bit more, firsthand rather than from TV, about that part of the world. From what I gathered, the chance of me ever visiting Dubai must be less than zero. I have to be careful though because all these places one is never going to have a annoying habit of becoming destinations. But wait, hands in the air, everybody who is planning to spend a long weekend in Dubai.

photo, beers of the weekBeers of the week.

Well, Doug's stories were more interesting than that. The Americans at the club's tables finally became quieter by leaving the café but they sure took their time getting out the door. There was a big jumble of folks milling around and when the dust cleared, it revealed a team of ladies from Texas who were battling though the departing hordes.

The five ladies introduced themselves as we moved to the roomier club area, and of course nobody sat down in their name–order. They were club members Musette Richey and Barbara Fee, plus Mary Ella Martinez and Minnie Elmore, all from Austin, and Gretchen Kramen from Dallas. All work for the Lone Star State and they were in Paris because they are having two birthdays, one a 75th.

I was already in the bad habit of not keeping notes, like half asleep. The following quotes may be remembered by their authors, without me being able to join names to them.

"Only one more day," for the length of their stay. About the weather news in Metropole – "Was not crapola!" They managed a side–trip to Normandy where the air was fresh. "Blew up my nose and hit my brain." Somebody's husband got a bad cold trying to see everything out there.

"That's why they invented Calvados," Doug said helpfully. "Beautiful countryside!" "How do they get those buses through those tiny streets?"

There was another side–trip, but it might have been on another visit. Some flew off to do a little gambling in Monaco at the Hôtel de Paris. "We got a ham sandwich on the plane!" There was mention of a wonderful drive from Monaco to Nice.

Then ten eyes turned to the club's secretary and wanted to know exactly what he does here. Aside from doing the club meetings and the club reports that is. I never have an answer ready for this. I squirm. I dither. Saying I came here from Hamburg sounds like the beginning of the long story it is – what can I do about what I do?

photo, soft cocktails of the week Wimpy men cocktails of the week.

"What's that Jimmy Buffet song?" Some deep thought before Margaritaville surfaces, but nobody remembers any lyrics. Moved to Margaritaville? Somebody says I can Google them. Who is Jimmy Buffet, I wonder.

"Elderly dogs are not fun to take care of," is another quote that cries out, in vain, for context. To smooth it all out a bit I spring the Group Photo of the Week on the members, and out there we troop, line up, while the secretary circled around with the lenshade nearly bumping noses, provoking some startled expressions, plus wonder and of course, disgust. I explain how it's a wide–angle lens and with it closeups require being close up. Pros use the telephotos to avoid the kickbacks.

Back at our tables Doug asked the smoking question. Why is it, he wanted to know, that everybody is still blithely puffing away like choo–choo trains in bars, cafés and restaurants?

Because smoking hasn't been banned in these places until next year, is the simple but incomprehensible answer. All that was banned this year in February was smoking in places, mostly where is was already banned, plus in places of work like offices, workshops and schools. In France we need another 11 months to get ready not to smoke in tabacs. Even after then, we will still be able to smoke like fiends on mountain tops, in the middle of vacant lots, and in some foreign countries like Panama.

photo, version 2, group of the weekGroup II proves Group I was no fluke.

Slightly before this Yoko arriveed to cheers from all the ladies who have read about her adventures here, and Yoko surely appreciated the attention but she had another mission today. This involved placing the photo of LucyLaCam, shot on Friday, 16. March, and currently on view here on Flickr, in this club report. This is against the club rules the club doesn't have.

Besides, Steve and Lauren haven't brought beautiful little LucyLaCam to a club meeting yet. Other babies have joined and become members. It was so long ago that they are probably teenagers now, totally wired to their iPods. But nobody has ever become a member without doing it at the club, or having it done to them, poor dears.

Finally, via the ladies, there's good news from Texas. You can talk on the phone all day there while driving, because it's a really big place. Obviously, Europe is too small with too many people – regardless of the Parisians you see doing it all the time, almost as if they were smoking in cafés.

About the Café Metropole Club

Staying tuned in to your club via meeting reports is vastly simpler than being here but only a quarter of the fun. Think of the club secretary's race against the clock. 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 forget, more better frites.

graphic, club location map

No But At No But At What?

Unmentioned, unbuttoned, unhip, not to mention spontaneous, and rare. The club meetings begin at 15:00 and last until 17:00 every Thursday. The next real meeting will be on Thursday, 29. March. These times are identical to 3 pm to 5 pm around a very few other places while 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 hearing five flavors of accents from Texas and being so bemused that connecting faces to names escaped me like so much else, again.

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, 29. 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