Or not. July 4 is coming, after all.
A week ago Monday night (12 days ago? maybe) I wrote this:
Wish granters come tomorrow night to give us R’s “wish package.” Supposedly we will then find out what, precisely, it is we’re doing in London. We will then have six days, assuming you include Shabbos, to prepare our family of seven for a ten-day overseas trip. Know what I discovered? It’s generally in the mid-60s in London. That doesn’t complicate packing at all. And if you don’t realize that was sarcastic, and if you don’t understand why it was sarcastic, then to paraphrase Dave Barry, you are, no offense, probably a male.
My son finished three-year-old nursery. My twins are about to finish fourth grade. My first-born is about to finish fifth grade. I am about to finish editing the Holocaust memoir. Maybe. Do you know how bad the cover design tool on this website is? So bad I can’t even describe it.
ST likes to march back and forth across my backyard, over and over and over again. Then she likes to stop and wave at the empty spot where last week, she saw Bailey the doggie standing. Last week she waved at him. Today he wasn’t there so she waved at his ghost. He’s not dead, though. He was just not there.
My son made me not one, but TWO beaded necklaces. I’m supposed to wear them both all the time, except when I sleep, and I’m only supposed to wear one of them in the shower, because the other one is not supposed to get wet. Indeed, I wore them both all day. I don’t know if he’s going to be pleased if I don’t wear them to work tomorrow. Maybe I just will.
It’s going to be 97 degrees on Wednesday. Seriously?? Can we go to London now?
Ok, that’s the end of what I wrote then. Guess where I am now? Go on, guess. LONDON!!! God save our gracious queen!! Should that be capitalized? As in, God save our gracious Queen? Technically I think it shouldn’t be, because it doesn’t say “God save our gracious Queen Elizabeth II,” but maybe it should be anyway, because it’s not like we don’t know to whom we’re referring. Who knows. Point is: London!!! Know what this place is? Crowded. And dirty. And also? Old. I mean it’s not like it feels old, because it is packed tight with large steel and glass buildings and cars (driving on the wrong side of the road — weird), but it’s also packed tight with random statues of random people/mythical figures, and giant stone-like buildings with tons of pointy towers and reliefs (that’s what they’re called, right?) and statues stuck all over them, and that part does feel old. Cool, too. Also, the place seems to have no rhyme or reason when it comes to urban planning. Maybe I’m wrong, and definitely I don’t have the knowledge or vocabulary to talk about this in any manner that resembles intelligent, but unlike glorious Manhattan (ha), whose streets were designed on a grid, at least outside that frightening surreal portion whose name “Manhattan” is preceded by “lower,” London appears to have not been designed at all. I get the sense of a whole lot of buildings — a LOT of buildings — having been built at whatever random place a person saw some empty ground, and then when the building was finished, the person looked around and said “Hmm, now we need to get some sort of road put in front of this building.” Seriously, the buildings all face different directions, there are teeny crisscrossing roads and alleyways and gigantic multi-lane streets spewing cars all over the place where you least expect it, and it is SO crowded. But not congested, really. Hard to explain. And for all I know I’m doing a lousy job attempting to describe something that everyone already knows, as if I’m the first person in the world to have discovered it, like if someone visited Israel and said “You know what? There are a lot of hills around here.” But still, this isn’t something I necessarily knew about London before. Also, there’s this gigantic river that sort of slices right through the place, and there are tons of bridges (none falling down, though! hahaha!!) and boats (mostly tour boats, near as I could tell) and TONS of people, only a few of whom are speaking English, and many, many of whom appear to have come from countries that have a fairly monolithic wardrobe for women, if you get my drift. Heh. And there are so many shades of color. Not in the wardrobes; I mean, on people. It seriously feels like every corner of the earth is represented in London, much more so than in New York, at least to my eyes. I’m not sure I really appreciated how many different shades the good Lord applied when creating this wondrous human race.
Hey, I just shared my original lack-of-urban-planning observation with G, and he said “Well sure, it’s an ancient city,” and then he qualified “ancient” with something or other, and then HE made the comparison to lower Manhattan, as though HE were the one who thought of it. Feh. He also said he thinks the roads developed organically, and that the buildings followed, and as such are stuck everywhere there happened to have been space. Right, so it’s like I figured. Though not like what I wrote above, because that didn’t necessarily describe what I actually figured. Ok then.
So, the exciting thing is that I’m working on a loooooooooooong play-by-play of every single thing that’s happened since we left our home last Monday afternoon. So you’ll get that, eventually, maybe, assuming I can catch up to myself and it doesn’t drag on indefinitely, which it might. But in the meantime, here’s the short list of what we’ve done:
- Platform 9¾
- Trafalgar Square
- Bus tour
- Boat ride
- London Aquarium (which is not called the London Aquarium, but who cares)
- Madame Tussaud’s
- Shabbos in Golders Green
- Ridden the Underground (a lot)
- Eaten kosher sandwiches purchased at King’s Cross St. Pancras
- Eaten a gigantic, ridiculously delicious, ridiculously fun, absurdly expensive (but we aren’t paying for it!) meal at a lovely restaurant
- Lost my phone. Craig, we can chat about this later. Heh.
In addition to what I described above, here are some more general things I’ve observed about London these last five days:
- The toilets have, like, no water.
- The toilets are, like, impossible to flush.
- The signs that intend to indicate restrooms say “Toilets” instead of “Restrooms.”
- The Underground is not air-conditioned, though the stations generally are.
- The hotels do not have clocks.
- The weather is weird and unpredictable.
- There’s a queen.
- The Olympics are apparently going to take place here shortly.
- Wimbledon is apparently taking place here now, unless it’s concluded, in which case Wimbledon was taking place here until just now.
Ok then. Hey, I said that already. So, since Shabbos here in England is over absurdly late, it’s now absurdly late, though in NY it’s only 7:27 PM, which I know because the clock on my computer — the only way I have to tell time at present, since I lost my phone and the hotel rooms here do not have clocks — says so. So, shavua tov, and if you’re good I’ll fill you in on everything else some other time.