Now One of Us

photo, raymond on corona terrace, waiter patrick, traffic on quay Group of the Week, Raymond, takes earned after–club pause.

No Strike of the Week Today

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Thursday, 5. June:–  The big strike has been called by the total alphabet soup of unions for Tuesday, 17. June so I don't know what their problem was today. When I got to the Quai de Conti it was plugged every which way and folks were scrambling across the street like beaters in the tall savanna grass between the cars, trucks, scooters, bikes and ambulances.

No mention of theStrike of the Year was on the TV–news tonight and they didn't say why downtown was jammed. The rest of the disgruntled such as the fishermen were still grumbling after their brawl in Brussels. Truck drivers are having escargot races here and there and the taxi divers were feeling bolshi too. It was just a normal day even if there was no Strike of the Week today.

In the weather department nothing much was happening just like last Thursday and the Thursday before. The sky was cloudy, the temperature was about 22 degrees and that's it. Buses dropped bigger loads of tourists on the Pont Neuf and traffic was more jammed as usual on the Quai du Louvre. More, unstunning, weather details follow the club report.

photo, beer formidable Formidable Beer of the Year.

The Now One of Us of the Week Club Report

Some new tiles are already in place in the métro station Raspail. They are clean and white and a big contrast with the exposed gray, bunker–like concrete. They made my day. Mind you they are doing the easy parts on flat walls first. I'm going to sign up for email alerts for when they get to the curves. I mean, what do you expect? With the thing deconstructed like it is, there's no huge billboards advertising portable phone schemes to see.

So much more soothing to ram through the other stations with their colorful presentation of everything on offer in our funky western world, including boundless credit. All too soon the ride was over at Odéon and I had to return to the surface and the reality of crossing the boulevard Saint–Germain illegally, and successfully. I got my paper. Headline – "Un Grand Paris: pour quoi faire?" Ah, more megalomania!

When I got to the club's café La Corona I saw Monsieur Ferrat outside and as usual he was annoyed with the folks who were walking around instead of taking shelter from the rain, or the sun, on his café terrace. I tried to tell him that I had passed mobs on the bridge and they would be tired soon and thirsty but he would have none of it.

There weren't many refugees inside either. I set up the club business in the usual place, looked around at the near empty room, and pulled out the paper. Grand Paris is a presidential idea that has been around for some time before Monsieur Sarkozy became the big cheese. In this version it is supposed to elastically stretch to Le Harve so that Paris has its own deep sea port. It might be easier to move Paris there.

Barack Obama has been getting a lot of press and TV–news here since he locked up the delegates on Tuesday night. The man in the street is talking about it, according to what I heard yesterday on the street. Unlike in America we have other news too – like the nuclear bobo somewhere in eastern Europe. Tonight they were assuring us they have it under control. Not like last time when we got bombed with radiation that they said couldn't cross the French border.

photo, change plate, coins With dollars, change plate stays empty.

I skipped the tennis news from Roland Garros. But I read a lot of the rest of Le Parisien and remembered to order my orange juice. The Waiter of the Week came near and said he was going to remember who I reminded him of. He took off his glasses and said, "Lee Marvin!" "Lee Marvin is dead," I said, "And I am very much alive." He told me to keep my cools in French.

It was so quiet that I was hearing voices. There was an American talking in the corner but there was no one there. Some stray freak sound created by the mirrors. I got up to look and see if it might be a midget American down near the floor somewhere.

From the other end of the grande salle another American called my name – "Hey you! Are you Ric, Ed or Radiohead?" "Yikes!" I thought, "Ten minutes to five and here is a member?"

But it was okay. Raymond Batvinis from Bowie, Maryland took a seat, signed the book, heard his rights warning, and gracefully accepted the honor of having his hometown become the club's City of the Week, the first in a fortnight, if not months.

Now that Raymond is a club member, recommended by member Robert von Maier, I had the delicate chore of hinting that I would going out the door in 10 minutes. He said that Mrs Batvinis would join us any minute. I picked up my pen again. Raymond ordered a beer.

What was the question that prompted me to ask Raymond if he was a FBI agent? Was it his handcuff–like handshake? Many club members will possibly recall that I can ask silly questions and some of them are even a surprise to me. Raymond said, "I served 25 years as an FBI agent before I retired." Luckily the club's bench seat prevented me from falling on the floor because the table was in the way.

photo, glass, orange juiceThe sectretary's cocktail mix.

Raymond said that he had recently written "Origins of FBI Counterintelligence." You can order it from Amazon or any other online bookseller if you want. He also teaches history of the FBI to newbie FBI agents. "I went to Montparnasse to see Dreyfus in the cemetery," he added, adding also mentions of visiting Verdun and the Normandy beaches.

Fair is fair so I outlined my career as a bike dick in Vancouver. Raymond told me how bike thieves dumped their stolen goods in Amsterdam canals, and how they were pulled out with a special crane. He seemed doubtful about Paris' Vel'Lib bikes and their ability to stay unstolen. It was like an old bike dick's reunion.

We discussed spies, counterintelligence, James Bond at the BSC office in New York in the war, and various other items of a non classified nature but Mrs. Batvinis never did show up so we adjourned the meeting after coordinating our calendars – meetings start at 15:00 or 3 pm on Thursdays, and that was that.

As I was leaving I found Raymond on the café's terrace facing the Louvre just about to tuck into a huge, formidable version of a beer. It looked like he was having a private Oktoberfest, hoping the clouds would clear so there would be a decent sunset. The traffic was jumbled up every which way. An amusing sight when you have secure seat on a terrace, and a big, fresh, beer.

One final note – the warning I usually give new members about maybe not using their real names in a club report because of their former lives, like maybe the IRS or the FBI is looking for them – please be advised that the FBI is now one of us.

On Strike Weather

The dang so–so weather continues, back to being so personally insulting so I'm considering writing it off and moving to Hawaii. I'm giving spring two more weeks to get in gear and if it doesn't, then boom! Here is the latest lousy update:

photo, traffic quai du louvre Traffic on the quay – where does it come from?

Tonight's TV–weather news started with scenes of the official weatherfolks walking around, waving signs, on strike. However TV was not on strike. Due to this situation the skies on Friday will be murky around here and the high will be a low 17 degrees. Saturday may be nicely semi to semi–sunny with a two degree uptick. Sunday, ah Sunday, may be three–quarters sunny, to maybe four–fourths, and the high was predicted to be 22. Nobody should care about the Riviera.

About the Café Metropole Club

Swivel your fingers lightly around your mouse to see a club meeting report buried deep somewhere in these cheery pages. Less exciting than hearing disembodied voices 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

Dolphins? In the Patazone?

As unrehearsed as any Thursday , semi out of control and usually, like today, one brand–new member in the old clubhouse. Club meetings run from 15:00 to 17:00 on Thursdays. The next meeting will be on Thursday, 12. June rain or shine. The metric times are equivalent to 3 to 5 pm around other unmetric places, while meetings are held right here. If you feel like saying something that 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 and the FBI before becoming found. Stay lost if you want.

*The above paragraphs are relatively unchanged since the last report a week ago because they are relatively unchanged, which should surprise no one who has read this 417 times since 1999.

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, 12. June.

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