ok so here's a tale i've been threatening to share on this crap-o-blog awhile now, fil pointed out last nite that my memory ain't as hot as it used to be, short-term wise i agree, longterm, nice try.
this story i title MY FIRST DAY IN ENGLAND DISASTER.
just thinking about this fucking day exhausts me.
ok so i go to england for the summer of 2000, i'm 17 and i'm signed up for this OAC (grade 13) writer's craft exchange program which i'll receive a highschool credit for. prior to this i don't know anyone in the course, obviously. so we land at gatwick and discover that the coach bus company to take us into london went bankrupt the night before so there is a mad scramble to fit as many people into taxis as possible with our luggage on our laps, i had to sit on a (stranger) girl's lap in the back with my huge suitcase on my lap for the long commute, and we have no idea where we are going either, we've all got xeroxed maps and lists but it is of no help cos no one can remember where we've been told to be dropped off other than imperial college, not the campus, or dorms, no specifics and the cabbie is asking us over and over about it I DON'T KNOW WE JUST CAME OFF AN 8 HOUR FLIGHT NO IDEA DUDE!
so we are deposited near the back of one of the cafeteria buildings, and it's coldish, about ready to sprinkle rain, we all take turns having mini freak-outs, we are alone and feel like we should just sit tight, the other half decide lets meander around, fine fine finally a car scoots up and a dude gets out (teacher?) and says this way so we follow him to a crowd a few streets over and now there is a lady with a list of our names for rooms, when it is my turn i go up and say WHITE, LAUREN and LAUREN WHITE she looks it all over newp no your name isn't here you must be staying in the other dorm on montpelier go follow those people so i do and by now i'm making chums with these two chicks from hamilton and i'm optimistic about staying in the same dorm as them, the one we had just left was really tall and drab and apartment block-looking, pass.
so we walk along some cobblestone little maze-like quaint streets (we're in knightsbridge london btw) all very nice and pretty and then the sun pops out a sign a sign i'm thinking we get to this totally charming smaller residence, kind of victorian old world posh looking and clamber up the stairs inside asking what rooms are left running up the stairs to claim what's left i find a room with a window overlooking a tiny courtyard garden, gothic-looking brickwork all about, i love it then i notice there are some personal effects in this room oh shit taken a girl comes in and says she's switching rooms for the one next door i can have this one later, i pop my head around the corner and see the room she wants that this other girl is ditching for a hotel room, this room is rad and it has a balcony fire-escape, primo for sneaking out at nite, i want that room and i realise that i know the girl kinda so i say can i have this room instead you aren't even unpacked just let me have it i've been wandering around london the last hour i NEED to collapse she's like alright fine (meanwhile she has promised the room to THREE girls for some stupid reason) so hamilton girls are like lauren come on lets go exploring now, one wants to call her mom and have a nervous breakdown and apparently they need me for that cos we're mates now right?
i say girls i NEED to get a room you have one i don't and i notice all of a sudden these two girls on the floor with rooms have all of a sudden made up their minds that i am NOT getting one of these rooms and i am about to flip my fucking lid then i fly down the stairs and have a meltdown in front of everyone in the foyer, it was really beautiful, and mr. black (teacher dude who ended up living above my apartment on crawford two years later, funny coincidence) is like ok sit down what's wrong and i just explode into a bunch of crazy sentences, swear words, and now i am crying DORM ROOM 8 HOUR FLIGHT BANKRUPT TIRED SUITCASE BITCH GIRLS UPSTAIRS etc etc. he gets a list and says your name isn't on this list you're not staying here you are staying at the other dorm then i lose it again I JUST WALKED ALL THE WAY HERE FROM THERE COS I WASN'T ON THAT LIST EITHER! so he says ok don't worry go into my room get a towel put hot water on it relax we will sort this out for you i'm thinking i like all this attention i have never had a freak-out like this in front of strangers before remember this for later so one hamilton friend says lauren put your suitcase in my room for now lets go out to use the phone, they'll have a room for you when we get back later on.
turns out my cry attack has inspired these chicks to have one of their own, so one calls her mom and lets loose and by now i've composed myself, i'm chilled out and looking all around at the street and scene and i am digging it then a sense of foreboding dread comes over me when i realize i am the ringleader to these homesick babies who are happy that they have discovered a new baby for their duo, wrong, i am not a baby, i just wanted a room so that i could boogey on the town and get wasted and disappear. the one on the phone to her mother is even talking about me too no this is wrong stop it! she's blubbering hysterically and the other girl is hugging her and sobbing as well, it's all really pathetic she's saying AND gasp OUR gasp NEW gasp FRIEND gasp DOESN'TEVENHAVEAROOMIHATEITHERE gasp IWANTTOCOMEHOMERIGHTNOW exactly like that.
anyway eventually it all calms down us crowding around this phone booth in front of the dorm i say ok lets go drinking, so we do until curfew, 11, i go up the stairs to the room i am told will be empty by the time i get back, nope, there's a girl COMPLETELY UNPACKED in it i just leave my suitcase on the floor in the hall and put my hands in the air and stalk off to find a teacher and patiently explain that I DO NOT HAVE A ROOM this is a different teacher too in her nightgown acting really annoyed by me, she gets this big dude the boss of the whole program and he says ok there is one empty room i think over here right next door to the one i left my suitcase in front of, i take it sit down collapse zzz, but not before he says i'll have to pay for it and i say yeah yeah fine fine i'm fucking BONKERS TIRED and just letting him take advantage of my desperate state (asshole!).
next day this guy approaches me and says you owe us 30 pounds cos this girl left to get a hotel to give YOU a room like this whole thing is my fault i say how is it that i have to pay 30 pounds on top of the thousands of dollars i and my family have paid for this entire program because my name wasn't on either of your room lists, how is this MY fault? he says ok ok just give me 30 pounds and you'll get it back at the end of the trip, i wanted him to just go away so i said fine, i gave it to him.
i never got it back.
don't worry i made up for it in other ways here and there.
that was my first day in england.
this story brings up so many hateful memories i have had half of this post as a draft for the last month.