I am sitting in the lobby of my hotel. It is beautiful, of course, with a huge chandelier and a dramatic staircase. Wealthy people mill about, layered and posturing, wandering from the dining room to the bar to the street. There is the soft gallop of expensive men’s shoes and the anxious tick of high heels on marble. A fire is blazing and I sit underdressed in a leather chair, thinking of love.
I hear the unmistakable twang of a drunken American accent. I wonder if the English feel as crowded by their own countrymen when they visit the states as I do here, in London. I see and hear us everywhere—not embarrassingly, not unassimilated, but unambiguously American as we ask for the bill and say things like, “proper” and “quid” and “knackered”.
I had a quiet night last night: I ordered up a fancy sandwich and went for a run in the gym. Vicki (Surely my three readers are familiar, by now, with dear Vick) was in the neighborhood with her friend Paddy, and his wife. I met them for a drink in the hotel bar. I came, as I said, having just worked out, and I felt young and healthy and American. If my mood had a soundtrack it would have been a Beach Boys song about a car. Vicki and crew, conversely, were approaching the end of a long night of unbridled debauchery. Vicki was so drunk that she put her cigarette out in a bowl of nuts. Paddy decided that my being American was both sad and hilarious, and that nothing is funnier than the way I say, “Europe”. His wife was quite embarrassed. She pulled Paddy from the bar, but not before making him apologize to me for being an arse. I felt like I was Paddy’s kindergarten teacher and I had just caught him writing unpleasant things about me on the underside of the slide.
In other words, what a fun night!
That’s what I get for going sober to a drunk event. I’m old enough to know better.
I awoke this morning to utter darkness. The power had gone out in the whole hotel and I felt like I was in the Blitz. I kept listening for bomb sirens and “The Andrews Sisters”.
They’ve put more wood in the fire now. I wish I still smoked. Then I could sit here with a cigar and scandalize the other guests.
Gregory comes on Saturday night and I am sick with anticipation. Time seems to be dragging its feet like a petulant child. I do hope the huge pimple on my forehead goes away before Greg arrives.
What am I, fourteen?!