An Aimable Shambles

photo, group, max, sarah, susanna, james Max, Sarah, Susanne and James, Group of the Week.

With That Mood In De Go

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Thursday, 19. June:–  The Strike of the Century on Tuesday was a fizzle because only a half million folks took a day off work without pay to protest against working more for the pittance they get. Of course, the retired folks taking part had all been fired at age 53, so they weren't exactly goofing off. Others on strike have not been laid off yet so they were marching because their time will come. The armed forces, for example, are to be slashed drastically. In the future their job will be done by robot spy satellites in the sky.

The real reason the big strike was kind of a flop was because CGT supremo Bernard Thibault missed it on account of a touch of lumbago picked up while marching in the last protest demonstration. Get well soon, Bernard! You missed a good one. The weather was neither too hot nor too cold for a traipse along the grands boulevards and perfect for shopping on Haussmann when it broke up.

The weather has been playing footsie with us. It almost gets sunny and then it almost rains a bit. The good news is that the temperature has been edging upwards, very slowly. It's been feeling about 23 degrees even when it's only been 20. It must be our mood.

photo, americano, drink of the weekDrink of the Week – Americano.

Today the sky was cloudy, the temperature was about 22 degrees and that's it. Hordes of tourists were near the Pont Neuf, deposited by unseen buses, and inn keepers along the quai du Louvre were welcoming them with fresh frites. More, semi irrelevant, weather details follow the club report.

The All the News That Fits the Week Club Report

I roused myself about dawn this morning and journeyed to Porte Mayo to pick up my number two son, Max. He has been very busy growing since he was in Paris last year so I let him carry his own lumbering sack full of sketch books back to Montparnasse. Frankly he seemed kind of sleepy. In order to catch his plane he had to get up at 4 am and wait. It was one of those cheapo airlines. The only thing they do better than have cheap seats is make you wait until they get your money's worth.

I should talk. I've never been on one, not unless you count those cheapo flights to Ibiza about 30 years ago. We took our own sand with us. I mean, we took back the sand we came away with. It's not a big place and it needs all the sand it can get.

photo, mapless blackberryThe Blackberry without maps.

Max admired the blasted walls of the Raspail métro station. He thought they are a new style. The train when it came was a same old one, and we rode down to Odéon without incidents. Then we crossed the boulevard Saint–Germain. Max had already noted that we crossed no streets getting to my place, so it was a major sortie. We crossed directly from the métro exit to the alley there, in south Paris–style. With élan that means.

When we got to the club's area at rear of the grande salle we saw before we arrived that member James MacNeil was there ahead of us. It was a nice change from last week when I had to refrain from signing up the Waiter of the Week. This week's Waiter of the Week was Patrick again. Before I could do anything in the admin line, member Susanne Chaney – no relation! – pulled up, sat down, ordered a drink, rumbled in her sack, took out her camera and...

And at the same time James was telling me the history of the half–kilo bag of Gummibären – new models, new flavor, etc. – and rummaging in his carryall for a carefully wrapped packet of Schwarzwalder super schinken, smoked, sliced so fine you could use it as a hanky, so ripe in smell, so... great. Not the kind of stuff normally exported but James cares not a piffle for rules. He was a Marine.

photo, schwarzwalder schinkenSchwarzwalder smoked Schinken

And news. James is not in the satellite rocket business any more. He may be again some time but now right now. Susanne, as many members will probably recall, lives in Fairfax, California. This is in Marin County just north of San Francisco and she got the idea that we didn't believe there is any such place, and insisted we look it up.

Since iPhones are persona non grata here, Susanne didn't bring hers. James unleashed his Blackberry. To make a long story short, a map finally appeared, the size of a stamp from a tiny country like Hawaii – small – and voilà there was Marin County. It was really too small to see Fairfax but I agreed to l concede it. We need some good GPS at the club.

Max was exceedingly quiet throughout all this. James then began to haggle for a fourth place prize for the contest we had some years ago. He claimed, and it is most likely true, that he won second and fourth places but only got one prize. I wish now I had remembered to point out that there were only three prizes, but he already knew that.

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