S arrived in London on the 17th, and adventures commenced that very night. The first took place at a pub called Waxyâ€™s Little Sister, and could be called the Adventure of the Singing Midlander and His Drunken Middle Aged Daughter. It was surpassed by its sequel, the Curious Incident of the Men in Matching Shirts and Their Pal with Ming the Merciless Facial Hair, which went as follows:
Matching Shirt 1 eyes S while MS2 stands back and watches as Pointy Beard scampers around the bar.
I, creeped out by the lot of them, declare, â€œIf Matching Shirt Guy comes over here Iâ€™m sticking my tongue in your mouth.â€
S laughs so hard she has to put her head down on the bar. MS1 assumes this means she is totally smashed and decides itâ€™s time to make his move (ooh, classy). I consider making good on my threat, but S is still face-down on the bar, laughing. Also, it would probably just encourage him.
Then begin many minutes of MS1 trying to convince S to go with him to the bathroom (again: classy!) while Pointy Beard darts in and out of the conversation and MS2 watches, watches. Note that there is no menace among them, just an enduring air of sleaze.
Then we left.
The next day started civilly enough at the British Museum, and ended civilly, too, because the man at the pub by Tower Bridge was a gent compared to the Creepy Trio. After a polite if disjointed conversation that included Al Capone, the Krays, and Elvis, he asked which part of London I worked in. I told him, and he confessed that he went there Wednesday lunchtimes to check out the women (apparently he has a rotation around London, different areas on different days). Somehow this confession was refreshing, and not gross. But maybe that was just relative to the previous night.
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday was theatre, theatre, theatre. We saw Caroline, Or the Change, the new Tony Kushner play; Kevin Spacey in Moon for the Misbegotten; and Wicked. Wicked was good (heh), but I had more fun at Spamalot last month. Caroline was better, but didn’t live up to the hype I’d been exposed to. Moon for the Misbegotten was great, and Mr. Spacey did a damn fine job of not overpowering the rest of the cast, mostly because they — Eve Best as Josie and Colm Meaney (yes, Star Trek fans, that Colm Meaney) as her father — were damn fine themselves.
This is perhaps a good time to mention the invention of the Eugene O’Neill Play Drinking Game, wherein when a character takes a drink, you take a drink. This would yield a mere mild buzz in the first act of the performance of Moon we saw, but the second act yields alcohol poisoning (and would cost, like, a thousand dollars if you were buying your bourbon at the Old Vic bar).
Thursday morning we went to Paris. Via Luton, because I thought that was the small airport twenty minutes from my apartment by DLR. It isnâ€™t. It really, really isnâ€™t. Fate will be cruel indeed if it ever makes me go through Luton again. But at least now I know the locations of all five London area airports, as well as their relative pain-in-the-ass-ness. London to Paris via Luton was relatively inexpensive, but took four and a half hours of travel time.
Why didnâ€™t we take the train, at a convenient two and a half hours? The equivalent of $500 per ticket, thatâ€™s why.
Paris, howeverâ€¦ahhhh. It was my first visit, a short visit, and additional visits will be required. We stayed near St-Michel Notre-Dame, and did our Thursday wandering in the Latin Quarter. On Friday we went to Montmartre and climbed up to SacrÃ© Coeur for the view. Happy sigh.
But back to the title of this post:
On Friday the young waiter who served us lunch brought complimentary drinks at the end of the meal, then got all weird and shy. The even younger waiter at dinner should have gotten weird and shy, but didnâ€™t. He followed me into the bathroom and asked for a kiss. Seriously, Men of Europe, I ask you: what is it with bathrooms? Then he did the same to S. Then he gave us each one of his glossy black business cards featuring his name followed by a trademark symbol.*
Then we left.
Then, already delayed, we got on the wrong train, and by the time we figured it out we were almost certainly beyond any hope of getting to the airport on time.
The next flight was at 9:45 a.m., and because this princess will not be sleeping in the airport while she has a credit card tucked in her tiara, I marched right to the nearest cheap airport hotel and got us a room. And that was where we encountered the aforementioned Richard Burton movie, which I now strongly suspect to be Bluebeard.
And now you know what Iâ€™ve been up to.
This week will be devoted to getting my flat in order (including further attempts at internet access) and writing. E is working in Dublin this week, and Iâ€™m headed over to visit him on Friday night. Two weeks after that Iâ€™m spending a couple of days in Marrakech because, well, because I can. And I will take notes for the pupae-stage Mayfly novel while Iâ€™m there, as Iâ€™ll be doing in Dublinâ€¦although setting a catastrophic food shortage in Dublin might be laying the historical resonances on a bit thick. But that remains to be seen.
* M and I discussed the idea of him calling M. Bains, claiming he found the card in my purse and flying into a jealous, threatening rage. Thatâ€™d learn â€˜im.