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Man–Made Earthquake

photo, group, marion, stephan, joe May Day's Group of the Week, Marion, Stephan and Joe.

Knit, Knit, Knitter, Knitting

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Thursday, 1. May:–  The biggest pain I had today was going to work on international worker's day off. All these years and today was the first May Day that has fallen on a club day, except for the ones I might have blown by being in New York. Therefore, before today's meeting I scooted over to République to catch the festivities as they were assembling for their triumphant march, showing that workers, pensioners, students, teachers, scientists, taxi drivers, the paperless, the homeless and the police, all know exactly what to do with their day off – march around Paris chanting slogans and waving red flags. Ah, not the police I guess.

Luckily there seemed to have been a lot of Turkish commies. Their red flags were very red, and their hammers and sickles were very yellow. Some had climbed up on the statue in the centre and were waving their flags, wearing red jackets, being colorful. The smoke from sausage grills was blue like bad diesel and there was some revolution in the air along with the scent of mayflowers. I really hated to leave early – the CGT's balloon was nowhere in sight – but the club called, saying, "Where is our secretary?:"

photo, two cafes of the week Two Cafés of the Week.

Spring continues its leisurely upcreep. There is no good news about temperatures but the clouds are expected to part, allowing mostly sunny for part of a day this weekend. More detail follows the club report.

The Man–Made Earthquake of the Week Report

The métro didn't begin to fill with merry workers until after Châtelet on my way north to République. Then everybody jumped out at the transfer and went the wrong way, filling the complicated tunnels with a milling mass of confused fétards. Other professional riders showed their exasperation by being moody as they shoved the hapless aside.

At République it was no different. Nobody seemed to know which of the fourteen exits was the right one. Some were right beside it, fighting to get back in the tunnel. Some others were lined up at a RATP office, possibly to request aid for returning home. Many workers ride the métro daily like robots, hardly realising that there are 14 lines, running every other which way. Add to this the fact that May Day is only once a year!

To make a long story short, I got my shots of red flags and blue smoke and then caught the line 11 back to Châtelet. From there I searched for a copy of today's Le Parisien but no papers were printed today. In fact just about everything was closed. One assumes that the bosses were home sulking in their draughty châteaux and lofty penthouses.

photo, marion knits, we fiddle Marion knits, knits, knits and knits.

A great number of folks might have gone to the Louvre to soak up some loose culture but those workers were on holiday today too, so the closest fallback was the club's café, and there they were, filling the grande salle with their piercing–voiced little kids, speaking Italian loudly, and generally running all the Waiters of the Week ragged. What an uproar!

And what was I to do with no paper? Fortunately I had not long to ponder this because members Marion and Stephan Nowak from Cologne, appeared not long after 3 and joined me at this week's offside table. When I asked, "How's tricks?" Stephan pretended to have not learned this phrase, because he never read comics books, Raymond Chandler, or chewed gum. Not everybody's education is complete.

I suggested that we, "Shoot the breeze" instead, but got nowhere fast. Before I could scrape the bottom of my language skills another member, Joe Fitzgerald arrived from Saint Louis, Mo. He said he'd been in my neck of the woods up on the Butte aux Cailles and then he said he'd just returned from Cambodia, Laos and Thailand.

We were actually talking about something else – shooting the breeze – but that was boring so Stephan said that they were in India for three weeks. Delhi was expensive he said. They had a good meal there that cost 20 euros, including beers.

Actually that was the most expensive meal they had there. Everything else was nearly free. Except, of course, the flight. According to the Nowaks, everybody visiting India is tested beforehand at Heathrow's Terminal 5 to find out if they are resourceful enough to survive the airport. If they are still standing they can get on a plane.

photo, agfapan 400 35mm film casette Remember this?

In response to a question by Joe, Stephan said they lived in one of Germany's less colder areas. This gave us all a shudder. Did I say that Marion was doing her knitting? She was making little socks for her own feet. She had toes done and was getting close to heels.

Knit, knit, knit. But she was listening. "We look in the celler and see what's getting low. Then we go there on our vacation and buy some more wine and bring it back," she said without missing a stitch. Knit, knit, knit.

Joe said that he bought a Côte du Rhône once for 3.50€ and it was drinkable. Marion said, "Try Monoprix, or Carrefour if you can find one. They are known for wine if you know what to look for. Folks come from all over Europe to stock up in September when Monoprix has its sales.

The café was very noisy and we almost has to shout to be heard. Marion said the Louvre was closed. Stephan said, "They stole a holiday from us! Ascension is a holiday but it's today. This year Toussaint falls on a Saturday. This is a bad year!"

Joe asked about the autobahn to Salzburg. He wasn't going there, but someplace else in Bavaria. Nobody had told him it would take a week if he tried it on a weekend, and a long weekend to get back so long as it wasn't on a weekend. It was like that 39 years ago when I lived there. It's easier to get through Heathrow's Terminal 5.

Stephan said he's going to photograph a place that's secret tomorrow. He called it a made–up name so nobody will know what he's up to. He wanted to get down in the Catacombs too, but that's another story. He decided to tell us that Notre Dame is mostly a replica of itself. I think he meant like my Pont Neuf, newly renovated with fresh stone like it was.

photo, close up of cafe of the week Reminder of the Week.

Joe had a camera question about focus. Marion, knit, knit, knitting nonstop, answered the question. The Nowaks might need a new camera at any moment so she keeps an eye on developments, nonstop. Joe said he dropped his Nikon FM in Cambodia and it still works perfectly. But he wants a little one for his pocket with good focus. Everybody's dream. He must have got a bad one, Marion said.

Then, after we came back from the Group Photo of the Week, Stephan told us about the man–made earthquake in the Saar. The mines caved in, he said. And then Marion said Germany was going to get the brown coal it needs from Brazil. She held up the sock to show us that she had gotten past the heel. Didn't she know it was worker's day off?

Weekend Spring Weather?

This crummy weather is not personally insulting so I'm not about to write a 400 word tirade about it two times a week. I need to try and remember this. No more tirades! Here is the new and improved version:

Spring failed to materialize today. However there is supposed to be a high in the Mediterranean that will create good times here. Friday will begin cloudy and become less so. Saturday is expected to be 97% sunny, with a high of 22. Sunday might be second best sun–wise but with 23 degrees for the high. What's left of our weekend isn't so long but we'll take all we get.

About the Café Metropole Club

Curl your fingers around your mouse to see a club meeting report buried in a deep archive somewhere in these pages. Less exciting than reading café menus during club meetings but nothing is seldom perfect. A clue about what we might have been doing today may help and can be found on the About the Café Metropole Club webpage.

graphic, club location map

Patazone On the Globe

Like any unrehearsed Thursdays , semi out of control and usually, like today, several wonderful members present. Club meetings run from 15:00 to 17:00 on Thursdays. The next meeting will be on Thursday, 8. May, an ordinary day. The metric times are equivalent to 3 to 5 pm around other unmetric places, while meetings are held right here. Whatever you feel like saying can be heard by the other members present if there are any and if 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. Stay lost if you must.

*The above paragraphs are relatively unchanged since the last meeting a week ago on account of today's total lack of Work of the Week except for this report, which had its annual dose of red flags as encouragement and inspiration rather than pay.

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, 8. May.

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