Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Idle Hands.

I made it in to London last night, after a two hour train ride through central Western Germany.

There was a kid on the train, sitting right over from me, who I was pretty convinced was developmentally challenged from the way that he was talking... somehow I started to wonder whether he was actually "tetched" or just playing. It took me forty-five minutes to figure that he wasn't retarded, he was just an idiot. An idiot who didn't know that "taking a joke too far" happens in less than five minutes, generally. That, and the local accent in German can have flavors that make people sound a little like their minds are not in mint condition exactly.

Short flight, blah blah blah. There was a gentleman waiting next to me at the airport who did have the strangest named office staff I can imagine, he was on the phone, and kept referring to two employees, Aryan and Loy. What do I know, but they seemed like peculiar choices for the bouncing baby with which you've just been presented.

I do know that if Aryan fucks up the travel arrangements again, he's going to get fired. Just saying pal, if you're ever one of my hypothetical readers... consider yourself lucky you shaped up, or barring that just know that I would have contacted you directly if I had only known how. Sorry, or congratulations depending on how you played that one.

Got to London, got of the Underground, humped my bags over here, and no one answered the door at my sister's place. Puzzled, I dragged my stuff back over to the local main drag, but not before doing a credible impression of a canny burglar, casing the place for future robbing/burgling. The people at the bus stop down the road seemed to take note as I casually rang the bell a few times, then backed up into the street, smoking and cautiously looking in all the windows I could. Upon arrival, I dialed the cell number for my sister, and had her pick up and not hear me, a good three or four times. Friendly Local Dude informed me that it takes "At least two quid to get a call through to a cell phone from a call box."

Now, I don't expect everyone to be an FX trader here, but that's right about FOUR BUCKS for a few moments of blissful communication.

Got back to the phone, and it was ringing (thank's UK, for not trying to put old-school pager wearing drug dealers out of business! Good job, and I do appreciate it), which turned out to be my sister, who was home, but had a doorbell even more lamentable for the conditions at hand than Tigger and I have at home. We've finally reverted to installing a wireless, plug in jobbie, but it does us no good when the battery runs out, as it recently has.

Part of why I'm up, despite my sister and my brother-in-law already having been abed a good three hours ago, is that I'm waiting to give Tigger a ring, she's had a really rough day today, and is tired out from having been immersed in gutting and hacking away at our kitchen, which has risen resplendent from the dead in vibrant color and with magnificent new door pulls. The thanks of a grateful nation goes out to you, sweetie, thanks...

I spent the day helping out with nephew, who I feel has led me to believe that not necessarily all children will inevitably be terrified of me, even if that only leaves the ones related to me by blood it's a pretty damn nice feeling of relief.

I've changed more than two and less than ten diapers, and while it's not exactly a picnic in the park with all of your long-dead literary and musical heroes on a beautiful day, it's not the end of the world either. He just seems to enjoy any excuse to air out the dirty bits, and is relatively happy while I swipe away with moist towelettes at the nast that he seems determined to swipe his heels through a few times for good measure, and then roll over onto his stomach...

Then, forgive me for saying it, but there come the moments that arrived later, where he lay on his mat, with things to engage his developing mind strewn around him, not quite crying (as I've been told, I haven't seen nothing yet, so to speak, and he's only been a little peeved at the very worst) racking my brain for what he might be needing or missing. I was literally reduced to lightly banging my forehead on the kitchen table a few times to clear the fog before just deciding that it was all for the best, and nothing seemed amiss.

I'm reminded of something a friend of the family said over the weekend:
"When I had my first kid, whenever they cried I thought something terrible had happened. With the second, I just figured 'The kid's crying, the kid's still alive.'"

As a second child myself, I find this idea is slightly chilling. As a person who spent an hour sitting with a baby who was just "losing the plot" as my sister puts it, it seemed like the most understandable and measured way of approaching things possible.

So, I'm killing time, internetting myself furiously, and tragically as always happens when I'm mindlessly tapping away at the interweb with no specific direction in mind, I'm shopping for bikes. I doubt I'll buy one, and Tigger will no doubt have a minor attack of hyperventilation at the idea of another metal stack of disorganization in the apartment... so rest assured, it's just the same dumb window shopping as always happens.

Why is it that the more expensive the item, the more "awesome" any discount seems? (Hey! These wheels were originally $1400! They're on sale for $779, AND there's another 20% off!) I am perfectly aware that it's stupid, and wheels that cost more than I paid for my current nicer bike are certainly silly.

But they do weigh like a whole pound less than the alternative, and they have a fancy single red spoke to tell the rest of the world what an over-moneyed tool you are! Right ON!

Tomorrow, I have the whole morning to take care of the little nephew while meetings are attended, and whatever else is going which now requires my attention to this matter. I'm not worrying about not seeing much of the city on this trip, I've been enough before that it's the whole family members new and old bonding thing that I'm happy about.

I will however probably be in the pub tomorrow night.

The pub, one of the singular, wonderful things about England... not the down-at-the-heels thing that you get in the kind of rotten bars I like at home, but you can still relax in peace and quiet with a book, get a few fantastic hand-pulled pints for the closest thing to a bargain there still is for an American in the UK (2.90 UK Pounds for a great beer is a decent shake, to my mind... maybe it's just being a routinely ripped off New Yorker or whatever.) It's a great pleasure, and one I indulged in after everyone here went to sleep early last night as well.

So, it's about the time to sign off and make a call home to see what's what in stunningly cold New York with the things and people I miss most of all.

I also miss Tivo. Sorry... I should be happy and full of life at not having watched television since last Wednesday, but I'm just not. Shameful it is, but there you have it. I will flab my ass down on the couch and start catching up on ALL the guilty pleasures of a missed almost two weeks the moment I get home. I think I may conceivably suffer an overdose... but that's what it takes to keep up with the culture sometimes.

"The letter with the foreign postmark that tells of good weather, pleasant food and comfortable accomodation isn't nearly as much fun to read, or to write, as the letter that tells of rotting chalets, dysentery and drizzle." --Martin Amis (London Fields)

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