Million Dollar Loo

photo, group, shirley, josef, walter, carol Shirley, Josef, Walter and Carol, form one of today's Groups of the Week.

Wilmington City of the Week

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Thursday, 19. April:–  It is a real change of pace to be passing on forecasts of good weather instead of whining about trash skies lurking along the Channel and coming down here where the good people just want to sit outside on the terraces without interference from the lousy elements. What I don't understand is how these forecasts are turning out to be true. They're not like real weather sports and news.

For the past several days the forecasts have been hinting at a degradation of conditions, kind of like a smell of the wrong dude winning the election next Sunday. But, instead, the weather just keeps sailing along on a peaceful sea, being more sunny than predicted and a touch warmer. For example, we seem to have a 1, 2 and 3 coming up.

After telling us about a major swirl over the UK on France–2 TV–news and weather tonight, no more was said of it for tomorrow for around here. No breezes. A little cloud up on the northern frontier, some clouds around the eastern Pyrenées and the Riviera, and the rest of the map wiped clean. Blue skies. High temperature was predicted to be 21 degrees.

photo, orange juicesGrove of orange juices.

On Saturday the little bits of cloud around France's extremities are nearly non–existent. Around here nothing but sunshine hand–in–hand with 22 degrees. There may be a few lonesome clouds floating over Brittany on Sunday but don't expect to see them if you are in the Ile–de–France, out watching the French troop to the polls. Sit on a terrace and enjoy the 23 degrees all day long.

The Million Dollar Loo Report

Well, that's it. The cemetery across the street has disappeared behind a sheet of green leaves. It is the third week in April, a short month since a feeble winter was left behind on the calendar. In my memory spring is a season that struggles to kick in and usually doesn't get the upper hand until about a week before summer is supposed to start. I can't help feeling distrustful.

photo, walter's cap, tour de france Walter's official cap.

It feels like, in many ways, that summer is already here. Is it a trick? Does the weather have a horrible surprise in store? Are we being teased with this tender climate, only to be ambushed by low clouds and humid, wet cold – in May, in June, and in July? In the past we have had that without having had any spring at all. Who will win the election on Sunday?

These are the kinds of questions floating around in France these days. The suspense is getting acute. Will we be freezing in July and have a short president? Enquiring minds desire to know.

I have so much on my mind when I go out the door to go to the club meeting today that I forgot to buy bread. I will have to get it on the way back when it is not fresh, plus I need some bananas, and I must send a fax. Does anyone remember when there were fax places everywhere? The fax business is almost as dead as the Minitel. Does anyone remember spam faxes?

The escalator was working again at the Odéon métro which saved me climbing up a lot of steps. There's a lot of stairs to climb at the best of times so there's no reason to go out of the way looking for them. I have even heard that a lot of underground garages have stairs so that drivers won't totally forget how to walk. I jaywalked the boulevard Saint–Germain like usual.

photo, mark kritz Mark reflects.

My bridge was splendid this afternoon. The Quai du Louvre was dappled with shade and light. All the leaves on the trees must have burst out since last week. A good number of folks were in the red shade under awnings of La Corona when I arrived and all of the café's doors were open.

At the club's station the customary brand–new Waiter of the Week offered to take my order. When I said I was attending a meeting he backed off. This can be just as bad because later on he might become 404, unfindable. But I put that thought aside and pulled out today's Le Parisien. Headline– J – 3 LE SUSPENSE

Member in good standing since before the club started in 1999, Mark Kritz, pulled up and chair and sat in it. I can remember Mark's name quite well but I always have to ask him where he lives. "Los Gatos," he said. Not Santa Rosa? I asked. "I've lived there for 20 years and it's always been the same place," he said like he always does when I ask Los Gatos and he says Santa Rosa.

photo, jerry martererJerry total incognito.

"Neither of us is getting any younger," he said. Since this was not worth arguing about he decided to tell me about the movie he saw on the plane. This was Night In a Museum. He said parts of it were funny. Then he told me about his bathroom.

The point of this story folks are supposed to get is the fact that no matter how much of a shambles is caused by the execution, the result is probably going to be a better bathroom than what you had before you started, but you must nave nerves of stainless steel and a great capacity of determination. Then anything is possible, given enough time and some luck.

For example, he told me that when he had finally picked out the tiles he wanted, they told him they would take four weeks to get to Paris from Italy. Mark, for some reason, phoned the tile guys in Italy and they said they shipped orders each week to Paris. Mark got his tiles in five working days and the bathroom was finished before he had to return to Los Gatos or Santa Clara.

"My bathroom looks like a million dollars but it's not a showplace for Vanity Fair," he said.

photo, beer of the weekBeer of the Week.

Luckily, this was when long–time member Walter Pappas strolled in and sat down. Walter, from Falls Church, Virginia, said that Shirley and her sister were engaged in shopping. He said, "I have several fatal flaws," but this was about Windows XP, so we feigned interest and kept on thinking about tiles.

The Waiter of the Week came close enough to be coaxed closer and we managed to order three Orange Juices of the Week. Walter offered to give me a URL for some photos, some of which might be of where he used to stay for years, and he told us about when the talk turned to apartments.

Which was interrupted by the arrival of member Jerry Marterer, who is from Jacksonville, Florida – because we switched to politics. "I came here to get away from politics," Jerry said. Jerry ordered a café and since it was small, it didn't last long.

photo, pot of moneyMoola for the Waiter of the Week.

Mark never stays for a whole meeting – but it's not a rule – and Jerry said he was going soon too, so Mark, Jerry and Walter agreed to sit still for a minute while the day's Group Photo of the Week was attempted. After, as they were flinging cash on the table member Josef Schomburg chose the moment to arrive.

This prompted Walter to show us his new Nikon D40 and lament the impossibility of finding a 18–200 mm zoom lens for it. Apparently it is some sort of wunder–dinge. Josef then brandished his Nikon D–X–something and everybody took a few satisfying shots with everything, at everything.

But the surprise was the entry of Shirley Pappas with her sister, Carol Danford, from Wilmington, North Carolina. Carol became a member of the club without hesitation, and offered Wilmington as a City of the Week, which it has become.

There was a jiggle from the line 7 métro somewhere under our feet. Walter said, "I thought it was my pacemaker." Shirley, who puts up with most of Walter's jokes, said, "You haven't got one!"

photo, group 2, shirley, walter, carol, the secretary, photo josef schomburgGroup II, shot by Josef.

Again there were as many members at the meeting as it was intended to have so we went out to the terrace for a second round of the Group Photo of the Week. As I finished Josef suggested I get in line and he let go with a couple of bursts from his pro apparatus, while I plinked off a couple of him from my hip. Lots of sky and some light poles was all I got.

About the Café Metropole Club

Put down the remote and clue in to your club via the meeting reports in this neck of the Internet. Reading reports is easier than being here but only a 25th of the fun. Think of the club secretary's unhipped photo–shooting finger. The official version of what we might have been doing here, can be found as usual on the About the Café Metropole Club Webpage. Add some sharp mustard for those more better frites.

graphic, club location map

But, At But, At But, At?

Spontaneous as planned, unrehearsed, out of control, anarchistic, musical and poetic. The club meetings are actually on time from 15:00 to 17:00 every Thursday. The next meeting will be on Thursday, 26. April. These times are identical to 3 pm to 5 pm around some other places, while meetings are held around here. Whatever you feel like saying will be truly appreciated by the other members present if they are listening, and sometimes they are, but not always – and if it could be by spontaneous combustion inscribed here.* Your other, totally true, stories are all welcome too. Anyone can use a good laugh.

Caution – should you have a personal desire 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 being a club member gets you found last if ever.

*The above paragraphs are relatively unchanged since last week because of the confused bee which found itself inside the café buzzing around our heads, looking for a decent plant or the exit, which was defect. I forgot to mention the window that wouldn't open.

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, 26. April.

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