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iTourist

    The Bay Area Brit returns! No, that’s no good. The Bay Area Brit—this time it’s personal. Scratch that. Jeez, I thought this would be easier. I’ll name it later. I’m returning to a country that I have glorified and mocked in equal measure. How will I be received? Will anyone care?

                        “You can’t go home again.” – Thomas Wolfe

     And that was when it hit me: I should have ordered the pasta. Oh, sorry, I’m still on a plane on the way to London, and every co-passenger with keen vision can get a preview of my ramblings, I mean witty prose. Or something.

      I suppose when this two-week trip is done and dusted I will look back upon my sojourn wistfully. I anticipate moments of great joy, tears, and reflection with my family. I will also be a tourist. I will be flooded with memories, as I remember both good and tough times in my old Bayswater neighborhood in West London. I’ll also briefly forget why I moved away all those years ago.

     When traveling back to a place that you were once so familiar with, you ask yourself some of the daftest questions: “I wonder if Ali still works at that little market across the street from where I used to live 30 years ago?”

                                               Am I insane?

     Of course he doesn’t, and if he does, I think my eyes would look upon him with such poorly disguised pity that it would just be better altogether if I didn’t go in there. But maybe I’ll have a quick peek; maybe the new guy will know what became of Ali. No, no, forget Ali.

      Visitors to London used to say things like, “Can you believe that this building is over a thousand years old?” Now tourists say things like, “This is the house where Colin Firth punched Hugh Grant in the face for being such a wiener. Can you simulate punching my face? Or, better still, actually punch my face so I can get a great selfie with a black eye.”

NottingHill

        Sorry, Houses of Parliament, St. Paul’s Cathedral, and Tower of London, you had your day. Now, throngs of young people pose in front of the bookshop featured in the film “Notting Hill.” And yes, I’m sure Colin Firth punches Hugh Grant in the face in that film too. I’m pretty sure that people would flock to see any film that has Colin Firth punching Hugh Grant in the face.

      We live in the age of instant gratification. Social Media rules our daily lives. I discovered that although a lot of the museums have wi-fi, they block websites like Facebook and Twitter.

       iTourist is thwarted and not happy. “Screw you. If I’m spending $80 to see the goddamned Crown Jewels in the goddamned Tower of London, I want to send picture-proof to all my homies that I was actually there. Here’s a selfie with Queen Victoria’s crown on my head.”

      There are about 50 uniformed adults that, albeit politely, will tell you that you cannot photograph the Crown Jewels, wear Richard the Lionheart’s suit of armor, or pose with your head inches below the blade of Henry the VIII’s trusty, head-removing axe of choice. So the iTourist says, “Well, then, you can kiss MY Crown Jewels, London.”

      The glossy, black front door at 221b Baker Street stands soberly in the background as hundreds of people take pics of themselves—for free. And you know what? There’s not one single person there to stop the iTourist from knocking on the door, or ringing the doorbell, leaving a steaming poop in a flaming paper bag and running away, or, heaven forbid, breaking into Sherlock Holmes’ digs, only to be massively disappointed that Benedict Cumberbatch isn’t serenading Martin Freeman with a violin.

221B

        This is the new London and this is the new tourist. iPhone poised, ready to document every thing they see through their camera lens.

        London is a pulsating, vibrant energy as big and exciting as New York City and just as unpredictable. London was broken when I left and it has been fixed. I mean seriously, central London effortlessly hums along. For a brief time at the beginning of August, it felt like home again. The home I might have never left.

      When Thomas Wolfe wrote, “You can never go home again” he was wrong (unless you once lived on Alderaan, because, spoiler alert, The Death Star blew that planet up.) However, whether the home you remember (or want) is the same, well that’s another matter. The main thing is that no matter what the future holds for London in the next few years, it seems for now, tourists are pretty happy that Hugh Grant is getting punched in the face.

Sent from my iPad

 :-p

 

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Strip Off! It’s World Naked Gardening Day

     There are things you learn on this journey of life that make you say to yourself. “Wow. That can’t be right.” For example: Today is “World Naked Gardening Day.”

I know. It must be some sort of typo, right?

    Pretty odd, but a less disturbing celebration than, “World Naked Iron Girder Welding Day” and arguably a more popular event than, “World Naked Slithering Over Shards Of Glass And Rusted Barbed Wire Day.”

    I’m assuming all of these special days are slightly less celebrated than say Christmas or a Birthday.

 Here are some gardening instruments:

      The tools, although loosely based on primitive man’s first efforts to till the soil, also closely resemble devices of torture utilized in a Medieval Spanish dungeon.

       So why, oh why would you have these implements of injury anywhere near you while you are naked? It’s bad enough that roses have thorns, but have you ever seen or held a pair of pruning shears? I mean, seriously!

        Exposing your body to the dangers of Medieval weaponry and thorny plants is bad enough, but for good measure, let’s throw in the possibility of being stung on your naughty bits by a bee, or bitten by a few mosquitoes. There isn’t an insect repellent in the world that could be strong enough to make me mow the lawn wearing nothing but a cheerful smile. You think a bug spray called “OFF” is going to cut it?

        I don’t think so.

        My bug spray of choice would have to be called “Insect Restraining Order,” or “Get The Fuck OFF Of Me!”

        So just why would anyone want to garden whilst naked? To me, this whole thing stinks of hippies wanting to get in touch with nature: Naked men and women with hair down to their bare asses showing off the kind of hideously under-groomed bodies similar to those depicted in the 1970s illustrated editions of “The Joy Of Sex.”

       I’m just wondering, do these hairy horticulturists wear gardening gloves?

        Yeah, hippy, for Christ’s sake, be sure to glove and protect those precious green thumbs. Oh, and while you’re pruning the roses don’t forget to trim that bush.

        Ugh!

         And if a talented gardener has “green thumbs” what does a talented naked gardener possess? Surely something that sounds like a dose of penicillin or a biotic (of the anti variety) might be in order. Or is modern medicine a second-rate tonic? Can’t we just go all Medieval and use a weed whacker?

          Here’s a legitimate question: How does one go about getting your own day in which everyone celebrates YOU? I mean, come on, “World Naked Gardening Day???”

          How long will it be before there is finally a “World Bay Area Brit Day?”

          And on what day should that fall?

          I mean, I wouldn’t want “World Bay Area Brit Day” on my birthday, that would be like having your birthday on Christmas Day. (Which must have been a really tough break for Jesus. Of all the dumb luck, the Son of God, born on Christmas Day: A lifetime of getting cheated lay ahead.)

          “Well, little Jesus, this wooden mule toy is for both your birthday AND Christmas.”

          Of course the three wise men, had all the angles covered:

          “This gift of gold is for your birthday. This is frankincense, you know, for Christmas, and then this right here is Myrhh, a balm made from the Commiphora Myrhha plant—a thorny piece of nastiness that probably gave Adam and Eve some seriously painful puncture wounds while they were cavorting around in the Garden of Eden like a couple of hairy hippies.”

Happy World Naked Gardening Day!!!!