December 27, 2003

I'm baaaack!

and what a long strange trip it's been...
Traveling always does something weird to me-- something good weird, I guess, because it always makes me want to start something new when I get back. It's good to stir things up. While I'm on the road I always have strange unsettling moments though. I get all detached feeling and very confused. The trouble with this trip was that the best part happened early on and it sort of pettered off from there, due in part to the holiday and everything being closed. The last day of a trip is always the worst and this trip was a remarkable example of this.

On our last day we went to The Four Seasons Hotel for tea. It was something my co-worker suggested and it sounded like an amusing way to spend Boxing Day. We got dressed up and arrived at the hotel's posh little sitting room. It was filled with overstuffed chairs and little coffee tables, christmas trimmings dripped off every available surface (in a classy way, of course). There was an old man playing christmas songs at the piano. He was wearing a velvet suit jacket although the room was very warm and during his breif pause between songs his head would bow and threaten to droop into slumber, but then he would jerk up stumble right into Santa Clause is coming to town.

I felt like a tremendous slow child sitting in my fat armchair, towering over the little tea table in front of me. I was instantly emarrassed by my foolish outfit. I was wearing a black dress and a grey cardigan, but as an afterthought I'd put on black knee socks over my black stalkings, there was no full length mirror in the hotel room and I foolishly accepted my dad's comfirmation that this wasn't a bad idea. The cardigan, knee length dress, socks and my large round-toed shoes made for a ridculous combination.

My emabarrassment over my clothes made me immediately shy, I clammed right up and the whole thing was made worse by my dad's patronizing attitude. He immediately asked the waitress if they served mince pies, saying it was the whole reason I came to England, that I'd been talking about those silly pies ever since we'd arrived. As the waitress poured our tea she gave me condiscending smiles and asked over and over if "I was enjoying my afternoon tea?" I nodded and showed her a wide grin as my big feet squirmed around and nervously tapped the rug. I knew I was acting freakish, but I couldn't stop.

Then I went upstairs to use the lavatory. It was all oak and brass with rows and rows of dressing tables, each surrounded by mirrors. There were cloth towels and bottles of mineral water with glasses. I sat down in one of those pretty little bathroom stalls and took a shit. Then I slinked back downstairs to finish my tea and scones with clotted cream, smiling goofily at the wairtress all the while.

Posted by on December 27, 2003 7:58 PM