Paris:– Thursday, 28. August:– We had those so–called days of sleeveless sunglasses I mentioned on Monday in good faith, led to believe by the TV–weather news that we were to have an entire midweek of sunshine and cushy temperatures of 25 degrees. I am sorry. I was wrong. What I wrote here, what you depended on, what I was told by the TV–weather news was... was baloney! It was hardly sunny a little bit on Tuesday and it wasn't anything like 25 yesterday, and today was the worst of all. Those faint, weak, thin clouds up along the Channel, forecast for today, were actually down here right over our heads, preventing any stray ray of sunshine from beaming its bliss on us. The lady running the tabac in the club's café La Corona said it was cold here. "It's like November," she said.
That's the month we get our flu shots. Hey! Guys, we need those flu shots right now. Put the stuff in the little bottles and ship it down here or we'll be wiped out like it was 1919 all over again. Ah, it feels good to let off steam like that. Most of you probably think I never look back at the weather predictions and just go blithely on, repeating their foolishness with never a nod to those who got frostbite while at the midnight movie out on the prairie at La Villette. No. When I predict sunshine and it ain't, I'm the one out there moping under the dark clouds.
Tonight's TV–news was somewhat upbeat. I laughed out loud at their delusions. The weather chickie, Tania, had on a new dress and a new, sort of back–to–school attitude. As in, "You are going to love this forecast for the weekend!" I looked at the ceiling, I looked at my watch, I poured some more fake beer. It was the nightly fiction and I didn't believe a word of it. She said, "You remember those thin little clouds up along the Channel? Well..."
Again today the clots of tourists were becoming smaller around the Pont Neuf, bravely taking photos of themselves in their summer finery against a thick grey backdrop of formless clouds. I did see see the sandwich wallas along the quai du Louvre with their fists in their pockets, looking sadly at empty chairs while pretending not to moan about the November weather already. There was no need to chase folks off the plage across the street because it's gone and the speedway was clogged with speeders again. Boring and barely true weather details follow the club report.
I've gotten over being annoyed with myself for getting up late a couple of times last week because of all the times I got up late this week. It's a dead horse and I am going to put it behind me and get on with the rest of my life, the part between noon and midnight. Thus it was that I got up a littler earlier today, had breakfast a bit sooner and got out the door ahead of usual, so I had plenty of time to get the poster photos on the way to the club. Too bad there weren't many new ones and no good ones.
So I was hanging on a rail outside the club after having a handshake with Monsieur Ferrat, looking at the café's bright red awning when I was accosted by member Vicki Houlahan, who said that she expected her landlady to show up any minute. About 30 seconds later I was being introduced to Martine Asscher–Baudoix, who said she lived in Boulogne–Billancourt near "Roland Garros", the tennis thing out there.
I thought, this is not right. This was club stuff. The inside and sit down and write it in the members' booklets, all tidy and according to Hoyle because there are no club rules, but out there on the street, leaning against a railing, that's not kosher. Martine said she only had to cross a street to catch a city bus. As if that made it okay. You don't live in Boulogne if you can catch a Paris city bus just like that. I thought we had better get inside before she talked herself out of Boulogne.
Besides member Jan Shaw had come along and caught me outside and she was beginning to think we were going to have the meeting out there, being deafened by the stupid car drivers racing on the quay, perhaps not realizing the speedway was open again. Or, just as likely, it does not make a damn bit of difference whether the speedway is closed for Paris–Plages. The number of cars, trucks, buses, cop cars, motorcycles and scooters expands to fill the space available even when the space doubles overnight.
Inside the café it was noisy but not anything like outside. By the time I got to the club's area member Dana Shaw was there too. The three members and one aspirant were sitting in the secretary's favorite seats, with their backs cozily to the wall. I sidled over to Martine and explained the club thing to her, read her her rights and got tied up in knots with the email warning. Martine said she knew all about the dangers of dealing with foreigners, being an open–minded landlady.
If she didn't live in Boulogne I might have asked her if she had any free apartments. The trouble with living next to Roland Garros isn't the tennis tournament, but the Parc des Princes. That is serious football hooligan territory. If not that, the cops around there are draconian with the parking. Just so nobody gets me wrong, my kids were born in a ritzy clinic there, next to the stadium, and I registered them in Boulogne, making them French – if they feel like it. And that has nothing to do with them living in Dublin. Well, not much.
About then, when everybody except the Shaws was saying, "Where's Marie?" that's when member Marie Mazurchuk arrived, followed closely more or less but not together, by member Barney Kirchhoff, who was wearing a new and black Obama for President t–shirt. Just a reminder here, for those who did read the club rules about eight years ago before they were canned, the club has no dress rules. Anybody can wear what they darn well like at club meetings so long as they have shoes on.
Here I add a historical note – in case you are reading this eight years from now – last night, Wednesday, Barack Obama was nominated in Denver as the Democratic Party's candidate for the presidential election in the United States on 4. November 2008. I forgot to ask Barney how they made his t–shirt so quickly though.
Also, just in case you think I was being mean to Boulogne, it became the City of the Week about the time nearly everybody was asking, "Where's Marie?" Then Barney, because we asked him, was telling us about being in the Democratic Party thing, like how he helps all the poor offshore Democrats to vote. He did not say all the 6000 registered Democrats in France were going to vote for Barack Obama. They can make up their own minds but who else will they vote for?
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