The journey/al begins

[My travel comrade and I] both fancy ourselves writer types, so I figured having this girly little diary would be a good way to pass the time while we’re sitting, drinking, and not watching football. Yes, I am going to call it football during this trip. Fuck you.

Everywhere I go, people ask me: “What’s your process?” I understand my fanbase’s incredulity at what I do. For thousands of years, man has explained that which he does not understand with gods and magic.

England is populated largely by atheists. But, like most atheists, they don't want their grandmothers to find out, so they erect elaborate Christian monuments to fool the elderly at family functions.

I’m going to cut you, and countless future generations of your offspring (unless you’re sterile!), who otherwise might have worshiped me as a worldly man-god had I not been forthcoming now, a break. I don’t really have a process. Not usually. But the London trip changed everything.

Well, that’s not entirely true. Actually being in London changed nothing. I got a notebook before I left my apartment. But the idea of going to London changed everything.

I have terrible long and short term memory, and would be without my laptop or much Internet access for the duration of the trip, so some kind of writing process would be imperative. That is to say, I needed to jot everything down, or else I’d forget all of it by the time I returned to the BLAG offices in Boston. In fact, there were portions of this trip in which it’s quite possible my brain formed no memories at all!

Hence: the travel journal. Unfortunately, I was too busy having an awesome time to make the journal itself incredible to read. You might say it’s dryer than Samuel Pepys’ diary. Then again, you more likely might say “who the fuck is Samuel Pepys?” — which I think makes my point. The journal is a boring read, save for some crude drawings I made and the odd excerpt. But it has served its purpose as a matter of record.

My first English pub/buzz. The Queen's Arms, right near Queen's Gate, on Queen's Gate Mews, off of Queen's Gate Road. We get it.

Now, gather ’round while I transcribe select passages from the journal I just talked forever about and completely undersold!

Excerpt from the plane ride:

The flight attendant played a clever trick on me. She waited until I was digging for a $20 [bill] in my gullible American wallet to reveal to me the horrible truth behind the fifth of Famous Grouse I had agreed to purchase, duty free: I could not drink it on the plane.

I resentfully stuffed the bottle into the seat pouch before me. Personal failure appears to be following me across the Atlantic. I was naive to assume it would remain in Boston, with the rest of my life. However, learned cultural fact: British “lemonade” = Sprite. What the fuck?

Skipping ahead a few hours:

The Tube voice just said “mind the gap.” Awesome. I am in England.

That’s about when it all sunk in. You see, England is a lot like the U.S., but it’s the little things that make it different. For example, the disembodied, automated voices of public transit in the U.S. sound far less educated than their London Tube counterparts. In my mind, I would henceforth refer to the Tube as “Professor Trainsworth.”

It was here on the Tube that I got my first real taste of public British discourse. Two women, arguing over who should get a seat. Sounds normal, right? Well, first of all, consider this: they both had British accents. Cool. Also, they were both trying to give the other person the seat. It was the most delightful argument I’ve ever witnessed on public transit, by a wide margin.

Skipping ahead another several hours, and we had met our first couch surfing host, a Scotland-born rugby enthusiast with a very American attitude towards soccer (it’s a “girls’ sport”). Tied one on at a pub and headed back to his flat, where jet lag kicked me right in the grapes. An excerpt from after my nap:

I was roused by Jon, our Scotsman host. I pulled off my very gay sleep mask, courtesy of Virgin Atlantic, and headed downstairs for a piece of pie from the Borough Market — which I missed in order to a take a nap, which rightly encouraged an assessment of my vagina and matching tiny violin (perhaps the smallest in the world, but I’m not bragging), from the aforementioned Scotsman.

I almost went to art school.

From there, we were off to meet some new friends and headed to a beer festival. Pints in England are 20 oz, not 16. So yeah, the record kind of just ends halfway into the festival. I did make a pretty sweet candid sketch of Jon the Scot rubbing his nipple at the festival, though.

I think this is a good place to stop. More to come.


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