Just an all-around nice day today. Nothing amazingly exciting or different, but enjoyable nonetheless. Work was routine: shuffle papers for a few hours, take a nice long lunch, read papers online… not too tough. While reading some random webpage, I found out about a free jazz show at a bar called, appropriately enough, “Bar 19:20.” Sounded somewhat snotty but it seemed cool enough and the price was right. So after work I called some people here through the same work-permit program as me and we made plans to have dinner and check it out. Cars, soda cans, people, and worst of all pizza: it seems like things over here are on average considerably smaller than in the U.S. even though I did have a little pancake of a pizza, dinner was enjoyable. My roommate and I are paying slightly more than a third as much in rent as the people we went to dinner with. Sure, we have a few bugs. Yeah, the shower stop producing even mildly warm water while I was in it. Ok, my kitchen floor may collapse if I jump too hard on it. I admit: my roommate and I alternate sleeping on the floor in our flat that’s the size of a jail cell. But so what? Surely their clean consistently heated your sheets get changed for you nice safe neighborhood very spacious apartment isn’t worth £60 (about $84) more weekly than mine, right?
Other than hear about their luxurious flats, we talked about jobhunting over our pizzas. Good to know other people are having as much trouble as I did! One guy’s unemployed after a week and a half of jobhunting and coming here after college; must be because he’s Canadian:) As much as I hate to admit it, I do feel a little patriotism now I’m abroad. Someone told me that students here from Canada can work in the U.K. for 2 years as opposed to the 6 months my fellow Americans are allocated. I replied that that’s Canada’s reward for not rebelling; nobody else found it funny, but I got a kick out of myself.
Met one of the craziest people I've ever came across on the subway. Dirty, unshaven, and wearing military fatigues, he carried a beer in one hand and a kettle in the other. I responded with laughter to several entirely random comments he made, so he offered me a cup of tea. I declined; what would he have done if I said yes? He let out a "whirrrrr" and turned the tea kettle turned into a rocket ship. He followed up with some mumbled jokes, so I responded with my usual answer when I can't understand what someone's saying: a polite nod and some laughter. We got nervous when he left the subway at the same stop as us, but we slowed down and he passed us. Must not have been following us after all: his tea kettle just happened to want off at the same stop as us.
The bar was yuppyish but fun. Oh so chic: no sign in front, but instead a fountain with “Bar 19:30” in ceramic tiles on the bottom. During a break from the band, we saw some chubby, balding, older guy obviously trying to pick up a younger but definitely not young woman. We couldn’t hear their conversation, so I filled in the external and internal dialog. Dressed in a businesswoman’s skirt designed to facilitate rapid corporate ladder ascension, the worldly middle manager was unsure how to respond to flirtations from the jean-and-flannel-shirt gentleman pursuing her. She’d almost blown him off as just another truck driver, but she’s seen one too many casually dressed CEOs in Fortune magazine. The 3 Cosmopolitans she’s drank and her previous divorce don’t exactly encourage rejection, either. He’s actually also a middle manager, has had 2 previous marriages, and read in the latest Gentleman’s Quarterly that chicks dig jeans. Everything’s going well enough, but then he leans his shiny bald head a little too close to her face. Seeing her reflection on his scalp, she decided then and there that conversation will remain polite, formal, and in the bar. End of story and conclusion to my (mean-spirited?) character analysis. Or so I thought: we looked back 5 minutes later and both were gone. My theory? He’d said 4 magic words that whisked her off her feet: “I’m getting my Porsche.”
Anyways, the band was solid. Long, his-face-turned-red trumpet solos and a passionate female vocalist kept us entertained. In fact, it wasn’t bored for a minute at this bar: TVs played “The Usual Suspects” then “Men In Black” without sound, so I could have conversations, listen to the music, and watch cool movies simultaneously. Gotta love places designed designed for people with short attention spans. Talked/listened/watched/met for a while and then wondered home, the day and night jolly good indeed. Cheers.