Sad, but not tragic. A forced opportunity. Maybe even a fortunate adaptation…fuck it. Let's make taco salad.

London

Before departing Western Europe for the fairer climes of The Balkans, I took a quick trip across the North Sea to visit The Mom in London, who recently enrolled in graduate school there.  I guess Radical Dislocation Syndrome must run in the family.

For The Mom, this is a lifelong dream come true.  She’s always been a huge Anglophile, so every street sign, every street performer, every fucking street gets a reverential, “Wow.”  She’s in an 18-month program to get her MFA in Film Production, but her real dream is to stay and live out her days there with a mumbling scraggly-tooth man making dryly humorous short films about the bathroom and bedroom habits of 21st century mankind.  (Just kidding, Mom.  You know I’m just trying to get you to make the pie higher.)  So, now is probably a good time to be honest…

I’ve never been drawn to the UK as a travel destination and don’t really give much of a shit.  I’m just here to see “me mum.”  The reality is, I find most Brits to be self-righteous, pompous dicks.

I must stop here and apologize to my many and varied UK-based friends.  But even you must recognize that the British projection of power has been reduced to treating other people like they are personally inferior.  Also, you have a couple of huge banks.  We gave the world McDonalds and WalMart.  You gave the world cricket and flat, warm ale.  Stalemate, if considered generously.

I do also recognize that most Americans are ignorant swine as well, but I doubt they would come to your country and tell you how everything you have is due to their brilliance and largesse.  Primarily because most Americans couldn’t spell the word “largesse,” let alone define it.  But I digress…

The Mom had been busy trying to find a place to live and get back in the swing of school for a month and hadn’t had the time to play tourist until I arrived, so we went at it con mucho gusto:  Tower of London tour, London Eye Super Happy Time Ride, bus tours, boat tours, walking tours, Westminster Abbey tour (“Wow, Casey, the Duke of Hamsandwichshire is buried here!”  “Really?  That guy is dead too?”)…  After two days I was beat.

Fortunately, I had a hookup scheduled with my man Barry who lived with me in the Icehouse of San Blas in Cusco.  Just the drunken diversion I needed to get me off the tourist trail for a bit.  We met at a pub in West London near The Mom’s place for a few starter drinks and then rolled her into a cab to save her from blunt force trauma to the liver.  And to keep Barry from getting drunk and making an uncomfortably aggressive pass at her.  “Damn, man, your mum is fit!”

Then we boarded the train to Slough.

If you have never seen the BBC version of “The Office,” you should stop reading this (after paying a visit to my most excellent sponsors) and go watch it now.  Brilliantly painful, I had always imagined it to be a parody of life in a crappy London suburb.  I was completely wrong.  It is, in fact, a disturbingly realistic portrait of life in, quite possibly, the crappiest place I have ever visited.  Even traveling in the third world, I have felt a connection to the people around me.  In Slough, I found a sadistic nightmare of broken dreams and paradise very much lost.  Congratulations, Houston.  You are no longer my least favorite place on the planet.

I returned to London with a renewed fear of humanity, just in time to enjoy a nice night of crappy British pub food with The Mom and a much needed full night of sleep.  Unless someone gets shot right outside my window.  That didn’t just happen, did it?

Indeed, I awoke at 5 am to shots fired on the street outside my window followed by screaming and the screeching of several cars racing away.  In the morning, I took my toothbrush out to the veranda and stood mesmerized as I watched a forensics team in full protective gear scour the corner across the street for evidence while the police marched slowly down an entire 4 block area looking for shell casings.  If my reason for being here is to ensure that The Mom’s going to have an amazing experience, then it’s time to roll out the Mission Accomplished banner!

Now, I know that much of what I write here has a tinge of sarcasm.  And, yes, I am ever-so-slightly concerned about my mother moving from small-town America to one of the largest cities on the planet alone.  Especially considering her incomprehensibly innocent habit of setting her purse down on the ground to take photos or read a map.

But I am proud as fuck of her for doing what she is doing.  It takes the biggest of balls to leave everyone and everything you have known your entire life behind to chase a dream.  Especially when you’re old enough to be my mother.  (Sorry, Mom, but it’s true.  And if you are hot enough to get my 25 year old friends aroused, you should have no concerns about ageism holding you back.)  She chose this place because it is where she has always dreamed of being, and she will have an amazing experience because she has decided that’s what she deserves.  And I love her to death for it.

You Brits better treat her with respect or I’ll be back with my Turkish gangster friends from Amsterdam to set things straight.

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