After 4 hours of sitting on a fold-down seat on the train with this glorious view, I pulled the 90lbs of luggage from the train to the station interior, my arms feeling the weight of the oversized suitcase after only 150 yards, my jaw dropped in horror when the bank machine mocked:
The Amount you may withdraw:
Nil? Is this real? I’m not halfway home, I am again homeless and jobless, and I have nil monies?
I sat in Paddington Station by the cute bronze bear and wept (as gracefully as possible, I assure you). Children stared. It was awkward. If only I could earn ₤1 every time I cried in public, this wouldn’t be happening.
This probably also wouldn’t be happening had I not accidentally shipped my Canadian debit card to Calgary. Clearly I am the mastermind of my own destruction.
Let’s go back. Plymouth is no longer my home. Or rather where I reside, it was never truly my home. What seemed like a good move as far as my CV goes, a good move to become more healthy and less nutrient deficient, to see the South West of England, and to save money…
Turned out to be embarrassing for my CV, caused me to start drinking daily and consume chips instead of food, allowed me no such South West pleasantries (like eating ice cream in february by the sea) beyond the steps where all those English ancestors got the fuck out of this place, and cost me more money and emotional trauma (they did, after all, almost kill us in a blaze of pork belly) than I could afford. In that city genetically altered by sailors, a portion of my love for the food industry died.*
Upon my escape, which I planned well for everyone involved, giving my full notice and trying to set the place so they wouldn’t be left in the shit, I was not paid by my employer** which is funny considering the commis who walked out of the job were paid on time which is why I don’t see them sitting in Paddington station running their makeup.
Though I’d stopped smoking, without thinking I spent my last ₤5 on rolling tobacco.
I scrape my way to Heathrow (my Visa card apparently chooses when it feels like working), and choke down a Chorizo burger from Leon, which turns out to literally be chorizo slashed open and painfully grilled, then mashed into a bun with three sprigs of roquette lettuce. Oh Leon, I will miss your successful marketing but not your unsuccessful food.
My phone credit dwindles to less than ₤1 and my mother and I exchange a dialogue that ends with her telling me to get my ass to the Western Union. This transaction allows me to check my bag, which at this stage feels more like a dead body.
Just as it is being sucked into the scanner I remember:
“Oh! It’s full of knives!”
I blurt out seconds after the man at the counter sees all the knives come up on the screen. His eyes widen and his jaw falls agape. “Yes, it is!” Brows furrow. “What’s that block at the bottom of the bag?”
“Sharpening stones probably.”
Latex gloves snap into place. “Show me.”
As I open the monstrous case, underpants fly everywhere. Of course. I pull out the stones, which are wrapped in stollen tea towels.
I proceed to pull out various squareish objects that could potentially cause a problem. Headshakes.
Finally, I pull out some antique jelly moulds. Question mark. They are metal, and pink. Bingo.
Never did I expect, with a bag full of knives and dead electronic devices, that pink jelly moulds would trip the scanner.
London, we’ll have to kiss and make-up some other time. In the mean time, stay classy.
Oh, and here (finally, I’ve been meaning to put this up but been too lazy) is my solution for Britons on Sunday afternoon when you’ve found yourselves with a basket of leftover Yorkshire Puddings:
As per the Canadian Beaver Tail tradition, you simply fry them in oil at 180 for 30 seconds, toss them in a mix of cinnamon and caster sugar, give them a squeeze of lemon juice and consume. Or dress them up like I have and fill them with apples cooked in cider and finish with cider reduction. They taste just like a doughnut (as this happens to any baked product you fry).
* Okay, not dead. Comatose. But she’s coming out of it.
** They cleverly paid me after I’d left the country. Cheers, mate.