When You Get Back

photo, rue de rennes, morris column, motorcycles, colored leaves The light slides lower and lower.

Paris Will Be Here

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Monday, 27. October:–  My landlord has been ranting and raving at me today because I am still living in his beautiful apartment. He expected me to find a new apartment equally as wonderful and move into it, on the dot of the notice he gave me. However, shortly after he gave the notice the finances of the world tipped and fell into a fathomless gully, and as everybody knows after six months now they are still going to hell.

Do I care that folks are not moving out of their cozy single bedroom apartments? That they are not trading up, getting extra bedrooms for the little bambinos and bambinas on the way. Because the banks just went crash and took all the auto workers with them. The mail–order firms, in business 60 years, gone into bankruptcy. Ooh, they didn't notice the Internet did they? Or they were going to take a big leap into a new house out of town, but the banks that are still standing are hoarding every euro. Who could have foreseen that six months ago?

photo, reflection felix potin Past commercial glory.

For my part I kept my optimism pumped up even though there were weeks, months, when the real estate ladies did not get a single new listing, and the several excellent Web sites featured nothing but occasional fleabags. The way it works here you have to put together an iron–clad dossier proving that you may three or four times the rent, put up two months' for caution, pay the agency and the first months' rent. There, that's four times all at once.

Then you stand in line with 25 other desperate folks, all with dossiers made out of stainless steel, before you even get a look at a maid's broom closet in an attic. The view is great of the roofs of Paris and you'll really enjoy it as long as you keep your coat on, hoping that the winter wind doesn't hurtle down from the northeast out of Russia. If you win you may even live long enough to enjoy the effects of the next killer heatwave through the tin roof two centimetres over your head.

The good news is that France has a curious rule that says tenants can't be evicted between 15. October and sometime in March. It's called the Winter Truce. My landlord was pretty excited today. I decided not to remind him of the Winter Truce. He didn't seem to be in a mood for a peaceful negotiation. I think I will call my attorney first.

photo, sign, superette

The temperatures have slipped below 15 degrees during the day and it's hardly a matter of time before they fail to reach 10 and stay there until next February. There are still a lot of green leaves on trees and there are a lot colored too. I give it two weeks until the lot comes down. Goodbye October. For what it's worth, here are weather details:

Goodbye October Weather

The big picture showed a 2000 kilometre gray splotch lying diagonally across the Atlantic, drifting this way. One wave of it will be past by Tuesday morning and another will have reached the Channel coast. Around here it may be semi–nice but the temperature will only be 10 degrees. Oh, there might be some thunder, but that's harmless.

photo, matt rose in berlin with barack obamaMatt Rose and Barack Obama, together in Berlin.

Expect more of the same on Wednesday, with the smaze wave in the east, and semi–nice here. High for the day might be 8 degrees. For Thursday it may be the same yet again, except for some crazy easterly wind up north. It was on the weather map but Tania didn't say anything about it. The high of 7 was on the map too. Man, that's cruel.

Our man Météo Jim, bless his heart, is better than the weather. He is much more reliable with his pin–point predictions and forecasts, as least as seen from here, many kilometres to the east. The latest, this year and last plus next:–

Le Bon Vieux Halloween

Long ago, dans le bon vieux temps – last year, the last Monday of October would have been running on Eastern Standard Time. This year, and for years to come, the change from Daylight Savings Time – how much it saves is negligible – to True, Natural Time will take place on the first weekend in November. One advantage – and the only – is that it gives Les Trique ou Treatures more light on Halloween as they go around the neighborhoods on their quest for candy.

photo, sign, restaurant la paix, kurdes, turques

However, Mama Nature is not fooled by these shenanigans. This past weekend was cloudy with rain pouring down on Saturday night which was the herald for a cool front. Tomorrow, Tuesday, will welcome the arrival of a cold front along with a chance of rain. Wednesday will see November temperatures with a high of 49 a–grad. The temps will rise slowly and Halloween is predicted to be sunny with a high in the mid 50s a–grad.

This is the last week of October which means it is a sports fan's delight in Pommeland. The last game of this year's baseball season may be played tonight – only if Philly wins. Basketball will start, football is nearing its halfway point and hockey has begun. Presidential elections? ça m'est égal!

A la prochaine, Météo Jim

Café Life

When You Get Back

The news is really bad here. The president may be flying hither and yon trying to sell his vision of what we must do but back here in downtown France the economy is floating on balloons full of lead. The prime minister was out in the country glad–handing the about–to–be–unemployed and he looked slightly annoyed when some of them started waving signs with unfortunate messages in his face.

photo, place dauphine Leafless in Dauphine.

But of course you know this because it's happening where you live too. We all belong to the same club. You, me, us, them, we all have to live through this as best we can like we always do. So maybe you will have to put off your trip to Paris this year. It might be better to stay home and do some stuff around the house. If you do it yourself it doesn't cost much and makes things better.

I promise that Paris will still be here. You don't even have to take my word for it. The French can endure. They've done it before. While you stay away we will keep the place up, sweep the streets, pick weeds, clean the gilding. All your favorite things – the Tour Eiffel, Notre Dame and Angelina's – will be here when you get back.

It may not be all that long either. On Saturday I was down on the rue de Rennes sort of expecting it to be semi deserted, but I was wrong. If anything it seemed like there were more shoppers clogging the sidewalks than usual for a Saturday. Maybe it was because there were only one or two mass demonstrations happening elsewhere in the city instead of the usual dozen.

Or maybe it was a bad sign. Folks skipping going to a movie and buying a DVD in Fnac instead. Only, why were there so many of them? So many of them with armloads of books and DVDs. Boxed sets of DVDs. What were they thinking?

photo, sign, le bec rouge, neon

It was a cool day, Saturday, but the sun was looking around the clouds. On the rue de Rennes there were no Halloween decorations, no Christmas decorations, but it felt like a holiday. Of course, knowing me, it could have been a holiday and I didn't know. That's happened before. But that's what I did when I wasn't looking for a new apartment, and I have to keep on doing it tomorrow. That's the week's story.

The Café Metropole Club That Was

I don't know where the members are coming from these days but they were at the club last week. Nobody had an apartment for the secretary to rent but I wasn't surprised. It was good to see the members. The next Thursday that everything at the Café Metropole Club will be 100.7% new, will be soon, but I don't know exactly when. Check Metropole's front page for updates. All members in any shape, class, form, hue, any standing, of any type or creed, will be offered a chair. If you feel like sitting at a table on the terrace, pretending to not be at the meeting, you will not be able to use a club table to hold up your drink.

photo, club cafe la corona Don't forget the club's café.

The musty old rumor that repetition will end someday is darn dusty. One false fact and three–thirds of a fake rumor about the club are on a page called the About the Club Webpage. Readers who have read it in person, and one or two have, may already be club members for life without exorbitant risk or fees. Refunds can be refunded on principle. Make your deposit soon.


The Ex–Question of Schleswig–Holstein

photo, sign, cinema, neon

Some alert readers might have considered that it is apt to remember that it was today in 97 that Trajan, who was 44, was adopted by Nera who was childless, thus beginning the Roman times of the adopted Caesars, in case you were wondering when they started. A few years later, in 1275, two guys in a small boat with a dog started living in Amsterdam because of an exemption from Count Floris V's toll for some bridge across the Amstel. I would mention that the Ancient Order of United Workmen was founded today in 1868 but it's too darn obscure. Let's go back to today in 1682 when Philadelphia was founded by foreigners, mostly Europeans. They are still there. Meanwhile, on the same day in 1792 in far off Britain, two of the condemned to death Bounty mutineers, Pete Heywood and Jimmy Morrison, were pardoned by the King and set free the same day. This date in 1901 is well remembered for the first robbery that featured a getaway car, in Paris of course. Exactly three years later to the very day, the first underground subway in New York City began operating, only 35 years after the elevated IRT Ninth Avenue line. Then it was today in 1937 that Chester Carlson and his helper Otto Kornei patented the photocopy process. I didn't note what they called it. There are two birthdays to celebrate today. One in 1911 belongs to Leif Erickson, no relation, and the other in 1952 goes to Roberto Benigni, also no relation. Who can forget today in 1973 when the Canon City Meteorite weighing 1.4 kilos struck the earth in Fremont County, Colorado? Let's wrap with the Quote of the Week, this one from Arthur Miller, who said, "There's too much of an attempt, it seems to me, to think in terms of controlling man, rather than freeing him. Of defining him rather than letting him go. It's part of the whole ideology of this age, which is power–mad." It must be because of our lousy behavior. That's our little world, folks!

A bientôt à Paris
signature, regards, ric

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