"Suddenly You Are In El Vito"

photo, group, terry, toni, mark, marie Terry, Toni, Mark and Maire as Group of the Week.

Hardly a Laughing Matter

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Thursday, 22. November:–  I turned my back for a minute or two and the country went chicken crazy. What is this? I can't leave France alone and when I get back the whole shebang is on strike? No sooner does President Sarkozy tell President Bush how American he is and the entire gang of the French set out to prove he was speaking for himself. He should've known better.

According to TV–news that I saw in New York and here yesterday the transport unions agreed to work last Friday or sometime for at least 40 years, but the government didn't want to talk to them until yesterday. It appears as if our lords and masters weren't overly concerned with the problems of commuters. I agree. If everybody lived in Paris like government deputies with all the bikes, instead of in near suburbs or distant boondocks, the strikers could whistle past the graveyards.

But take heart. Students, teachers and professors are still striking. Truck drivers have yet to be heard from and no doubt the farmers are bitter about something or other. Brussels said that France can't subsidize the fishermen, so that deal must be up in the air too. What next? It's Thanksgiving in America today, it's Black Friday tomorrow, it was Cyber–something on Monday and there's only a couple dozen shopping days until Christmas and Fnac is already saying big screen LCD TVs are in short supply.

photo, beaujolais nouveauWeek–old Beaujolais
Nouveau of the week.

Which brings me to the weather. There is a ray of sunshine here but first there's Friday which will probably be universally crummy, cloudy, rainy – Orange Alert! on the Riviera – with a north wind of 60 kph around here and a high of no more than 9 degrees.

On top of everything else the France–2 TV–weather lady Valerie appears to be pregnant. This is France so it means we will see her get rounder and rounder with the passing evening forecasts until she goes on paid maternity leave and her cushy job will be reserved for her until 2012 so I guess she will be back as a mom. Meanwhile it is supposed to be pretty sunny here on Saturday with a high of 8 and Sunday should be about the same with a high of 9 degrees, with a chilly breeze from the northwest. By Monday all transport is supposed to be back to normal. I can hear all those exasperated and bitter commuters going through Saint–Lazare cheering up now.

The "Suddenly You Are In El Vito" of the Week Report

I did not put a lot of planning into outwitting the transport strike today on my way to the club meeting. The first nice surprise was not having to pay the fare and the second was the two–minute wait for a train and the free seat I sat on. There were fewer riders than usual but the newspaper kiosk guy at Odéon was on strike getting a café so I had to wait two minutes to buy today's Le Parisien. There might have been more traffic jammed into the narrow Rue Dauphine but what did I care?

photo, cafe of the week The retour of Café of the Week.

Total chaos was the order of the day at the north end of the Pont Neuf and the Quai du Louvre was unspeakable. In contrast I was greeted by a suppressed round of cheers at the bar of the club's café and I moved into the club position with a carefree heart in the hopes of having a quiet afternoon of sitting in sunbeams but a member cleverly arranged to arrive in time to be there before me. No time to read Exaspération maximale dans le métro therefore.

Member Mark Rowlee had just alighted from Air France's daily non–stop from San Francisco and he didn't look half bad. Looks might have been deceiving because he said, "The sun's too bright." It was the same for me on Tuesday.

In short order... short order? – what's that mean? Anyway other members came crowding in. There was Marie Mazurchuk from Vancouver where they taser folks in the airport, Toni Smith from Toronto which is by a big lake but it's not the same as the seaside, and in a slight retard there was Terry Cooper, also from San Francisco, and his pal, Toto, aka Bongo 267. Everybody reminded me of their names so they could be featured in this report which has saved me from Googling them.

photo, gumpy as toto, mascot Gumpy of the Week called Toto.

The members were all eager to hear about why our President Sarkozy went to visit President Bush in Washington, DC. I wondered about that too so I was down there last weekend, checking it out. If you go to the old National Gallery on the Mall there is no charge to gawk at the French Impressionist paintings. There is no line to get in and hardly anybody in those galleries – in contrast, Freedom Fries are on the menu again at the Congressional cantine – so maybe that's why Sarkozy was there – to see the Impressionists without being bumped around by folks from Minnesota in the Louvre.

Adroit readers may remember that Mark is a balloon guy who flies around lighter than air. He told us something about the recent Whamobass event in Coalinga, California because he was there. He also jollied us with tales about bringing a balloon to France without paying for excess baggage, by doing it in several trips. Which reminded us to wonder about the whereabouts of Steve Fossett.

Then, and I am not making this up, everybody had their "Getting Married in Reno" story. For example Marie told us about winning $75 with the nickel slots and buying some extremely pointy–toed cowboy boots, which she later used for dancing to the music of the Elmer Tippe band out in the Fraser Valley. Yeah, way out in Pitt Meadows. The Nevada boots were eventually ruined by the British Columbia rain.

[[pagebreak]]
photo, traffic on strike Traffic no more crazy than usual.

Actually we were supposed to be discussing Paris so everybody had their strike story. Then we looked at Toto and decided he – it – had a creepy mouth. Maybe Terry didn't decide this. So, when the Waiter of the Week showed up, Terry and Toni surprised him by ordering some Beaujolais Nouveau. They should have been happy I was in New York on Beaujolais Thursday or they would've been sold out. Marie had the Café of the Week and Mark had already had his. I had an Orange Juice of the Week.

After some strike stories there were rent–an–apartment stories. Terry, for example, is not related to the Cooper Paris Flats and their ads in Metropole, if they are still there, are not related to Ed. I used to do favors and I always forget to undo them.

Marie began to tell us about visiting her time–share in one of those places on the Costa del Sol south from Malaga. Mind you, it's a bit strange to take a holiday from being on holiday in Paris, but there was some bureaucratic reason for it – meaning, Marie had to do it. Along the way we found out that she knows all the names of places along to Maryland shore but the exact name of that spa south of Malaga is a mystery and I can't remember it either. It wasn't Nerja because it's the other way, according to Toni.

photo, phone card Cheap Phone
Card of the Week.

Let's round this thing up. Here's a plug for the Great Canadian Sports Bar on the Quai des Grands Augustins, where they have exciting curling on TV in vivid color. Also mentioned in passing, "earthquakes that Mark, Terry and Marie have lived through," and the Gilroy Garlic Festival. Then Terry laughed and said, "Suddenly you are in El Vito," but by then the photo of the week was taken and the waiter paid a princely sum, we were putting on our coats and sunglasses, preparing for another round of coping with the transport strike, now withering away to a mere wisp of its former glory.

About the Café Metropole Club

Drive your mouse around a recent club meeting report in a parking lot deeply buried in Metropole. Less exciting than being at tediously long and live club meetings but nothing's perfect. An explanation for what we were doing today may help but can be found on the About the Café Metropole Club webpage.

graphic, club location map

Patazoned Zoned

Spontaneous as any Thursday, half unrehearsed, semi out of control and again a lot more than one member. Club meetings are in fact from 15:00 to 17:00 every Thursday, including the next six weeks. The next meeting will be on Thursday, 29. November. These metric times are the same as 3 to 5 pm around other odd unmetric places, while meetings are held around here. Whatever you feel like saying will be totally appreciated by the other members present if there are any and they are listening, and sometimes they are, but not always.* Your other, absolutely true, stories are totally welcome too even if they are true.

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. Spurn membership to stay unfound.

*The above paragraphs are relatively unchanged for the last six weeks because the club's secretary just returned to paradise on Wednesday, yesterday, fairly recently. And El Vito is not City of the Week no matter where it is.

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. November.

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