I arrived in London relatively unscathed. I always do.
(I think I have about 12 dozen photos of my feet snapped at immigration at Heathrow.)
The driver met me and we sped off. By “sped,” I mean, “we sat in traffic for two hours” while I moaned and complained about a rapidly-approaching meeting. My friend The Englishman was also coming in from the States (though on a flight from Boston, arriving an hour later than mine) and I texted to let him know there was traffic.
This is worse and farther-reaching than the usual Hammersmith Flyover BS, I reported.
Should I cancel my car and take the train? he asked.
Don’t bother. It’ll probably all work out the same.
Well, hopefully you’re seeing the worst of it, he replied. He was kind like that; possibly he had no filter. This was He of the Prospective Super Luxury Car Purchase, after all.
Finally, we were close(ish) to my destination.
Which then turned out to be not close at all, because I spent 30 mins in traffic one block away from where I was supposed to end up due to a massive traffic jam. Under ordinary circumstances, I’d have gotten out and walked. However, the crutch, the suitcase, the endless construction, and the high quality of the Mayfair sidewalks made that impossible.
I finally made it to my hotel to change. I had 20 mins. I texted a friend in a timezone where humans were awake: What are the odds of me getting away with wearing a t-shirt to these meetings?
The reply was mildly snarky.
I went with unwashed hair; an unpressed suit; a t-shirt.
You may critique my choice of heels. Let’s break this one down. First: they are my beloved Cole Haan Nike Air peep-toes, and are very comfortable. Second: I sprained the arch of my foot/likely tore a tendon or a ligament therein. I didn’t hurt my ankle or achilles. Third: I have unreasonably high arches. Wearing flats under these circumstances is considerably more painful on this injury than wearing the shoes pictured. Fourth: I have a few pairs of heels that are so high they are inappropriate for everyday wear, and I know that I shouldn’t wear them while injured. The heels I am wearing are very conservative, with a wide heel, and a lot of arch support.
The point being, when you next injure yourself, you can make choices about your footwear. Your right to make choices aboutmyfootwear, however, happens only if and when I am a bridesmaid in your wedding — and even then, that right is pretty circumscribed.
On my way to my first meeting, I was taken by the decorations in the Mayfair streets. There was something romantic about it to me.
I made it through a day of meetings; appointments; calls; firedrills; frantic matters. The intensity of everything astounded even me. Then it was off to a bar I love to meet PG and, later, the Englishman, for drinks and snacks. PG came over first, so we ordered some terrific food.
PG had convinced me to order Eton Mess for dessert. I’d never had it before, but it consists of meringue; whipped cream; berries. Like a pavlova, almost, but more delicious. Heaven in a dessert glass. I had to take a call in the middle of the puddingy delight, though, and PG — sneaky bastard — coopted the remainder of the treat!
The Englishman joined us as we finished the glass of berries and cream. PG, for reasons unbeknownst to me, began flipping through pictures on his phone of his blisters and wounds. I had to turn away. Then PG left, and The Englishman and I were left alone for a few glasses of wine.
It was strange, really. We’d found ourselves that way with increasing frequency: every few weeks, it was the two of us over dinner; us over drinks. Sometimes in London; once over the round table in my house. But it begged the question, again, that I had been asking for a year now: Was Levi-Strauss correct? In an encounter between two cultures, did you really have to find the right distance in order to get to know each other?