Sunday, April 08, 2007

Travelogue: March 31, 2007

Hey Look, the Sun...Let's Make Out

Today was an amazingly sunny day...you know, the kind of sunny day that all my normal friends who went to Mexico and Jamaica and the Virgin Islands have been having all week. I spent the whole day outdoors, wandering up and down the South Bank, standing in massive groups of tourists, watching street performers of variable quality. Here was one of the better ones: a cross between an English Bobby, a ballerina, and Hitler. Okay, Charlie Chaplin, but it's funnier when you say Hitler.

For the most part, I had a very simple way to take advantage of the sun: pick up a book, sit on Nelson's Column in Trafalgar Square, put on my headphones, and hang out. It's exactly the kind of total afternoon laze that I needed out of this Spring Break. Of course, all of the Londoners had another idea: make out, constantly, everywhere. In the park, make out. On the riverbank, make out. On Nelson's Column, right in front of me, there were two Goth kids giggling and necking. What the hell is that? You're supposed to be angsty and miserable! If you're going to be all smiley and lovey-dovey in public, you take off your goth gear. I'm not even goth and I'm ready to kick you out of the club.

Dinner With Tom (Or, Why I'm in London)

I had dinner with Tom Kinsley today (also known in college as BGT, or Big Gay Tom, to distinguish him from the 2 other Toms we knew and to mock him for his male modeling career) and Sam Smith (an American who came back to London after graduation, thereby become the expatriate I always envisioned myself as but never had the courage to become, and my host for my stay here in London). The dinner was unremarkable enough...catch up, tell a few stories, gossip, that sort of thing. But it reminded me exactly what I'm doing in London, and made me feel that much sillier having waited nearly 3 whole years before making my triumphant return. Studying abroad is cool, no question, but it's hard to properly describe the kind of effect an experience like that has on you. I am psyched to get to do it again this fall.

I Am a Trained Dancing Monkey

We went out in a big group tonight, which was notable for two things, primarily. First, the return of the Flaming Sambuca, without the kind of face-melting disaster I had predicted last week. Tragically, pictures with flash just can't capture the sight of fire spewing from someone's mouth, but since I had a picture like this in my first post from London, I feel compelled to include another one now.

Second, I have discovered yet another way that Parody has inexorably tweaked me: I can't hear any song from the show without immediately entering into rehearsed dance mode. This is perhaps most severe with "Sexyback," which I have to actively remind myself is not, in fact, called "Scandals Back." It doesn't require any interaction with a dance partner, and bits of it are the closest to something you could do in a bar without attracting a lot of attention to how ridiculous you look. At this bar, at one point we had "Sexyback" ("Scandals Back"), "Hips Don't Lie" ("Junior High"), and "Promiscuous" ("Republican Girl") come on all in a row. If I had other Parody people there, they would understand. They would do little stretches of moves with me, and collectively we would all stand in a circle and block the outside world from seeing our secret shame. As it was, I was pretty much on my own.

The Trick Is, Don't Get Run Over

As I was walking back from the bar at 2 am or whatever, I passed a man leading his drunken ladyfriend through the streets, stopping her at a crosswalk, looking both ways, and advising her, "The trick is, don't get run over." Immediately, this struck me as such sage-like advice, beautiful in its simplicity, undeniable in its truth. Of course, the two girls standing behind me didn't hear him, because they decided to bolt in front of me and nearly get run over by a sports car rounding the corner. And I just stood there, thinking "Watch out!" without ever managing to get the words out. Man, that could have been traumatic. When it was clear the girls were okay, I wanted to run across the street, grab them by the shoulders, shake them back and forth and scream, "The trick is, don't get run over, you idiots!"

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