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12/09/2003 Entry: "I Do Not Have An 18 Inch Seat."

The human body should not be subjected to such a small seat for ten hours. I'm back from London, mostly; I'm still having some time issues, as evidenced by my late night last night and consequent oversleeping today. Or at least, I'm holding jet lag accountable for it and not my long game of Space Channel Five.

The first thing that I noticed wasn't any of the ways that London is different from San Francisco or other big cities...it's how much things were the same. Sure, they talked differently and drove on the wrong side of the road. But we were still trampled by business people on their mobile phones. Trendy restaurants were still expensive, fast food was still fast. The global brands we all know and loathe/love were all well represented as we walked down Oxford Street. The homeless people were fewer in number than in my own city, but just as hungry. London air is dirty and Piccadilly Circus is crazy, just like New York air and Times Square are. The English gardens we visited, while lovely, were filled with roses similar to those of Golden Gate Park and San Jose. American programs played after hours on their televisions, just like British ones do here.

But obviously that city's history is longer; standing in Westminster Abbey filled me with awe not from the vaulted ceilings but from the nearly 900 years of history contained within. I had a strange sensation while looking at a warrior's sword in the Museum of London; I had a vision of myself with that sword in hand, killing a Roman invader as his party emerged from the Thames. It felt almost real, almost like a past-life, though I'll just chalk that up to having a vivid imagination. Maybe it's that feeling which I envied, growing up here on the frontier end of the New World, where nothing around me (aside from the mountains) was older than 150 years. Where I could never imagine myself hundreds of years before, neither Ohlone nor Spaniard. But San Francisco still feels like home to me, and somehow I know it's true in ways that London could never be.

I do want to spend more time there; four and a half days was just enough for a taste. And I never got to have a pint with the kind Londoner who wrote me—by the time I saw his message, we were already home again. I do love to hear why other people love their cities. But if it means squeezing into that little seat for ten hours again, well...unless we get particularly lucky seats at Christmas, I might need a little break first.

And possibly a crash diet.

Replies: 2 comments

Welcome Home...See you when I get back

Posted by sillynun @ 12/09/2003 09:22 PM PST

Oh yes, all of England has such a feeling of...I don't know, just the comfort with which it wears it's age. Here we either tear down what's old or put a marker on it and make it an historical site. There, they LIVE in their history.

I so want to go back -- but I feel like you do about the seats. The bruises on my hips have healed now, tho.

Posted by Sherri @ 12/10/2003 06:23 PM PST

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