i finish up seeing facebook friends in england! now to get myself home. . .

there are so many levels of hell, according to dante, but i don’t think he ever anticipated the easyjet tier of hell.  getting out of dortmund, germany after a bruising reality check that facebook friends sometimes will just NOT EVER want to meet and that i could be an idiot (the latter being my own little mantra), we alighted to dortmund international airport where security felt up my twins and played around with my lady bits in a manner that i really we should have had a “relationship talk”.  

 

the easyjet boarding system is modeled on the highly successful titanic lifeboat boarding system. when we took off i had the odd sensation that i could fly the damn plane better than the pilot. this did not instill confidence in me because i generally do not pilot planes. well, i never pilot planes.

 
 
we had a reservation at the “easyhotel” owned by the airline.  imagine the jetsons trapped in orwell’s 1984.  but then it was onto london to catch a train to bristol to meet f2fb friend #248 anna brooke.  
 
i hadn’t seen anna in fourteen years.  she was the assistant to a colleague of my ex-husband’s.  anna and her husband stephen were newlyweds (well, maybe a couple of anniversaries past that status) and were desperate to have children.  they were going through ivf.  they were eating soy products thought to improve fertility.  they drank nonalcoholic wine which i think suggests an absolute commitment to conception.  and yet, they were disappointed.  we lost touch, time passed, and then i see anna on facebook.  we friend each other.  i notice she posts a lot about catherine and daniel, two youngsters who are unbearably cute.  i realize she’s had kids.  i dont’ how to ask her “what the heck happened?”  but, you know what?, we got to have that conversation in bristol where the family of stephen, anna, catherine, and daniel live. THIS is exactly the sort of situation that calls for YOU to meet all your facebook friends in person.  unfortnately, both my cell phone camera and my video cam gave me trouble, otherwise i’d show you the handsome and delightful quartet!
 

in bristol, we saw a suspension bride designed by isambard kingdom brunel, a nineteenth century engineer. he died before the bridge was even being developed. would you rather be revered and famous after your death or before?

 
 
 
from bristol, we alighted to brighton/hove on the train.  little did we know that the british railway system is a bit ungainly.  the train “terminated” at worth and all passengers were advised to leave.  most made the decision to take an alternate train back to london.  but if i missed brighton on november 4, i would have to come back on the fifth.  guy fawkes day which is celebrated most particularly in the town of lewes, next to brighton.  tens of thousands of people come to lewes to commemorate the blowing up of parliament by a catholic and the burning at the stake of seventeen protestants during the reign of queen mary 1.  i wore my rosary under my sweater just in case.  the book of revelations talks about how you’ll know the endtimes are near if guy fawkes celebrations are ever held at the same time as halloween.  so i didn’t tell anybody about trick-or-treating, apple-bobbing, or egging your neighbor’s windows.
 
we took a bus into brighton/hove and met f2fb friend #249 mark jonathan cage and his very lovely girlfriend laura.  they laid out the most remarkable “traditional” english sunday dinner of roast chicken, roasted potatoes and turnips, steamed vegetables, suet pudding,  dressing, a homemade apple and honey cake with  ice cream and custard.  i wondered what they were going to do for a main course.
 
mark took us all to beachy head which is the suicide “go to” place in england.  it’s amazing how tall the cliff is and how exposed it is. when mark told me that a huge problem is erosion i was like “uh, no thanks” and i wondered about why i was seeing a facebook friend whom i had never met, but with whom i had played online scrabble.  it was pretty damn windy but luckily i was ballasted by my weight.  so that’s why the traditional english dinner is so grand!
 
then off to heathrow to get ourselves back to america.  seventeen days, eleven countries, 21,600 miles, two pairs of shoes, one carryon bag–and i had one last adventure:  something illegal in the united states but apparently available on every street corner in brighton, england.
 

7 responses to “i finish up seeing facebook friends in england! now to get myself home. . .

  • Anna Brooke

    It was fabulous to see you. Children felt the entire experience was glamour personified. What larks. Good luck on the final run-in..xx

    • arlynnpresser

      glamour???? glamour???? p.s. please send me your regular snail mail address. i forgot i had something in my bag for you all! and thank you for your good wishes. we made it home alive and i did do a very naughty thing in brighton first. i was very very glad to see catherine and daniel because they have the very bestest parents!!!!

      • Anna Brooke

        Aww – bless. Naughty experiences in Brighton are compulsory. I think the glamour was having 3 exotic world travellers at our front door – and the lemonade and cash….Will email my address to you.

  • Capt. William Clark

    Are you back??>?? That cliff was SCARY!!!! Now give me the unspeakable lowdown on Brighton …

    • arlynnpresser

      captain clark!

      sigh!

      the cliff was damn scary. it is the san francisco bridge of europe. and a one hundred percent success rate on suicides because once you go down you will die. i was really scared because my facebook friend talked to me about erosion and how the edges were falling away. also, windy. i opened my jacket and thought “i can die now without a lot of effort”.
      there have been, i am so afraid to say, many times this year when i have been so tired, so self-doubting,so self-loathing that suicide has weighed upon my mind. merriweather lewis, who accompanied you, had these issues. i work hard at being an optimist.

      brighton was crazy cool. i got my feet pedicured by ravenous fish. i saw the palace follie of george 4. i participated in an english pub quiz where every question was about english life and . . . i lost big. i went to a magic shop. drank beer in one place and then another and another. mistook a woman for a man and vice versa. was courted by a waiter. and was cold most of the time. but i would go back!

      • Capt. William Clark

        Arlynn, your trip ranks right up there with our Expedition .. Don’t forget that we got into hot tubs on the Lolo Pass! No fish, though. Now we will find out if, when you get home, you will “know the place for the first time,” as T.S. Eliot put it.

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