Thursday, May 18, 2006

London II

I don’t know if it is a symptom of “growing up” because, let’s be real, the days start to bleed into one another with so many repetitive movements; or if the karmic theme of this life is irony, but it seems that my life is running parallel with itself. I keep making the same choices and similar lapses in judgment. I’m not sure if I do this out of stubbornness: my refusal to acknowledge that a person could really live a life in a constant state of repetition, or if it’s disbelief that this is really my life.

Whenever I get into London, it’s a tradition that Corinne rounds up whoever she can and we spend the day in a café in South Kensington so I don’t fall asleep and destroy my sleep pattern for the duration of the trip. According to tradition I blow my entire budget for the trip on crappy “champagne”, aka sparkling white wine in this ghetto case, smoke about a pack of ciggs and make a complete spectacle with (loud) conversations about masturbation, my flings via internet dating, and my hairy (or hairless) pussy and what lengths I (don’t) go through to keep it in tip top form. *Claim to Shannon Fame*, last year I even got banned from a club for making such a drunken spectacle, complete with breaking champagne glasses everywhere.

This year followed tradition. The champers was flowing, my friends in London were gathered around listening to me talk about my fucked up life in NYC and rehash the blog that they only read when they are procrastinating from work and school. As I am in mid sentence, describing the writer who I “hung out” with during the winter, Corinne leans in and whispers that the kids at the next table are talking shit about us in French.

Now, normally I don’t give a shit because, yea, I am loud and obnoxious when I am with my friends. And the way I look at it, everyone is entitled to their own opinion. However, my only caveat, do NOT group my obnoxious behavior with me being a stereotypical American. I am the furthest thing from stereotypical anything (well, except Long Island Girl) and I get very angry when I am compared with people from Kansas. No offense to those living in Kansas, but come on, I bet you knew how to fire a gun before you hit puberty.

I retaliate. They think my cosmopolitan ass is in the same category as a stereotypical “American”? I love living up to expectations, especially ones based upon a fucked up pretense.

In the most Gawd awful hick accent that you could imagine, think a cross between Alabama and Oklahoma, I belt out on the top of my lungs, “Hi! This is my first time ever out of the country! This is such a Bee-u-ti-ful place! Could you please snap a picture of me and my friends! I want to remember this moment for-ever!” As I gaze at them with wild eyes and a freakishly large smile.

The French speakers stop their conversation. My friends look at me in shock but trying to hide their smirks, because they had no idea that this was coming.

One of the French kids, in perfect American English agrees to take the picture.

I am unsatisfied. He failed to get me at a flattering angle.

“Oh, I am so sorry but I look ugly in this picture. Here take it again!”

And I make him take the picture again.

He starts to talk to us in his American English and he tells us how he is really from Kentucky and is also half French. Now, let me introduce my friend called irony. The London Fag was a lot like this kid. Half French, Half English speaking country, dark hair, overweight, trying very hard to impress. I am in the exact same neighborhood that I was last year when I met him, doing the exact same thing at the exact same time, almost exactly one year to the day.

As the kid starts to talk about Kentucky, I drop the charade and pick up my drunken LI accent, “Listen, if you are from fucking Kentucky, then I am really from Kansas. Seriously, cut the bullshit. What are you an NYU kid studying aboard?”

I tell him that I am visiting friends and taking a vacation from my hectic life in New York. He tells me that his parents have a horse farm out in Kentucky, trying to impress. I shamelessly name drop that I was at the Breeders Cup watching it from the Turf and Field Club. Note to the lame, don’t try to impress me because I have done cooler shit than you and if needed, I can pull cool factor rank and make you feel like an insecure ass.

And of course, the next question is what I do for a living. I mean, it’s how we can size each other up within a sentence. Whatever I utter I know will imply a personality, a social class, an education, and possibly even familial ties.

It’s at this moment that I know I am on vacation because it is in this space that I am able to live out my fantasy. The fantasy of no work, free time and oodles of money to spend on awful “champagne” at an over-priced outdoor café. I hesitate answering his question.

The truth is, even when I am not vacationing from my reality, when I tell people that I work at The Agency as an Agency Professional, I feel like I am lying. That job title doesn’t conjure the images that I want to be associated with.

I smile at him, look him in the eye and say, “Oh, I’m a writer in NYC.” I begin to blush, “Actually, I am considered somewhat of a minor celebrity over there.”

His friends’ ears perk up. And they ask me what I write.

“Oh, I write for the Village Voice about sex and relationships.” Not missing a beat of the conversation.

It is at that moment that I realize that it could be construed that I am trying to pass myself off as Rachel Kramer Bussel, the Village Voice columnist. I was wearing the black librarian glasses, my dark hair was blow dried straight. Our similar appearance as well as a shared love of writing about sex is a sheer coincidence. I want to be a celebrity in my on right, not capitalize on someone else’s fame.

But I have to admit, it felt so natural for me to allude to myself as a minor celebrity. Granted, the eight glasses of sparkling white wine was a great lubricant for any shame that I could have felt for lying, but it felt more real for me to say that I was a writer than for me to admit that I worked at The Agency. I felt good saying it.

After I mentioned my minor celebrity, the guy who I had been talking to, pulled out a wad of paper and handed me his phone number.

“You know,” he said, acting all important, metaphorical peacock feathers sprouting from his large ass, “I am a member at this member’s only club and I would like you to be my guest.”

FUCK YEA! I think to myself. Not even in London for five hours, and I am invited to a member’s only club because I am so fucking cool and fabulous and lie so well!

“Oh, which one is it?” I'm hoping for an invite to Anabel's, Hospital, SoHo House.

“I’m a member at Coriander.”

My face froze. “Coriander?” I asked in disbelief.

Corinne, interjects, “Oh, actually our friend is a member there too.”

This half French, overweight, pompous, show-off is part of the same club as the London Fag! I got invited to the same club that the London Fag was a part of…


And I would be lying to say that I wasn’t planning on going: creating a ruckus, and leave my mark complete with broken glasses and a lifetime ban, but alcoholism and my age got in the way. I fell asleep right after our late lunch and didn’t wake up until 2am, when the club was closing.

But I do wonder what would have happened if I would have gone.

And I remember, although there are coincidences, there are major differences between those two points in my life.

I just hope that this version has a better ending.


At 10:23 AM, Anonymous Hoyt Pollard said...

Let's see.. drunk, loud, overindulgent, rude, arrogant, condescending... nothing stereotypically American about you at all.

At 4:30 PM, Blogger Madcapper said...

Wow Hoyt, that must've really stung her . . .

Neither the French OR the English have any of those traits, right? Only difference is the French have no balls and talk about people in French because they think it is witty.

Was in Paris once with a friend from the states who spoke with a Southern accent, yet she was a French ex-pat. Two guys sitting next to us were trying to be cute and walked up to her and in French said, "What beautiful breasts you have." Not sure how you say "Black eye" in French, but I seem to have gotten my point across in a language they understood!

At 11:15 PM, Blogger MyChinadollShandoll said...

I Love you RACHEL!!!! I had a great time yesterday.. ;-)

At 9:00 AM, Anonymous Hoyt Pollard said...

I'm not criticizing her for being a drunk, loud, overindulgent, rude, arrogant, condescending American. I'm criticizing her sloppy thinking and lazy writing.


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