Wednesday, March 03, 2004
London, Part One
You know those mornings when you wake up after a night of partying super hard, and you're hungover as a mother fucker, and you feel like your brain is bleeding? And you look around, and you have no idea how left the bar, got home, and got into your bed? Or why you're wearing a Hawaiian shirt (which you don't own), argyle socks, and no pants? Or why you find in your bed an earring, a fake nail, and a band aid? Or why you have eleven missed calls from your friends from between the hours of 3am and 5am?
That's kinda how I felt when I got on the plane to head back to the States Monday. Sure, maybe it's because it was the first time I had stopped drinking since Thursday afternoon, when I showed up at the hotel with a six-pack of Carling. And sure, it could be because I took a Xanax and an Ambien before I got on the plane, but you know what? I'm not a doctor, so I'm really not qualified to make that call.
The easiest way to talk about this trip is to divide it into two parts: Thursday & Friday today, and Saturday & Sunday tomorrow. I would have done it all in one shot, but there's that whole "work" thing that I have to take care. Dudes keep asking me for shit like "summaries" and "drafts" and I'm like, "Yeah, I'm working on it now," but they never believe me ever since that time three weeks ago they found me under my desk smoking a cigarette with my shirt off. A man's gotta relax sometimes. Fucking narcs.
Some background is needed first. I went to London with David and Jimmy, my two friends from Philly. They flew out of Philly, while I flew out of NYC. My brother Dennis was other there as well, in from Seville where he is studying abroad, to visit his college friends, some of whom are studying in London, some of whom came over to London for Spring Break.
When I arrived at the hotel, Jimmy and David were already there. We were all jet-lagged as mother fuckers, especially yours truly, as I spent the whole time wondering if my blood was clotting properly and trying to ward off an embolism. I studied abroad in London, so I'm familiar with the area, while David and Jimmy had never been there before. We decided to head to Piccadilly Circus to grab an early dinner and, unbeknownst to us at the time, about eleven bottles of wine.
There are some women who are so beautiful that they are literally disarming. When they speak to you, it takes a full two or three seconds for you to gain your composure before replying. We meet these women rarely, but on that night we meet one in the form of our waitress at the restaurant.
I've thought about this for a while, and I don't have the words to describe how gorgeous she was, so I won't try. I will say that she was tall, with dark hair and a dark complexion, but with light blue eyes, and a body so sick that when God made it he said to himself, "Nice dude - nice" and high-fived everyone around him and then he went and got high. All this, and an exotic, mad sexy accent to boot.
So David, Jimmy and I got drunk. Stinking, stinking drunk. So drunk that we thought that she was very interested in us, rather than our tips. It was all harmless enough, until this exchange:
David: "I don't mean to bother you, but we can't place that accent and we were wondering, where are you from?"
Waitress: [being super hot] "Brazil."
Me: [very slowly, and way louder and creepier than I should have been] "Oh my god."
That chased her away right quick. The rest is kinda fuzzy, but the end result was that we were asked to leave.
Alright, that was a lie. It's not fuzzy. David, the drunkest of us, cornered her by the bathroom and said she was the most beautiful girl he had ever seen in his life and asked if she might be willing to show us around London when she got off work. I thought, and still think, that this is not a big deal, but then again, this is a guy who once told a girl he met over the internet that he loved her and has loved her since the first time they emailed as a last ditch attempt to get in her pants [the best part is that when I told her that, she said, "I know" - how can you know something I just made up in order to get you to sleep with me?]
But apparently, what David did was against restaurant policy or something. Some goon came over and asked us to leave, I broke a wine glass, Jimmy screamed "fuck" or some variation of "fuck" about twenty times, and we were back in Piccadilly Circus. With the jet-lag and the wine ganging up on us (and winning - big time), we decided to call it a night. A pretty tame night, by far the tamest of the four.
We did touristy stuff on Friday, which I don't need to get into. My friends and I weren't really into that too much, and Jimmy summed it up best when he said while we were touring the Tower of London, "I can think of a better way to spend £13 - a cheeseburger and a lap dance."
My brother arrived Friday evening, and the shit-show began. My brother is a lot like me, only thinner and less sketchy. And his friends are a lot like mine: drunks with bad attitudes who are very uncomfortable talking to women. I'm not sure if because they are impotent like my friends, but I would probably guess they were.
All of us basically bellied up to the bar and put on an old-fashioned clinic. I think after while we even stopped talking to each other so that we could speed up the drinking: seven guys sitting on bar stools, breaking the silence only to say "I'll have another" or "You want another?" or "I gotta piss - fives".
We left the pub and headed to a club. I'm not a club guy usually: the lines for drinks are too long, it's too loud, and most of the people at them are tools. But if the mood hits me, well, fathers - lock up your daughters.
And in this case, it did. There are a few songs that when played at a club make me simply lose it, like "Don't Stop to You Get Enough" or "Billy Jean" by Michael [insert pedophile joke here] Jackson, or that Snoop/Pharell song "Beautiful." And let me tell you, the hits were playing that night. We were all out the dance floor doing it up. I know I thought that I looked pretty f'ing sexy to all the ladies out there, but they probably thought I was just some big gay guy having way too much fun.
My confidence (read: drunkenness) allowed me to tap into my arsenal of lines (which we'll have to have a separate post about). I spotted an Asian girl from across the floor who I thought was checking me out, so I decided to approach her. For some reason, I thought I would impress her with my knowledge of Asian culture and my gift of being able to differentiate between Asian ethnicities, so my killer line was, "You're the most beautiful Japanese girl I've ever seen." She replied, "I'm Korean." I stumbled for a second, regained my composure, and said, "You're the most beautiful Korean girl I've ever seen." She was silent for a second or two, looking at me in disbelief. To fill the silence, I offered, "My aunt is Japanese." She walked away.
Just when I think I finally know what women want, this goes and happens. Back to the drawing board.
After we left the club and were trying to get a cab home, Jimmy broke his thumb. Sorry, he didn't break it, he sprained it. He was outside doing some weird drunk karate kicks in the air, and wound up kicking himself in the thumb. I wish I could explain this better, and I wish even more that I had seen it. He didn't feel anything at the time, but the next morning we took him to a clinic near the hotel, and he sure enough sprained, thus catapulting him to the #1 spot on stupid drunken injuries: spraining your thumb while doing karate kicks in the air. I feel pretty safe that that won't ever happen to me, as when I kick I can't get my foot higher than my knee.
[In tomorrow's exciting conclusion, our protagonist follows up the greatest karaoke performance of all time with some love, and nearly gets in a fist-fight with some local chaps...]