-Day 5- Adrienne, Ian and their stash of loot
Nicole and I woke up in the same bed, again, and we began packing. Though much of my crap was still a little wet from when I washed it, I considered it close enough to dry and stuffed it in my pack. I left two of my T-shirts out to hang on the outside of my pack so that they might dry while Nicole and I walked to Adrienneís parentsí place.
Nicole had gotten directions from one of Adrienneís relations while we were eating breakfast. These directions were nothing short of unfathomable. Iím assuming youíre all familiar with the way New Englanders give directions, "Well, you could take route 33, but that was before the war," "Now, when you pass by Attenborough, youíll pass by a little market where they sell some wonderful strawberries. Now what was the name of that place, Beckerís? No, no, it was something that started with a TÖ" These were remarkably similar to the directions we were given. However, the person giving the directions neglected to mention which way we were supposed to go when we were to turn when we began following a canal just outside the hotel. The road to the left quickly seemed to be the wrong way, so we returned to the hotel to ask directions from the lady at the desk, who, only through the grace of her recognizance of the Wheatsheaf Pub, did we manage to get going in the right direction.
A little travelling tip for you: Never, ever use a rolling suitcase when you are travelling on a graveled dirt path. Nicole was having a struggle, but she turned down my offers for help. Eventually we came to a "very attractive wooden bridge" where we crossed a parking lot and passed by the pub. After that, we toured an entire suburban development in a failed attempt to find some unnamed streets that led to the streets we were looking for. Eventually, we found the place, were invited in and we watched Olivia and Ian-from-England, the happily new-married couple, open a bunch of presents. Adrienne and Ian were actually taking some time in town before they began their honeymoon.
Anyway, here was my problem: Lindsay was going to show up later. This was a good thing, I would be able to talk to her again. Unfortunately, I had plenty of time to become very, very nervous which, as you know, is the my usual reaction to any woman who has even a little bit of interest in me. This, of course, exaggerates my already complete ineptness at small talk because I must attempt to be interesting and, as you may know, trying to be interesting is no replacement for actually being interesting, which Iím not.
"So, Al," some person asks, "what do you do for a living?"
"I work on computers."
"Ah." [Dead silence] "SoÖ do you enjoy it?"
"Oh, well, cheers." Then she will quickly turn away to talk to the person next to her about, letís say, the vegetable dip. I should really start telling people Iím something more exciting. Like a used car salesman.
Incidentally, I have to comment that, for essentially anything that can be said in England, "Cheers" is an appropriate response. During the time I spent at Adrienneís parents, I heard the term "Cheers" used in every single conversational context imaginable. It is even more versatile than "Yo tengo un abrigo rojo". As far as I can tell, "cheers" can mean any of the following things:
Nice to meet you.
Nice to meet you, too.
Thatís great news!
Thatís a shame.
What a cute outfit!
Thanks, I got it on sale for sixty pounds at the Marshall Fieldís in Chertsey last month.
Anyway, I talked with Lindsay for a little bit, enough to find out a little more about her. Apparently, she loves her two jobs as a physical therapist and her spare time is spent as a gymnastics coach. Yeah, computers.
Eventually, I received a respite from that sinking feeling of a conversation that really was not going in my favor when she went to go chat with some other people who actually are doing something with their lives. It was in that interval when, appropriate drumroll please, maestroÖ I had tea. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I had tea. In England. With milk. With sugar. No crumpets, though, so I am able to neither describe the nature of a crumpet nor the manner in which a crumpet is to be used.
Anyway, Lindsay and I swapped email addresses soon before she left, which I found a bit surprising considering my attempted conversations with her did not exactly go very well for the previously mentioned reason. After watching the Wimbledon finals with the Coweys, Nicole and I borrowed two (separate) beds from them, thus allowing us an inexpensive nightís rest.