M. Giant's
Throwing stuff at the internet to see what sticks

Thursday, July 24, 2003  

Mind the Gap

Trash and I went to England in 1997, and I’ve always wanted to go back. Not only because I loved it, but because Trash hated it.

No, I’m not saying that to be mean. Trash had a couple of bad experiences in Blighty, but I think that if we went back, she’d really enjoy it. I feel like those were aberrations that we wouldn’t necessarily be subjected to on a return trip. Maybe some of my British readers can confirm this.

But before I get into that, you should also know that Trash is generally a very intrepid traveler. She’s quick-thinking, resourceful, highly adaptable, and she doesn’t get all bunchy under unforeseen circumstances. I try to be the same way (except the quick-thinking part, which I gave up on years ago), and we’d probably make a good Amazing Race team if the logistics of securing air travel didn’t make my head feel all swimmy. And also if I were remotely athletic.

Trash’s first “perhaps England is not for me” moment was in a London tube station our first night there. We were still getting over the shock of learning that the pubs close at 11:00 p.m. Which is bad enough when you come from a town where you can drink in public until 1:00, but our internal clocks were telling us it was 5:00 p.m. and we’d barely started. This, on top of a case of jetlag and travel fatigue that hadn’t been helped by a five-hour afternoon layover at O’Hare, left us in less than ideal condition to deal with the unexpected. And the unexpected, in this case, was something I missed entirely.

You know what the London Underground calls a giant puddle of puke on the platform? “Liquid Spillage.” We know this because occasionally we’d hear an announcement on the tannoy to the effect of “Earl’s Court Station is temporarily closed due to Liquid Spillage” or “The Picadilly Line will bypass Knightsbridge station due to Liquid Spillage on the track.” Not coincidentally, these announcements seemed to be more frequent at around 11:00 p.m.

But we didn’t know that yet, because it was our first night in the city. And as we briskly strolled to catch our train back to the hotel, Trash—and only Trash—caught sight of a woman down the platform taking a spill. In more ways than one.

As I said, I didn’t see it, so I can only go by Trash’s description. All I can do is wonder why the woman didn’t realize what she was stepping in until she was ankle-deep in it. Perhaps she was holding her head too high, out of pride in her full-length fur coat. Whatever the case, her feet went out from under her and she sprawled flat on the floor, laid straight out on her back. She might have slipped a disk or cracked a rib had her fall not been broken by a generous quantity of vomit.

Unknown to us, Trash was so transfixed by the horrifying spectacle of this poor woman swimming for shore and heaving herself out of the heave that she couldn’t really tell the rest of us what had happened until we were safely in the bowels of the Underground. Sadly, the traumatic memory of the woman in fashionable mink and chunder kind of overshadowed a lot of the rest of the trip for Trash.

Not everything, though. We made a side trip up to Edinburgh by rail for the weekend. This also marked the first time we’d ever stayed in a youth hostel. As it turns out, hostels are not the best place for married people. At least not the one in Edinburgh, and at least not when those married people are us.

Trash and I were in a tiny room with two or three other people, and we were on separate bunk beds across an aisle from each other. Being forced into Rob-and-Laura-Petrie-dom was bad enough, but the kicker was when she opened her eyes early the morning to find herself face-to-face with a distinctly unfamiliar set of goolies waving an unwelcome greeting.

To be fair, we’d come in pretty late, and I don’t know if this guy realized that it had become a co-ed room overnight. On the other hand, I find naked jumping-jacks uncomfortable even when I’m alone.

Trash immediately recognized that she wasn’t being molested, at least not deliberately, so she shut her eyes, buried her head under the blankets, and attempted suicide with the pillow in order to the block out the image of the bearded troll that was nodding vigorously at her. Eventually he got dressed and went away, not necessarily in that order. I don’t know, I slept through the whole thing.

I’m pretty sure that this was also the last time we’ll ever stay in a youth hostel.

But I hope it wasn’t the last time we ever go to the UK. Trash realizes that it’s not all Liquid Spillage at night and eyefuls of genitals by sunrise. Y’all—I mean, you lot—will prove that when we come back.


* * *

Did I explain yesterday that “Today’s best Google search” refers to the best Google search phrase that showed up in my referral log? I don’t think I did. I guess I still have some bugs to iron out. You guys probably figured it out, though. You’re smart like that. Otherwise, you might want to think about going here. Unless you’re at work.

Also, it won’t necessarily always be Google. For instance, today’s comes from AltaVista. And I think yesterday’s was from Yahoo! Search. Maybe I’d better come up with another name for this.

Teach me to go off all half-cocked.

Today’s best search request: “how to warm up the water of a backyard kiddie pool.” I think if you just leave the kid in long enough, that’ll take care of itself.

posted by M. Giant 3:37 PM 0 comments


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