Day #11: It’s big, the largest here

I hate teenagers. Yes, I really do. There’s no talking me out of this one I tell you. My lucky hostel streak as I have said ended when I checked into a hostel full of overly rambunctious teenagers and children. Where the hell are the chaperones I wonder? When at 6:30 in the morning I begin to hear footsteps, then dings as doors are opened and closed, then talking, then screams, and soon after running of these feet up and down the halls. I have my earplugs in but they are not enough to withstand the spry young ones. I lay around in hope that maybe the sounds will die down, but instead they get louder.
There are two other girls in my room as well that toss and turn and hope for the same thing I am hoping for, but none of us ever get our wish. We all arise around 8 after almost an hour and a half of tossing. What we should have done was tossed a child down the stairs, but we didn’t. I am still wondering what became of the missing chaperones. I actually wonder after this why it is I continue thinking that I would like to have children in the future and if I do can I put them on loan during their teenage years?
Today is laundry day because I am convinced that no matter how many showers I take I will never smell good again while my clothes smell like rotting mice. I spotted a Laundromat a few blocks away from the hostel and am excited for the scent of flowers to overtake my linens. Unfortunately I forget that one actually needs to buy detergent before going to a Laundromat because it always seems to be there at home. The laundro manager seems annoyed that I don’t know this and with a hard point tells me “go, go over there aaaaand get some. Leave clothes here.”
I of course obey her command and go across the street to a corner market to pick up a box of detergent I will only use one time. 2.15pds seems expensive for one load of clothes, but oh well, it’s worth not smelling like an alley cat. I head back across the street and load up my clothes in “largest washer here, you use,” she says and I go to pay for the wash and it takes coins only. Damn… I am coinless. Once again I hear, “go, go over there and get some. Things fine.” I run back to the store with my 10pds and he gives me 5 in change and another 5pd note. I think this will be fine. I get back and pay the machine a full 5 for one load of laundry, but the machine is “big, big washer” so all of my clothes fit in and it seems worth it.
I am opposed to sitting and watching my clothes spin so I head to an Assyrian Café a few meters away and get a greasy omelet sans fromage. I’m not exactly sure how they greased up an omelet this much, but I kind of feel like I need an oil change afterwards. I leave half of it for a dumpster bird to pick through because I just can’t stomach it and sip on an Americano per usual. The coffee is also really okay. I have a feeling that perhaps they should just stick to the Assyrian food, but the locals seem to be enjoying it. Can’t beat the price at least, 4.50 for my entire meal, now that’s what I’m talking about.
It’s time to go check on the laundry. Seems to be done and now it’s time to heave it over to the dryer across the laundro (note: I have never actually used a Laundromat before and so my sense of what things I will need there are a little skewed). My clothes are pretty much still sopping wet when removed from big washer and as I move things to and fro a mini river is created and the now present old Chinese man watches me with dismay at how terrible a job I’m doing. Once everything has made it across this new river I look to see the price and realize that I once again don’t have enough change to dry my clothes. Thank God the manager has left, but I hear her in my mind say, “go, go” and so I do.
The grocer shakes his head and reluctantly gives me more change, but I smile and say “thank you” many times. I am terrible at this I think. I am not meant for the Laundromat life. I head back and start the dryer and hope for a turn around in the day. The turn around really comes when I pull my freshly dried clothes out, warm and soft and scented a nice mist of the garden, whose garden I’ve no clue, but a garden none the less. I fold the clothes and find ways to stuff them back into my backpack. Things are turning up roses. The old Chinese man waves goodbye to me. It’s time to head back to the hostel.
It’s too late by this time to do anything really touristy in the city and so I decide to play some music and give reflection a good piece of my mind. Then I have to nap after all of the reflecting. I wake to the sound of a text. I am meeting a guy named Kris, a local for a drink and some theatre. He has decided we should go see Psy, a cirque dance performance troup out of France. I love anything dance and so this sounds to be a perfect Friday night. I meet up with him at the British Museum after getting lost on the bus on my way there. Once again I am about 20 minutes late meeting someone in this city. I decide for the future that I will always just leave 20 minutes earlier than the time I actually think I need to in order to be on time.
Kris is a tall guy that looks like he enjoys his meals. He’s got on red/black plastic framed glasses and is smiling when I arrive, though I’m surprised because of my tardiness. He is talkative, which is good because I’m not quite awake from my nap. He’s good at asking questions, which is also good because apparently I’m good at talking about myself.
I figure out a few questions to ask and am struck by déjà vu because he reminds me so much of my high school/college ex, the difference is he has a much cooler accent. He goes on about theatre and music and that he will be seeing an opera the next day and went to see a play earlier in the week. I feel a little envy because I want to stay here just for the theatre and am glad to be going again tonight.
We go get some drinks before the show and I order a double gin and tonic, which is terrible and I think next time I will order this with Tanqueray, but forget. I am impressed by how many Londoner’s are out drinking at 6:30 at night. I’m fairly sure every Londoner has packed his or herself into this bar. We make our way over to the theatre and get more drinks and find ourselves in a very IKEA minimalist bar, by which I mean there’s loads and loads of space and five tables. It looks like there should be a dance floor there instead. He teaches me all about the chips in the credit cards and then I understand why people hate me when I have to use my card, because no one swipes cards around here anymore.
At 7:30 the theatre starts. A voice starts the show, spouting out facts about the human brain. As she talks, a spotlight highlights the audience, which is at first confusing until we all realize at the same time it is highlighting the percentages of people in the audience that correlate to the facts she is giving. When everyone realizes this there is a community laugh and a sigh. Eventually from 75% to 30% to 10 people she makes it to 1 and highlights what we think is a single audience member. Soon the single audience member gets up and walks on stage and takes off his shift and the dance begins.
These are dances of power, of grace. These are stories or so we find out. Each person in the ten person dance troupe personifies a different mental disorder from hypochondria to agoraphobia. My favorite personality is one I can’t identify. It seems to be dementia. He can barely speak and is transported into his childhood with his mother and begins a dance where he juggles. I can’t accurately depict the scene and the beauty of how it was put together, but I knew this was a good show because I actually began to tear up a little. The whole show is amazing. The way their bodies work is amazing. I am in jealousy and decide right then and there that I will start taking dance classes again once I make it back to Seattle.
We go for more drinks after the show and like Londoners seem to do, split a table w/ some other locals. These two amazing women are drunk and dancing to hits from the ‘80’s and we bond over Depeche Mode lyrics, “People are people so why should it be, you and I should get along so awfully?” I love bar bonding because it’s easy and always seems to make sense at the time. The fact that people can bond on something as simple as a song makes a fool out of sober bonding, which for me can take up to twenty good conversations.
Kris and I get up and dance with them to some Jackson 5, which means the Friday night friendship is solid. We will all have a good time no matter what now. We will all go home with a good story and a happy face. We will know that we met people and they made us feel good and that it was a good night. All that ever matters is that it’s a good night.
At ten till midnight it is time to leave because the tube stops around midnight. It seems early, but I know that I should get to bed in order to prepare for Larsen’s arrival. I say my goodbye’s to the ladies and head to the tube with Kris. We get on the Piccadilly line together and say the “thank you’s” and “it was wonderful” to each other and a few stops later we hug and say goodbye. I head for the Jubilee line and smile over how amazing the night was and am happy to be in London even without my friends that I miss terribly.
It was just another good day in London.

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One thought on “Day #11: It’s big, the largest here

  1. February 6, 1945 (continued)It took me a minute to realize it shouldn’t be there, and another minute to start my heart working when I saw the fire and another one to call up our boy to tell him he was getting a hot foot at the wrong time in the wrong place. He came out of the turret in nothing flat – believe me, I was there; then flopped like a fish out of water from lack of oxygen. Being the hero, calm, cool and collected, I plugged in his oxygen and put out the fire with a little aid of a fire extinguisher, which I couldn’t turn off, so managed to get everything wet in my frantic efforts, including me. Being a modest hero, I naturally turned down the Silver Star. Going into the target we were shot at for an hour. Then for three hours we sailed around Germany. Then at the line out got hit with flak like I’ve never seen since Merseburg. Over the Channel our gas was low, so we worried again. The ceiling when we landed was 200 feet. We landed with five minutes gas left. Sort of got lost in the fog. The altitude was 26,000. It was 38 ° below. My temperature was 38 above 100. We carried ten 500 pounders. Fighters were all over the area trying to worry us, but we didn’t worry – MUCH.

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