22 April 2008
I was chatting recently to an old comrade back home in Oz about the difference between travelling and going on holidays. To me, holidays are best when you go with a companion, but I think if you're going to "travel" in the truest sense of the word then you can only really do it by yourself. There's some experiences that, if shared, would somehow be lessened. We all hope for some life-changing revelation during our travels, but it seems most people are so obsessed with looking for it they don't notice that it's happening to them each and every day. Simply adapting to a new environment is a change in itself, it's evolution (baby!), and even the trip to work can be an adventure. For instance, the other day I was walking from Staci's place to the Tube station and I saw a horse running down Kensington High Street. No rider, no bridle, no manners...just capering through traffic in a gallopy rolling-eyed frenzy. How cool is that? Random, yes...surreal, yes...dangerous, heck yes! But cool nonetheless. But the thing that shits me most about the English is when something amazing like that happens, everyone except me pretends they didn't see it, or that it was a perfectly normal occurrence.
Speaking of Staci's place and random sightings, she and I were heading out on Sunday and who should we see crossing the street in front of her place but Bob Geldof and his family. She was completely oblivious (dufus!) but I was in full celebrity spotter mode and wasn't at all thrown off by his garish stripey suit. I was all like, "Hey, Bob! Mondays, eh? Tell me why!" And he was all like, "Get the fuck away from my kids." And I was all like, "That's cool," cos I was kinda close to them and I was carrying that sack that said 'Celebrity Kid Snatcher' on the side. Why the hell did I even buy that thing? It's been nothing but trouble.
The work do at Bar Kick was a cool, if sedate, affair but it did provide me with yet another definition for "wanker". In this instance, it was doodz who bring their own foosball knobs to a foosball bar to play foosball. I'm not kidding; these guys unscrewed the standard black knobs that came with the table and attached their own personal multi-coloured knobs which, presumably, were the state of the art in knob technology.
On Friday night I had dinner with Staci and her parents who were visiting from Boston. Not in a "It's Time You Met My Parents" kind of way with capitalisation and everything, more in a "my parents are over here visiting and we're going out for dinner and if you want to come along and join us that'd be great but no pressure" kind of way. But dude...it's STILL her parents, right? So a good first impression was my prime (and only) directive. Good thing, then, that while telling a hilarious story, I decided to make sound effects and I spat on her mom. That's right, you read it correctly: I SPAT...on her MOM. Right in the face, too. If I'd been talking to an English person then they would no doubt pretend that nothing had happened, but these are Americans so, of course, there was disgust and grimacing and screaming and hands flailing and scrubbing of faces with napkins and I never did get to finish my hilarious story, dammit. Perhaps I could have endeared myself to them more by cock punching her dad. But gobbing aside, it was a really nice evening and Staci's folks are lovely. Not sure what they make of me but at the very least they've got half their wedding speech already written.
Monday night was the second indoor rock climbing lesson and this week we eschewed all that safety baloney and got straight in to the climbing. We were on slightly more difficult walls this time and none of us were nearly as cocky as last time. Even though the climbing is relatively easy from a technical perspective, physically it's very demanding, particularly when you're out of shape. When you're perched 20 odd metres above the ground with all your weight balanced on your big toe which is precariously placed on a piece of plastic no bigger than an egg and the next handhold is just slightly out of your reach and your belayer is chatting up some bird, it's remarkable how quickly you regret making all those puerile jokes in the training room. You feel like you're playing some enormous demented game of vertical twister where the laws of physics and anatomy have conspired against you and the one place you need to put your foot is the one place you can't reach. Then we tried some bouldering, which is climbing sideways on and around walls, which was cool, and then some free climbing on walls with less coloured holds and more "natural" features like bumps and crevices. By the end of two hours my hands had constricted into hideously deformed claws and I couldn't do up my buttons or tie my shoe laces. And this morning I ache in places I didn't even know I had places.
So next week is our last lesson and I'm thinking I might sign up for a proper membership. It's pretty close to where I live and I'm getting my bitchin' new mountain bike in a couple of weeks so on weekends I can ride over, do some climbing, then hit the pub and the kebab shop and ponder why the feck I thought leading a healthy lifestyle would be a good idea.
My new Ikea wardrobe arrives sometime this weekend so I can throw out my floordrobe...can't say I'll miss it. Admitedly it's convenient to have every single piece of clothing you own in a huge pile in the corner but unless you're a hobo or a child you really have no excuse. Slob Chic will neither get you laid nor win you any awards as a fashion innnovator.