I'm sitting in the Astor house bar drinking a beer and eating a tuna sandwich. I know I'm not supposed to be drinking beer, but it's the end of my trip and I feel a little sad.
Actually, that could be the understatement of the century, or at least of this blog. I think everyone can relate to the end of holiday blues. Multiply it by a factor of eight and you probably get the idea. The end of something is always bad. As someone who I can't remember the name of once said 'everything ends badly, otherwise it wouldn't end at all'
Don't go psychoanalysing that one though, it's a shallow as a kiddies paddling pool.
So this is the end of the road, the finishing line, the final flight, the return trip, the last departure.
There's a horrible finality to all of the above, something that doesn't seem quite fair. After all, it's just the beginning of another chapter. This trip has been full of new chapters and this one is no exception. To extend the dubious metaphor to breaking point, the novel that is my life continues regardless.
Perhaps the next chapter will be a great one, a chapter to end all chapters, the best chapter yet, where the author thrusts all his creative powers into the melting pot and produces the best ideas he has ever created, something he is truly proud of.
Anyway, before I drift off into a Roberto Calvi infused self-referential monologue and I think maybe only one person potentially reading this will even get this reference – Hi Matt! The rest of you need to read more…honestly he's VERY good, try 'If on a winter's night.. a traveller' if you want what your perceptions of what a novel is scrambling.
So, I've digressed… again and now I'm doing that strangely
English thing of apologising about it. There's a great line in 'A fish called Wanda' when John Cleese says 'Do you have any idea what it's like to be English? Having to be right all the time?' I don't think he's actually talking about being 'right' in the true sense of the world, more 'proper' I think. Still, the idea rings true for me.
So, why the title?
Well, I'm giving serious consideration to kidnapping the waitress in this bar. Or any waitress in any bar or hotel for that matter. It would be the perfect abduction, she's a willing victim if you like, enthusiastic to see the world. She's even small enough to fit in my bag. There's been a long standing joke throughout China about abducting the waitresses and hoteliers and taking them with us. They all seem to be up for it.
The reason? They are simply so adorable. They smile all the time and even laugh at my bad jokes, they want to get to know you for no other reason other than natural curiosity and above all they make me laugh. Laugh like I've not laughed for in a long, long time.
In that cold sterile city I call home I think we've forgotten how to smile. Wake up London, it's time to unpack your smiles, throw off your English reserve, start random conversations at bus stops, ask the person in McDonalds if they are having a nice day and discuss with the underground train driver how many people fall down the gap.
Look out London, I'm coming home.