Monday, July 26, 2010

London Schmundon

So I find myself getting ready to leave London tomorrow morning. I think I'm doing something wrong. Despite getting to see and stay with my cool friend, Fred (whose company I quite enjoy) I haven't had a very good time here overall. Fred has a lovely apartment and was very accommodating. I also had the option to stay at another friend's place but only did that for my last night because I left my bag there. I wanted to spend some time with her but it just didn't work out with the timing so I saw her all of 6 minutes when I dropped my bag in her room and she hurried back to work. So it wasn't lack of a place to stay that bruised my travel bone.

The only venturing I did was the one day I wandered down to Portobello Road to see the shops, but I wasn't inspired to buy anything. I would have bought a cool Banksy design on a t-shirt but he's now too popular for it to actually be cool to wear one and I doubt he's making money off the design so that's not an illegal something I want to support. After being pressed down a tiny street crowded with hungry and slightly sweaty tourists I couldn't stand it any longer. We were like two-legged cattle with credit cards. I just bought some fruit and headed back to Fred's place. The next day I didn't feel inspired to go off and explore the city at all. I thought I'd go camera shopping or look for a cool leather jacket in some of the top shops in London but I couldn't motivate to go by myself. I actually spent the entire day inside just sleeping late, surfing the net, reading, and playing video games. I didn't do much with my last day either other than hopping on the top of a double decker bus to take in the view and some high-speed people watching and eating some noodles. I did see a guy get arrested by the police for something he must have done on a bus. I also witnessed a very heated argument between lovers. I remember the guy telling the girl that "I was in prison surrounded by the worst of the worst and I kept cool, but now around you I lose my temper! What does that say about you?" I wanted to linger longer but I was afraid it would be too obvious if I just stopped on the street to eavesdrop.

I tried to be friendly and strike up a conversation with somebody on the tube (subway) and made what I thought was a funny comment on their Habitrail box. It's one of those containers for hamsters to climb around and crawl on. She just said "um, I see." There were also several people who bumped into me on the street and on the tube without any hint of apology. I've spent plenty of time in Manhattan and haven't had so many people bump into me in a year there as I did in a day in London. In case you're wondering if I was walking on the wrong side of the sidewalk (No, I wasn't). I did have a nice time when Fred brought me along to a barbecue with some of his friends. I manned the grill like a dutiful American and drank lots of Grolsch beer and a delicious raspberry, cream, and cornmeal cake. Maybe I had one beer too many, in fact. I liked a few of Fred's friends who work in Film and TV as writers, editors and directors. It actually made me realize that I rather miss creating and writing fictional characters for a living.

I did get to chat with Fred's flat mate, Robby who was quite nice and offered to grab a beer if I was around when he got back from work and we watched some Top Gear on the tele together. It's kind of a cool Automobile based interview and documentary show. Sadly the guests were Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz. Part of their press junket to promote the shit out of their shit action comedy movie. I despise the film's title - Knight and Day.

One night after catching a movie we tried to find a place to get a drink but by 11:15 at night just about every place was closed.

Usually I get a jolt of excitement just from being in another country because of the foreign element and all the details and nuances that make cities special but I suppose it wasn't as unique an experience because the language is the same and the fact that I'd been to London 19 years ago.

I don't know if it was my rutty Sunday of lethargy and no caffeine that got me down about my trip or what. I guess I just didn't do anything unique or special enough to write home about and my time in London ended with a whimper. If I had a bicycle or my camera I think I would have had a much better time. I probably should have gone sightseeing or to one of the many museums, but it just didn't sound very enticing. I'd done that as a teenager.

Now I'm going to eat the cheesecake I bought at the supermarket like some kind of Haagen Das anti-mopeyness therapy.

Probably in the back of my head is the fact that I'm in the city of somebody pretty amazing that I once was very, very, very, fond of. Seeing her again would no doubt be intense. I know it would ultimately just upset her to see me again and feel the heart-jabbing and very complicated feelings from the past that I'd dredge up. I have no idea how I'd react. I do know that it hurts me to care for somebody and not be able to connect with them.

Tomorrow I'm on to Italy see my friend Joel and stay at his villa in a town an hour north of Venice for two weeks. I'll buy a good camera and get on a bike or a scooter. I think the festivities or at least the relaxation and quality of food and beverage will take an upswing. A few cute girls to talk to couldn't hurt either, but I'm not holding my breath for that.

Goodbye, London. I hope the next time we see each other we're both feeling more jovial.

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