Sunday, December 1, 2013

The 51st shade of gray

When Black Friday starts on Thursday it is actually a retrograde shade...right?

It has been awhile since I have posted because I have been traveling to London, Edinburgh (burra) and Dublin.  There were maybe two or three days of actual sunshine on the journey but this post is not about my travel log so much as the very subtle changes that occurred in my life as I traversed the Atlantic Ocean in search of all things Anglican, Gaelic and Pagan.  I only brushed the surface of each of these cultures and many more (thanks to the British and Scottish Museums).  But lest...totally an old English phrase which comes easily since I am thinking in that language right now...dear reader you think I have become a high and mighty student of the world, fear not because the best parts of the trip involved the three stooges antics of my traveling companions.  Here are a few examples:

1) Before the trip commenced my niece was detained at the airport since the cleaner she uses to wash her hands at work contained high levels of nitrates.  As her mother looked on in horror she continued to provide the agents with more information than they could possibly process.  Her sister and myself  evaded the eye of the female agent who found no contraband after a thorough pat down that most likely resulted in the agent sneaking away for a post-frisk cigarette.  Eyes downcast we all timidly avoided the other passengers as we headed to our gate. 

2) Londoners like New Yorkers are a hardened lot wrapped up in trench coats and scarves as they scurry through the city streets. So imagine our surprise when we caught the attention of a subway car full of city dwellers on their way to home and work.  Since we were traveling in a pack of four it was imperative that all of us follow the one with the map, which was me.  We hopped on and off the tube to the lovely ladylike voice of the mechanical woman reminding us to "mind the gap."  On one such trip as we steadied ourselves in the middle of the train, my niece and I both decided to stand up and let my sister have our seat. Our innately clumsy natures were in perfect concert as we all three managed to list when the train started, falling onto our fellow passengers.  The man next to me discreetly removed his hand from my butt, and I thanked him for his assistance...perhaps not the best use of a verb.  Then the twittering, chuckling and full blown laughter commenced.  At our departure one man in his refined British accent commented, "We hate to see the entertainment leave."

3) I am pretty sure there is not a ladies room, powder room or lavatory in any of the cities that we did not visit.  It was amazing and a bit disturbing to me that there are no fans in the washrooms.  There was no heat or TV in the room in Scotland so my niece read me the history of the country for two nights before we went to bed.  The city of Edinburgh was by far my favorite and I love that school children learn about their city by leaving their classrooms to join us in the castles and museums.  I did feel sheepish however asking the sweet young girls how to turn on the faucets and the hand dryers in the bathrooms.  Although I considered it a wiser course than waving my hands in front of the stationary towel rack.

4)  In Dublin we took a lovely tour on a bus with a woman I thought was named Iona, but my sister swears was Avril or something like that.  She was very neatly attired and spoke in a lyrical Irish brogue.  On the last stop my sister, nieces and myself had a rather rigorous discussion in the back of the bus that ended with the typical "Oh fine!" exclamation point...Just as we were exiting Iona/Avril commented on how well we all get along...apparently she was hard of hearing.  Moments later the four of us were once again lost on the streets of Dublin with nary a care in the world as we blithely headed into the nearest shopping mall.

Again, dear reader, you may be wondering what any of this has to do with Black Friday or shades of gray but if there is a retail sale in sight it is in fact the peace maker for all of our female familial relationships.  When we were in London we heard that a police officer (Bobbie) had inadvertently tasered a blind man.  Since we do not have a refined British sense of humor we of course thought this occurrence was hysterical.  Somehow the Bobbie mistook the man's cane for a sword...anyhow this story became our standard for all things murky and comical.  The trip has helped me clarify that a much larger world exists than I can fathom and even on my worse day I can still distinguish a blind man's cane from his sword.


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