Black Thursday Not

photo, group of the week, cherie, michael, yoko Cherie, Michael and Yoko, a very serious Group of the Week.

Bring a Towel Weekend

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Thursday, 22. May:–  We had had a thrilling day with a major strike by the usual lot plus the entire alphabet collection of unions. On tonight's TV–news they said Paris' public transport was hardly affected and that only 28,000 marched through the streets waving banners saying, "Hell no, we don't wanna work no mo.'" At least that's what the préfecture and the Interior Ministry said. The unions figured it was 75,000 in the city, and 700K throughout the country.

While the city métros and buses more of less did their regular run around, commuters and long–distance travellers had some problems. Fishermen were still angry about the high cost of gas for their boats so they ransacked the fish out of supermarkets and gave it away, plus they kept up their blockade of ports. All in all, it was a day of situation–normal pretty much as usual for France.

In the weather department nothing much was happening. The sky was cloudy, the temperature was about 22 degrees and it felt humid. Buses dropped their loads of tourists on the Pont Neuf and traffic was jammed as usual on the Quai du Louvre. More, brief, weather details follow the club report.

photo, drink of the week, diablo menthe Diablo Menthe, Drink of the Week.

The Not Black Thursday of the Week Report

From the radio I learned that there wasn't much of a strike in the métro today so I didn't rush to catch a train. The government was trying to claim it was the minimum service they had imposed, but it was more like five trains out of five running normally. I got on at Raspail and got off at Odéon just like most weeks. My kiosque guy sold me today Le Parisien and wished the world a bon continuation.

The news, papers, TV and radio, the Web, were calling it Black Thursday but it was mostly grey. As in the sky, and oddly, not many folks around. When I got to the club's café its terraces were nearly deserted, under the bright red awnings rippling gently in the slight breezes. The grande salle had exactly one customer in it when I sought the club's hallowed area and arranged the club's secretary.

The paper. I skipped the lead story about the sexual adventures of teenagers. Half of a cartoon dialogue said, "I'll denounce you to the police." I turned the page and faced a full–page ad by a hypermarket chain with the headline, "You don't make a sexual revolution with over–priced condoms." I turned the page again and read the man–on–the–street's opinions about adding an extra year to everyone's work life, for pensions. That's what the strike today was about.

photo, cafe of the week Fancy Café of the Year!

Patrick the Waiter of the Week, was staring in disgust at something on the floor near the door. He batted his tray at it, and a pigeon fluttered up and banged into the window. He took another swipe and it bounced off a table and landed on the floor, coming in my direction. Do pigeons have rabies? It finally found the door and then tried to fly back in through a window. Baf. Not enough frites on the ground outside I guessed.

Paris has a new Chinese ambassador. I have heard him on TV. He speaks better French than most people here. He looks like a well–fed business type, and he has Beijing's line down pat, like a particularly efficient mousetrap. Stick your finger where you shouldn't – snap! it gets whacked. I was just about to get to the juicy Faits divers – hey, there's guys ripping off whole fuel tankers.

They got 2000 tons of gas! Gasp! The club members who arrived, I didn't hear what they said, but I whipped off my spectacles and folded the rag. Hey, members! To wit, Cherie and Michael Licamele, from Easton, Connecticut. Fairly regular with their dropping in one club meetings.

We got Patrick to bring us some drinks. Cherie asked for a café that looked related to a fancy sundae and Michael ordered a diablo menthe, I think it's called. Maybe it wasn't menthe. Maybe it was absinthe. It looked dangerous. My orange looked thirst–quenching.

photo, orange of the week Regular old Orange of the Week.

Once reminded of names we caught up. Then the drinks came and we clicked glasses and cups and Michael said, "To the club members wherever they are!" Just goes to show that when you aren't at the club we do think of you. So Yoko decided to arrive and then there was four of us.

Yoko also decided to tell us about how the extra business – extras for films and TV – is going to the dogs. A lot of folks, actors, are out of work, so they are flooding the casting calls for extras too, making life hard for the humble folks who aren't trying to get acting gigs. At least, this is what I think she said.

And they have silly rules too. Yoko was there and they wanted a half dozen Chinese and they wouldn't take her. She said, "People asked me directions on the métro in Chinese." She said she did the real tea ceremony in her own ceremonial kimono and they only paid her as an extra. "It was very heavy," she said.

I was asked about the geopolitical situation in France but that is too boring to detail in this report. It changes all the time but it is always the same. Come to a club meeting and I'll do my best.

No, what we really talked about, once we were started with extras and movies and the age of Catherine Deneuve, was the fact that the Harrison Ford you see on all the posters for Indiana Jones does not look like the Harrison Ford I saw for ten minutes, being interviewed on France 2 the other night. Can anybody clear this up? Are there two Harrison Fords? One who looks like Harrison Ford and the other in the movie who does not look like the Harrison Ford I saw on TV two or three days ago.

photo, portable phones of the week Generational gap telephones – of the week.

That seems like a high point when it is time to say five. Because we had a long discussion about portable phones and phone deals. The more we talked about it the more confused we got. Finally Michael said he had one plan that covered five phones. We didn't know he was going to say this but we were glad when he did. It allowed us to pay Patrick and get out of there.

Bring a Towel Weekend Weather!

This so–so weather so far is back to being personally insulting so I'm considering writing a 25 word, or longer, tirade about it. Until spring is over is not going to be anytime soon! Here is the lousy update:

We are under the influence of two lows, one over Rome dropping tons of rain and the other just west of Ireland, waiting to drop tons of rain there. Look at a map and you'll see we are right in the middle, and it ain't pretty. Friday will be cloudy, like today, but it may get worse. Temperature expected is 23 degrees. Saturday it gets worse and Sunday was predicted to be – worser. Probably 21 both days. Take a towel. The Riviera is not getting out of this one.

About the Café Metropole Club

Snag your fingers tight around your mouse to see a club meeting report buried in deep somewhere in these pages. Less exciting than dodging pigeons during club meetings but everything 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

Geometry In the Patazone

Like any unrehearsed Thursdays , semi out of control and usually, like today, several wonderful members on hand. Club meetings run from 15:00 to 17:00 on Thursdays. The next meeting will be on Thursday, 29. May, unless it's a leap year. 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 report a week ago because of the transition from Cannes to Roland Garros, from teeth and gowns on the red carpet to white shorties flashing on the red dirt.

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. 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