December 2008



I tried to delay my appearance at my friend’s going-away happy hour until I was sure that other people would be there—the announced start time was 7pm, and I held back until about 7:20.

Naturally, other than the guest of honor honour, I was the first person there. She spotted me as I was ordering my drink at the bar, thought it might be me, and then decided it was impossible. I hadn’t noticed her at that point, I expected a crowd of people at the bar, but she wasn’t there. After I handed my payment to the bartender, I realized that she was sitting in the corner with her husband and no other guests.

It was a total surprise.

After the happy hour, we walked over to an Indian-Asian restaurant, where we met up with the rest of the people and headed into one of their private dining rooms for three hours of conversation, drinking, and dining.

Shortly after sitting down, I snuck out of the room and assembled the item that had eliminated all free space in my suitcase: a German Christmas Pyramid. I stuck in the flaps, put in the candle holders, put in the candles, and brought it into the room—it was my going away present, as suggested by one of her colleagues. After the candles were lit, a quick adjustment had to be made: I’d managed to set it up so that the kings were spinning backward.


All-in-all it was a splendid time, and I am very happy that I made the effort to pop over to the UK right before the holidays.

As I noted yesterday, I have been doing a lot of shopping. Today I popped into Primark, a store that manages to make C&A look outrageously expensive, where I bought a pair of sweatpants for £2.45. Thanks to Gordon Brown’s ill-advised VAT cut, I saved a whopping 5 pence. Further down the street I picked up a couple of pair of shoes—I have the sinking feeling that I might need to check my luggage on the way back to Germany so that I can carry on my briefcase plus a bag of whatever doesn’t fit in my suitcase.

Random Other Thoughts

  • I overheard a guy telling somebody on his mobile that he was on the High Street in front of Carphone Warehouse. Note to guy: this is not helpful because I think there are at least two Carphone Warehouses on the High Street.
  • I popped into Cheltenham’s gay club last night—mistake on my part—the residual cold effects whipped me out. On the other hand, the upstairs bartender was clueless about what he was selling and what he had on tap; the music was definitely not to my taste (it seemed to be an iTunes playlist, no DJ); and the few cute guys there had tragically painted their faces with stupid face-paint. One girl did talk to me, but I was too far down the contemplative path to respond well (if she ever finds this: my apologies). I ended up getting back to the hotel before 1.
  • Britain is an odd country—from what I can make out, certain stores can’t start selling stuff until certain hours on Sunday—but they open their doors anyway and put up big signs saying something like “Please browse, but note our tills do not open until…” – at HMV the tills opened at 10:30, but at Marks & Spencers, the tills opened at 11. It seems rather confusing to me.
  • Liquor laws in Britain are even more baffling than the liquor laws in the USA.
  • Apparently the hotel I am staying in while visiting Cheltenham is owned by John Malkovich. Maybe I’m being him?

1 comment to Surprised!

  • Apparently the hotel I am staying in while visiting Cheltenham is owned by John Malkovich. Maybe I’m being him.

    “Lesbian witches? That’s f*****g genius!”