I wrote a whole entry summing up yesterday and the day before while on the go today. I usually make little notes and save them in a private post so I remember to go back and fill in all the pointless details later. I’m not sure when it went wrong, but I have realized I lost the post. What happened?! Come back! We worked so well together *tears*
Alas, I’ll have to try again another time.
As for today, I met another internet friend. I tell myself every time I say I’ve met an internet friend it is less lame sounding than the time before, but I don’t ever believe it. I don’t care who you are, it sounds lame when you say you have internet friends. There’s a stigma. Regardless, I met my friend. Melisa is from the Netherlands but has lived in the UK previously for school. She’s going to a different school from me, but we met thanks to a Facebook group for an author we both love (Elisa Kova, and the Air Awakens series for the win). She’s very involved in book blogging and young adult authors, and I like to pretend I’m aware of what’s happening in the book world.
I left to meet Melisa and stopped at the Cul De Sac again to grab a coffee/treat. As I was walking up, there was a strange… man (?) standing outside talking to the shop owner. I walked up, sort of paused, and smiled at her. The man turned around and asked me if I’d like to be in his film. He told me I wouldn’t have to talk, or anything. This will always be something that will cause red flags to fly in head. A film? What KIND of film? Also, to give you some perspective, this stranger was wearing a crop top and had fake boobs (I don’t think they were surgically fake, I think it was just a stuffed bra sort of thing) along with what I can only describe as a loin cloth. A very ratty loin cloth that may have been made from scraps of an old jean jacket. So the red flags were rocketing around more so than flying. Full on jet-pack status. The French lady told him to leave me alone (but in a nice way) and ushered me inside. He is apparently a friend of hers. I am sure he is quite nice, but I still was not prepared to be asked to be in some kind of mystery film by a stranger in a loin cloth.
As the French lady was getting me some coffee, she admitted to me she was a little hung over. I think I want to be her best friend. Not because she likes to drink, but because she’s just so nice and open. Unlike some of the others I have run into, she actually wants to have a conversation with me. Even when it involves her admitting something that would usually be considered a topic between friends. It reminds me more of home in that way. I’ve also decided that her favorite colors must be red and black. The two times I’ve gone in there now, she was wearing black pants and a red top. Not like a uniform, though. Just fashionable, casual red and black clothes.
The train was wicked crowded when I went to get on. I tried to take up as little room as possible, but noticed there were two pretty girls that kept looking at me and talking in another language. I thought maybe I was being paranoid, but after a bit I realized there was no way I was imagining things. We were definitely catching eyes. Eventually, one of the girls said she liked my glasses and asked where I got them. My glasses are a big conversation starter. Most of the people who have randomly talked to me here have said something about my glasses. Best purchase ever. Thanks, eye care lady, for convincing me to forsake my black frames. Anyway, the girls were Romanian. They were both blonde, blue-eyed, and incredibly stylish. They told me they were best friends and had been working for two years in London. For now, they do not want to go back home. They’d like to stay in London. They said I should stay here, too. I told them I wasn’t sure that would be a possibility since it is hard to get a job here. They told me I could work at Zara since I’m pretty. I laughed, thanked them, and was very uncomfortable. How do you respond to that? It was nice, and all, but I’ve been in Zara. I don’t really fit in there. For starters, I had my hair in piggy tails today. PIGGY TAILS. What part of that screams, “Hey, I’m stylish and pretty and you should sponsor me so that I can stay in London forever.” None of it. Forget that Zara probably doesn’t do sponsorships anyway. Unless you’re some kind of regional manager, or something. Also, this whole conversation is happening on a crowded train where everyone else can hear. I can only imagine the thoughts of the onlookers.
“If Zara sponsored her to work for them, who else would they sponsor? The man in the loin cloth outside the coffee shop this morning?”
After a handful of train delays, I finally met up with Melisa. We went to Westminster Abbey (but couldn’t go in), Big Ben, Buckingham Palace (missed the changing of the guard, boo), and the Peter Pan statue in Hyde Park. I must admit, the guards outside of Buckingham – the fluffy hatted ones – seem very pointless. I didn’t get to see them up close, but there were two of them marching in sync in opposite directions in front of the doors. They marched approximately ten steps, turned around, marched ten steps back, rinse and repeat.
- What a boring job.
- How do they time it so perfectly?
- What do they think the whole time?
- Are they ever depressed because this is all they do all day? Just walk back and forth and back again?
- Is there more to this job that I’m missing?
If you walk around the corner, the palace has layers of crazy scary fencing (I’m talking barbed wire plus long metal spikes) which I am sure does a better job protecting the royal family than two guys in fluffy hats and red jackets with rifles.
After all this, we wandered around to go to the Hummingbird bakery, which is apparently a big deal here. It was tasty, but it wasn’t “omg, punch your mother for another bite” delicious. Maybe I had the wrong kind of cupcake. Then again, how can salted caramel ever be wrong? The bakery was in Notting Hill, which I have decided I do not care for. Everyone in Notting Hill is fancy. I am homeless looking most of the time, and I feel incredibly out of place and judged when I’m there. To top it off, there was some sort of famous market happening on whatever road we were on. So today it was packed with fancy people.
…And one miserable-looking guy wearing a sign about animal abuse (complete with photos of beat-up farm animals. Brings one thoughts of Sara McLaughlin songs playing in the background), but ignore him.
Melisa and I were thirsty after our cupcakes, so we wandered a bit and stopped by where this guy was making fresh juice and selling it. I didn’t realize we had stopped to get in line. I thought we were just watching him juice while there was a block of people ahead on the sidewalk. Honestly, I didn’t realize where there was a line. I learned at this point, though, that Melisa is not quiet and unassuming as I originally thought. According to her, we were in line. So as soon as juice guy finished up with the current order, she said she wanted an orange juice. This fancy woman on the other side sort of scoffed (maybe scoff is too strong a word. It wasn’t super abrupt and bitchy, but also was not friendly) and said, “Actually, I was next in the queue. I’ve been here awhile.” To which Melisa replied (cordially, but also matter-of-factly), “Oh, yea, I was here. I’ve been here awhile, too.” Ms. Fancy-pants got a bit more uppity, moved to be in front of the table and said, “Hmm. Right, I was here first and I’d like an orange juice.”
I am in the background, very uncomfortable at this point, thinking, “it’s just some damn juice. We will all get some if we pay the man, who cares?” But I don’t like confrontation so I kept those thoughts to myself. There were some other girls on the sidewalk that were there before us, but I didn’t know if they were in line. They had stood somewhat off to the side, so I just assumed they were waiting for someone. I turned around and said, “are you guys in the queue?” And they looked at each other, said no, and walked past Ms. Fancy-pants who said to them, “Apparently us Canadians are just too nice.” She then took her orange juice and wandered off with the other girls, giving us dirty looks.
Meanwhile I’m just trying to figure out if I can melt into the sidewalk where I won’t be forced to deal with awkward situations.
I had forgotten that I was meant to meet up with Marina this evening to go out, so I had to abruptly end Melisa and I’s day around 6:30-ish when we were in search of dinner. We grabbed a quick bite at Wasabi (they had packaged onigiri like Japan!) and then went our separate ways.
Marina invited me out to her friend, Barry’s, going away party. His second one, apparently, because she went to another one for him last weekend. She told me to meet her at a place called “the Slug.” Incredibly tempting sounding, right? I got ready to go and then grabbed an uber from the train station after I realized the next train was not for 20 more minutes, and then I would STILL need to transfer over to another service before arriving. Easier and more timely to just pay the extra for the uber. My uber driver was quite nice and small talked me for awhile. We got on the subject of politics. This is a surprisingly popular topic for people when they find out I am an American. “How do you feel about the upcoming election?” I’m usually pretty honest in my feelings and say, “Well America is done for at this point. If Trump manages to get the presidency he will destroy us.”
Sorry-not-sorry to anyone who is a Trump supporter, but I am not. I’m sure if you know me, you were already aware of my feelings. I don’t understand how such a bigoted asshole with zero political experience managed to get a bid for president. Apparently no one outside of America understands it, either. Multiple foreign people have expressed how worried they are about OUR election. I can’t say I blame them. ANYWAY, NO MORE POLITICS!
I arrived at the Slug (I later found out it is an “Aussie/Kiwi” bar, and so is full of Australians and New Zealanders) and settled in with Marina and her friend, Kaitlin. We got our first round of drinks, and so the night kicked off. I’m not really used to drinking anymore, so I have been pretty careful about pacing myself lately. When I’m out, I drink a lot of water between mixed drinks or beer to try and stay hydrated and cognizant of how much I’m taking in. If undergraduate me had only been so responsible. Sigh, the memories I might have remembered.
In the long run, I was the sober one of the group, and was completely fine with it. I met a lot of Marina’s friends (pretty much all of the ones I met tonight were Irish or Australian. Except Kaitlin who is Canadian) who I have heard of, so it was nice to be able to put faces to everyone. They were… an adventure. More on that soon.
The place was cold at first, but people began filtering in and it grew increasingly hotter. At one point I walked outside and stood in the smoking area just because I needed the breeze. I chatted with an Irish girl who is a nanny for two American families and so LOVES Americans. When I went back in, I was back to dancing and being sweaty. The music was great. Remixes of a few current popular songs, but mainly of old 90s/early 2000 songs. I’m talking Spice Girls, Backstreet Boys, the Macarena, etc. IT WAS AWESOME. At one point, the DJ played a remix of “Country Roads” by John Denver. I was so surprised, but everyone went berserk over it. Apparently Aussies LOVE that song. I have no idea why, but I’m not complaining. I mean, I also love that song. It is downright excellent.
I mentioned that most of Marina’s friends were Irish. They did not look how I expected Irish people to look. Not that I was picturing a group of red-headed, freckled people wearing shamrocks and herding sheep or anything. But some of them looked… like a super white version of Jersey Shore. I am not sure how else to explain it. One guy, whose name I never got, had this kind of curly mullet-hawk going on. He and his friend, Eamonn, wore button up shirts that were unbuttoned enough to where you could see their short, silver-chain necklaces showing. They were an absolute blast, though. Don’t get me wrong. Just not what I expected as far as looks.
Barry, the friend who is going away, was always dancing. Actually, pretty much the whole group was always dancing. But Barry wanted to dance WITH people. That’s fine, I like to dance with people sometimes. However, usually I like dancing near people in a group. That way we can all sort of flail around in our own way and not ruin anyone else’s groove. I was a good sport and danced with Barry, though. He was fun with how he danced; he wanted to do twirls and stuff, but it is hard to do stuff like that when you don’t really know what’s happening (are there steps I’m following? Is he leading? Am I? Are we just twirling constantly and sometimes dipping? Because that’s what it felt like).
Every now and then, Barry would pull me toward him and a hand (or both) would drift a bit low. I assumed he was just drunk and not paying attention. He didn’t seem like he would be overly grabby or anything. I may have also been profiling again. Barry looked…well, to be blunt, like a nerd. Nerds don’t usually get grabby. ONCE AGAIN MEG NEEDS TO NOT ASSUME. We were dancing to the ever popular “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” by the one and only Whitney Houston and had gotten to the line where it says, “with somebody who loves me” when Barry suddenly grabbed my face and kissed me. On the mouth. With his mouth. It wasn’t a make-out session. It was just a close-mouthed…peck? Only longer than most pecks are. I don’t know how to explain it, but I was definitely not expecting it. Afterward, all I could do was laugh. “Ha ha, that Barry… You’re crazy!” I thought that was it. I thought wrong. He said something about kissing me again, and I just laughed it off and said, “No, no. My lipstick will get messed up.” That’s a non hurtful way to say no, I thought. And also a quality reason. My lipstick was on point and I didn’t feel like dealing with it getting everywhere.
Despite me saying that, he tried to kiss me a few minutes later and my body reacted automatically, with my hands coming up and blocking his mouth. So he kissed my hands while looking me in the eye as if he was kissing my real mouth. It was in this moment I thought, “Hmm…maybe Barry isn’t as innocent as I assumed.” I was sweaty and wanted another drink, so I exited stage left and sort of dodged Barry for a bit. I felt rude turning him down when he asked me to dance (when I say “ask,” I mean he just sort of stood there with his hands out looking at me with puppy-dog eyes. I took to purposely not looking in his direction so I wouldn’t have to feel bad). After some time had passed, I came back into the group and smiled at Barry, who then reached out and grabbed my boobs.
That’s right. You read correctly. He didn’t even do it in a seductive way. There was no warning, no hint of any kind that it might happen. He just suddenly reached out and grabbed ’em. It was almost the same sort of action as someone reaching out and patting your shoulders. Seems thoughtless and innocent. Except it was my boobs and not my shoulders. So I squeaked, smacked his hands away, and wandered to the other side of the group. I later said something to Marina and she said, “Oh yea, that’s just Barry. He does stuff like that all the time.” WELL THANK YOU FOR THE WARNING! Here I am thinking he’s some shy, nerdy dude who just wanted to spin girls in circles on the dance floor. Despite all this, I still liked Barry well enough. He was funny. I will just stand further away from him in the future. I’d also like to take this time to point out that this technically counts as my first physical encounter with the opposite sex in the UK. I had pictured a sweet first kiss after a wonderful coffee date, but I guess this is close enough. Almost the same thing, right? Right.
I waited on a bus with Kaitlin since she was very drunk, and I was worried. The bus was on my route, too, so I rode it with her to her stop, then called an uber to take me the rest of the way home. While we were waiting for the uber, this group of guys wandered past Kaitlin and I and one of them made this weird noise (sort of like the “Aaarrrrriiibaaa!” sound) and grabbed Kaitlin’s butt. Understandably, she was mad. And so expressed herself in a rather more polite way than I would have if I were drunk. It was so weird, though, because there probably were five guys, and they all looked no older than fifteen. The one who grabbed her could have been twelve. Two of the boys apologized, so I said thank you, and then turned around because that generally signals a dismissal. After about two minutes, they all came back and the grabby boy was rude AGAIN. I can’t remember what he did, but I was more than annoyed at that point and told him (sorry, pardon my french) to fuck off. When his friends tried to say something this time, I told them I didn’t care and to “shoo.” As they were walking away, the grabby boy shouted, “suck my dick” (truly, what a class act he was) at the same time a different guy was coming around the corner. New guy looked like he was struck by lightning when he heard what the boy said. He sort of jolted/froze, looked over his shoulder at them, and then looked back at us. I made eye contact with him, and I guess he saw something, because he came and stood by us and asked if we were okay. The boys still hadn’t quite gone out of sight, so I asked him if he could just stand with us for a bit, and he did. He was very nice and told us his name was Ben, and he had lived in California for awhile. He also told us about the bar he had gone to which has video games you can play. It is definitely a place I will be checking out. He wished us goodnight, then went on his way. No harm done. I liked Ben quite well.
There was more that happened as far as my first big night out, but those are the high (or in some cases, maybe low) points.
At least my Saturday wasn’t boring.