Monday, April 09, 2012

{part 21}

Olsen Olsen by Sigur Rós on Grooveshark
{parts 12345678, 9 10,  1112 1314, 151617181920}

"you are the happiest-looking couple of people i've seen all day," said the monk.
"thank you," i said. "we are happy." because that was the truth and everything.
"i'm a monk," said the monk, and he was a monk indeed. he had monkish features and a stack of monk books on his arm. he told us about monk life and then he tried to convert us. unfortunately for him, we don't convert easily--we didn't want to be monks.

we ran into him again, four hours later, as we headed down into the tubes to go home. considering the size of london, i'm not convinced he wasn't following us around because, you know, we just look like we'd make fine monks. we just do.


we politely declined his monkly appeals, and headed back down under the streets of london for one last tube run. the people down there were not as polite as the serene monk, and barclay kept one arm securely around my shoulders as we pushed through the herd.


back through the tubes, back into the sun, back into the train station, back onto the train, back to scotland.

in that order, but not all that quick.

we'd been wandering dizzily around the city for about five hours; we'd seen some sights and spent a few dollars on a ring in a charity shop, and that was enough. i'd been feeling a little sick and we were more than ready to go back to edinburgh. we got to the station just a few minutes early, boarded and settled in for a four hour trip on the 250 km/h high-speed train. we'd get back to town at, like, 7:30, and have cheeseburgers. good plan.


unfortunately, good plans and trains both derail when the track breaks.

i mean, our train didn't derail. we just had to sit there for a thousand years while they fixed that rascally track.

a thousand years. i'm not even exaggerating.

i know because the man across the aisle kept slamming his fist down onto his armrest, cussing at the seat in front of him and making phone calls to everyone he knew about the injustice of having to wait a thousand years for them to fix the track. he made a little scene {even though barclay and i were the only ones around to see it}, and then he made calls to his girlfriend, his mom, his friend {tom}, his other friend {we never did hear his name}, and he made a mean face at the speaker when the conductor apologized for the delay, though i'm sure the conductor was neither responsible for the delay nor could he see out of the speaker. all i'm saying is that the mean face was most likely in vain.

but, a thousand years later, the track was fixed and we were on our way again. the delay wouldn't have bothered us, except that by the time we got back to edinburgh at 11:30 pm {as opposed to the 7 pm that we were expecting}, the hotel that our things were at had given our rooms to someone else and we were given our bags and the proverbial "kick to the curb."


at this point, we decided to hike up the road to the bus stop, and see if we could find our way in the darkened city to barclay's uncle's house {he'd told us where the spare key was in case we needed a place to stay in a pinch. and this, i would say, was a pinch. it was quite a walk from the hotel, but we didn't have enough cash on hand to get a taxi that far, and the restaurant with the atm in it was closed. so we set off into the night, each lugging a backpack and a large suitcase and stopping every two minutes to regrip and catch breaths.

almost needless to say, by the time we hit the bus stop an hour later, the night buses had stopped running for the evening. because, you know, of course. i sat on my suitcase and laughed a little. barclay, who felt the weight of responsibility for my safety and comfort a bit more, smiled, but didn't laugh at all. we were lost and i was sick and barclay was tired and it started to rain and it was all that monk's fault, i think.