Well hello again.
Who is the freaky little girl who puts everything she thinks or feels onto a dorktastic diaryland site with charming if somewhat juvenile penguin icons? Me, me, me!
I'm back from the UK and frighteningly un-jet-lagged. Time for some disjointed impressions from my trip:
1. It feels like I have been away for a long time. When I do go back to work (on Thursday, shhh, don't tell anyone I am back yet), I'm sure I will be completely useless.
2. Below is something I wrote on the handheld on the flight over. I think I was drunk.
According to the time that I am supposed to be adjusting myself to it is 3 am, but even though I have rocked the three tiny airplane bottles of Merlot I still can't sleep. It's got something to do with the rumble of the plane, the fact that I can't wear earplugs, and the fact that wine doesn't make me terribly sleepy but rather kind of flirtatious and loquacious and hey, sing it with me, I rhyme. I chime like a clock I sell no wine before its time. Okay I am a lousy rapper but I am a perfectly adequate mimi smartypants, which is, if I'm not mistaken, what you came here for. So there.
3. I have trouble sleeping on planes (ha ha are we surprised? no we are not) but on the way there I was determined to make an effort. LT has much less of a problem than I and he was using the eyeshade (stupidly, we only brought one). I had a large white handkerchief with me so I tied that around my head blindfold-style. I also like to keep my hands together when I sleep (I'm a compact sleeper), and I had my hair out of the ponytail, and the ponytail holder (some of you might call it a SCRUNCHIE but for some reason I despise that term) around one wrist, and at some point during my light doze I must have inserted the other wrist into it as well, like a single fabric handcuff. It was only after I woke up that I realized how strange I must have looked to anyone passing down the aisle, like a miniature hostage crisis or prisoner transport.
4. On this particular vacation I became a swirling vortex of primal need. I ate A LOT. I slept A LOT. (We're talking eight hours a night. Damn.)
5. I have probably been to London a few too many times to get excited about it in a touristic sense. However, I did visit a few local attractions. The toy museum featured some wonderful creepy dolls and a 1930s construction toy (a sort of proto-Lego) named Ubuilda (as in Ubuilda Bridge, Ubuilda Fort, Ubuilda Castle). It totally put me in mind of some Sicilian ancestor of mine waving his arms above his head and shouting “Ubuilda bridge, goddammit! Whattsa matta you?” I also spent a day in Greenwich, looking at the Thames and climbing around on the Cutty Sark (which means “little shirt”: isn't that lame?), and visiting the National Maritime Museum. LT and I almost got thrown out of there for asking where the interactive Bugger The Cabin Boy exhibit could be found, but can you blame us? How can you expect to talk about 19th-century maritime pursuits without mentioning drunkenness and sodomy? (Come to think of it, how do we manage to talk about anything without mentioning drunkenness and sodomy? Those topics keep coming up no matter what you do. Or maybe that's just me.)
6. My weekend in Brighton. Besides getting to see Elizabeth, I have decided that I adore Brighton. In fact, I have revised my “if I were a millionaire” real-estate fantasy from an apartment in London to an apartment in Brighton instead. It's like my fantasy of melancholy and tubercular me getting to rest by the seaside finally came true this past weekend. Brighton is small but not too small, is a vegetarian paradise, has tons of bookstores and bakeries, and of course, has the sea. I think I could honestly look at the ocean all day long, and I did my level best to do so in Brighton, despite all the other hellaciously interesting and alcohol-intensive things to do my friend had arranged. For a while we sat on the rocky “beach,” and I went briefly insane (as I am wont to do), got out my pen, and proceeded to label as many rocks as I could get my hands on. (See below, or click here for a larger picture.)
I left my site-specific installation on the beach for others to enjoy/puzzle over. Other highlights of Brighton included all the funky little shops in an area rather coyly named The Laines (what is with the English mania for spelling things wrong?), where I saw a sign for an experimental/electronic music store called Click Click Whirly Beep Beep, and couldn't stop laughing for many minutes. I wish I had thought of it first.
But mostly I looked at the sea. If only Chicago had an ocean.
7. Dreaming a lot is an interesting side effect of sleeping eight hours in a row routinely. (I know I keep harping on this but HOLY SHIT PEOPLE. This is cool and I hope I can keep it up.) My favorite dream of the trip was that he, my favorite gadabout, borrowed my cell phone and when he gave it back he said, “I've modified this for you. It is now an electronic multisensory lifestyle device.” My modified cell phone had a new rough grooved surface that felt good on the tongue, played a soothing white-noisy ambient composition at the touch of a button, smelled like a combination of fudge brownies, sandalwood, and lavender (which sounds gross but was really nice), and pulsated gently with different-colored lights when another button was pressed. “This is really amazing,” I said. “Does it still function as a cell phone too?” To which he replied, “Oh. Oops.”
8. Flight back was long and boring and I mostly drank red wine and read Rick Moody. That combination made me really want a cigarette but ha ha joke's on me, there is no outside to step to on a plane. Well, there is. But it doesn't support life very well, and the flight crew get cranky when you try to open those doors. Also, I have a new rule when booking flights. When I call the airline I shall ask: Is there a Christian youth group from Texas, who have never flown on a plane before, on this flight? If the answer is yes I am taking a different goddamned flight. Seriously.
(no number) I don't think I ever mentioned this online, but in addition to all the leaving-for-vacation stress I had trying-to-refinance-the-house-stress last week. We were supposed to have the closing on Monday, my last day of work before I LEFT and of course its Publishing Crunch Week so leaving at 4 pm was kind of a problem, but I go to the closing like a Good Little Thrifty Homeowner. The problem is that we couldn't close, thanks to the asshole idiot broker we'll call Jim Wilson. Jim manages to screw up everything he touches in some large or small way. Today it was in a large way, and apparently (I have to confess I don't understand property taxes the least little bit) it had something to do with the fact that he hadn't done his homework on what this particular title company's escrow policy was, and our situation was further compounded by the fact that my place is a vintage rehab of a rental building and thus is new to the whole condo thing. The long story short was that (a) the title company wanted us to come back the next day, the very day I leave for London and have tons of shit to do, and (b) they needed us to bring 5 grand, which, again, I AM ABOUT TO LEAVE FOR LONDON AND THE TRIP WOULD BE A WHOLE LOT MORE FUN IF I WERE NOT OUT THAT MUCH MONEY. This is not the title company's fault but Jim Wilson's fault, who STILL has not called me to apologize for fucking up by the way. So we wasted a whole bunch of time at the title company to NOT refinance the house, when I could have been packing or working. I am very angry at this dude. LT and I have his business card, which has his stupid smug honky head right on it, and LT and I decided to send it back to him in an envelope with a note that says: Enclosed please find your business card. If it seems a little stiff and crusty, that is because my wife and I took turns peeing on it. No commission for you, moron! Ha!
But enough of bitter. I have had a bath, I don't have to go to work tomorrow (again, shhhh, please don't call my office), I have had a lovely, ocean-gazing vacation, and I don't have a terribly bad Scrabble hand. It's good to be home.
—mimi smartypants is imagining you in a Tyrolean hat.