Tag Archives: London

Spoiler: this skybridge will get you NOWHERE.

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This WTF Weds takes us back to London. But I start out with a little anecdote about Portland. It’s cool if you get confused. That’s how I spend most of my life.

Last weekend I was in Portland, and despite being a city that I know and can navigate quite well, the following happened:

  • I walked four blocks in the exact opposite direction that I needed to go, and didn’t realize it until I literally collided with a posted map of the city and saw that I was no where close to where I needed to be.
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  • Despite Rand telling me to “Keep going straight”, I kept asking him if I should take every single turn that we passed. At one point he just stared at me and said, “You are joking, right?” I wasn’t.
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  • We’d been to our hotel so many times that the valets recognized us. I still required directions to get there.
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  • Even while in possession of a map on which directions had been traced out for me in black ink, I got lost.
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  • I forgot where I parked the car and so our friend Matt had to drive us around for 20 minutes in the middle of the night trying to find it. Even though I knew the name of the street where I’d left it, I still couldn’t figure it out.
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Street sign, fully heeded.

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I’ve been to London a good number of times. We usually go at least once a year, sometimes twice, and the total number of trips Rand and I have taken there are numbering close to a dozen. I’m started convincing myself that I’ve seen all the city has to offer. I’ve been to tons of its museums – mainstays like the British Museum and more obscure ones like the Old Operating Theater and herb garret and the London Transport Museum. I’ve visited the Globe, and the Tate Modern, and the Tower of London; I’ve spent way, waaaay too much time shopping in Covent Garden and wandering around Borough Market.

I figured I’d seen London. Been there. Done that. Eaten those. Right?

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Years ago, my friend Rachel was telling me a story about her then-boyfriend (and now husband) Adam. I can’t quite remember what it was about, but she paused halfway through and said, ”Do you ever have those moments where you look at someone and realize how much you love them? Well, I had one of those moments.”

I, of course, knew exactly what she meant.

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One of the things I love about any friendship is when you create shared memories together. It pushes you from the realm of merely “people who get along” into the world of “people who have been through some shit together.” It opens up the door to inside jokes and stories that begin with, “Remember that one time …”

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The other day I did an excellent job of keeping my mouth shut while a distant in-law explained to me how television was bad for children. The comment had been prompted by my admission that I’d spent the morning watching Yo Gabba Gabba with my nine-month-old nephew.

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To this day, I have fond memories of my English class senior year of high school.

Even though it was (ahem) a little while ago, I remember it acutely. Our teacher was a gentleman named Mr. Willems, who remains to this day one of the best instructors I’ve ever had. He was fond of cardigans and sweater vests, spoke French, and would occasionally make us popcorn or bring in cream puffs and show us film adaptations of whatever we were reading at the time.

He’d ask questions of the class, and when no hands would pop up, he’d say (often en français), “If there are not volunteers, there will be victims.”

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Do you remember the interstitial sketch from Monty Python where John Cleese would say, “And now for something completely different?”

That seems like the perfect way to start off today’s post. Because today I am moving away from South Africa to tell you about the few brief days we spent in London. And I am not going to talk about the very important but nevertheless depressing things that I have talked about for the last few weeks. No mention of rape, or murder, or bombings, or anything like that.

No. Today’s post will about something completely different: bagels.

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Dear London,

This is just kind of hurtful:

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I mean, I realize that Scottish notes are easier to counterfeit and all, but really? You aren’t accepting them at all? What about if some adorable Scottish boy wants to ride public transportation and only has Scottish notes?

DO YOU REALIZE THAT YOU ARE DEPRIVING GOOD, HARD-WORKING LONDONERS OF THE JOY OF BUMPING UP AGAINST CUTE SCOTTISH BOYS ON THE TUBE? Please, have some decency.

Sincerely,

The Everywhereist

P.S. – Scottish currency is legal tender, you know.