Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Tranny of Trafalgar

 London was a blur of red phone booths, Union Jack umbrella stands, Double-Decker buses, twisted sites, luxury brownstones, famous birthplaces, and shouting matches in pubs.  Hung out in the doorway watching rain pellets drop and hunched down in theater back rows for musicals and performances in awe.  Got stuck in a Gay Pride parade in SoHo and sat out the melee staring out the window at the freaks on display.  Laid my head against the glass and paid the cabbie to keep driving, took the city by storm.
 Spoke to a nice couple from Manchester about our elections.  They said Obama didn't deserve us... which threw me as I had no idea what they meant.  This was the same week David Cameron left his daughter in a pub by mistake.  Chatted with an elderly man along Savile Row who spoke of wool and silk as if it were his master.  Laid all my coins upon a West End booth table and was given a crash course in Pound Sterling by an incomprehensible and vile self-anointed Hooligan from Devonshire who learned me in "quid" and "pence" and mocked me when I inquired about the "shilling," muttering, "Na 'ince da days of Charlie Dickens 'ave I gentleman ha two of them bobs in 'is pocket."
 It rained mostly, and when it rains in London nothing stops so you go underground.  London is a place full of tunnels and turn arounds, dim lit pubs and ornate lobbies.  It never stops.  It never ends.  It's not like New York which can suffocate you just before opening into the most brilliant of human moments.  Not like Shanghai or Tokyo whose sites and sounds send alarms and shivers up your spine.  No, London breathes and is always new.
One of the best moments I had running around the city was in Trafalgar Square.  A man approached me wearing heavy eye shadow and lipstick, his dress badly torn and handbag tattered in the rain.  He noticed me standing in the doorway and asked for a cigarette, but when I explained I didn't smoke his eyes lit up.  "A yank are ya?  I adore Americans."
I stood there grinning.  "Don't get too smug 'if yaself." His effeminate voice dropped.  "You yanks are last weeks nickers.  It's the year of the Londoner." He clicked his heels together.  "Now sod off!"  He winked and stepped out into the rain leaving me with a devilish grin.

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