PHASE 1: And London Was Cold
But good times were had by all. The initial plan was to visit with my girl Weezer in Brighton for a few days before buggering off to a hostel in London, but I ended up staying with her in Brighton the entire time I was in the UK. It was just easier and cheaper as the day train to London is only about £12, and staying at a hostel for a night would have run about the same.
Favourite things seen and done (In other words: UK Redux):
* Christy, of course (love that girl).
* The birds at the burnt out Brighton Beach Pier.
* National Gallery Photography Exhibit (huh? yes) by Tom Hunter, entitled Living in Hell
and Other Stories. In particular: Woman Reading Possession Order.
* Tate Modern painting entitled Honeymoon Nude by John Currin.
* Wandering The Lanes.
* Sunday dinner.
Things I now remember that I miss:
* Never having to dress “up”.
* Hot girls who aren’t super skinny.
* Being called “love” by the barmen.
* Herstmonceux, of course.
* Clotted cream.
* Christy. (I never really forgot her, but still.)
Things I won’t ever miss:
* Wet feet and bone chilling winter damp.
* Crazy ass bathrooms (specifically, the separate hot/cold taps).
* Smoking in bars and restaurants (soon to be outlawed anyway).
* Egg and cress.
PHASE 2: Without Wings, Without Wheels
Roaming in Rome. That’s pretty much all I did. My feet are still a little sore, actually. Initially, I planned to structure my wanderings into a cohesive schedule, but I soon realised that a five minute walk in almost any direction, from almost any starting place reveals a steady stream of sights in Rome, so I just let things show their faces at their own pace. The week was more than a bit exhausting, in part thanks to the stupid hills and steps that dominate the city, but also just because it’s emotionally overwhelming to see so much stuff in such a short space of time. I tried to go slowly, but it all ran together a bit nonetheless.
Best Roman Holiday Moments/Sites:
* Stumbling onto the Pantheon. (And getting to see the rain come through the oculus.)
* Realising how many things in Rome remind me of Harry Potter (Septimius Severus
Arch, Via Firenze, etc.)
* Trading day bags with an American girl who was staying at my hostel. (I liked hers, she
liked mine, she dreamt we traded and then we did.)
* Being confused for a native over and over again. (Scuse Senora? Sorry!)
* Fontana dei Calderai/Fontana del Nettuno in Piazza Navona. (Go babies, go! Fight
those sea monsters!)
* The Area Sacra kitty cats. (Meow.)
Worst Roman Holiday Moments:
* Sitting in gum at the Pantheon. (Who leaves their gum on 2000 year old bench? Who?)
* Old men who ogle. (Why no young men? Why am I only attractive to octogenarians?)
* Too many tourists, and too many vendors as a result. (No, I don’t want your piece of
plastic crap. Thanks anyway. Yes, I’m bella. I know. Go away.)
* The closet-sized bathroom at Hostel Beautiful. (Where I only had to close the lid and
stand up to find myself in the shower. Everything gets wet!)
* Stairs! (My poor legs.)
PHASE 3: There's a Thousand Shades of Grey
Well, I already mentioned the time travel thing. This past year’s been full of it. As of today, literally (thanks to email magic), there’s not a single person of significance in my life whom I haven’t reconnected with in the last 12 months and this Toronto trip yielded the cherry on that sundae.
One little anecdote: About a month ago, I had an email conversation with someone I know who got married in their early twenties. I asked if this meant babies were likely to arrive soon and he said something like, ‘No way. On most days, I barely feel old enough to be a husband, let alone a dad.’ To which I responded something like, 'Please. On most days I don’t feel old enough to drive.’
Admittedly, I’ve been recounting this conversation to a lot of people because I thought my driving joke very droll. However, I’ve been beaten by someone who did me one better while having lunch in Toronto. I told the anecdote, complete with my lovely, wearied “please”, and my friend responded something like ‘That’s nothing. I don’t even feel old enough to cross the street.’
Sigh. I laughed. That’s better than what I came up with, definitely. I bow. I bow.
Anyhoo, onward and upward.
10 personal lessons (hopefully) learned in the Smoke:
* When you set out to do something you probably shouldn’t, and you succeed at doing
that something, you can hardly be surprised when things don’t turn out perfectly.
* I have a bad habit of spilling secrets to people I have no business trusting.
* For someone with an obsessive apologising habit (I say the word “sorry” more than I
say the word “the”) absolution is nice. Nicer if it’s been a long time coming.
* I have really really nice friends. And I’m not that nice, so I don’t know how that
* Sometimes your past life is only important in so far as it informs your current life.
* Consequences aren’t always negative.
* Jealousy can be harnessed, controlled and used.
* Seeming the same and being the same aren’t the same thing.
* When you remember something sad, sometimes you get a little sad, but you’re always
a lot less sad than you were originally, and the feeling lasts for a much shorter time. It’s
like a hologram or something.
* Making fun of Helen Keller (in the movie) is endlessly amusing.
10 useful tidbits/pieces of advice/words of wisdom received from a variety of sources that I know I should take to heart, if possible:
* Supposedly I have “nothing to prove to anyone”.
* “Only people who do have something to prove are always trying to.”
* “This is about you now, not you then. You then doesn’t even matter.”
* “If you can remember the things you like about someone, you can remember the things
you dislike about them.”
* “You should only be embarrassed if you give too little. Not if you ask too much.”
* “We don’t make mistakes. We make choices.”
* “People who don’t know you can be pretty insightful. They can also be full of shit.”
* Being nervous may apparently make me seem like I’m on cocaine.
* “Good stuff is good stuff.” Being able to see it, no matter the surrounding stuff, is good
* “You make me laugh like the devil with no pants on.”
Pickin’ up trash and puttin’ down roads,