i only wear white when it rains

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the bitch in the back of the cab

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If Peter Pan makes an appearance,
I'm going to be pissed.

After witnessing the horror of criminally sunburned Midwesterners blister aboard a Disney cruise ship for four days, I couldn’t wait to commence “Spring Break: Part Two.”

It would take place primarily in British pubs and not at all star Lilo & Stitch.

I might be a decent mother, but I’m not fucking Mother Teresa, and I was done with trying to figure out how to have a “magical day” in a 24-square-inch bathroom struggling to peel off a *wetsuit from a wriggling child whose bowels just discovered an interesting math fact:

Excessive hotdog consumption + Multiple trips down the Aquaduck waterslide = Asstastrophe

So, because I might not be that smart, I decided there was no better way to recover from the claustrophobia and exhaustion of clamoring for a lounge chair on the Disney Dream pool deck than to turn around the night you disembark and board an 8-hour red-eye to London.

Where’s my vice grip; these head wings suck

British Airways offers several different classes of Transatlantic travel that can be confusing at first, but really should only be broken down into two categories:

  1. Lay-flat bed
  2. You’re not fucking sleeping no matter how much Ambien you take

After attempts to use our daughter’s 529 to pay for the first class seats failed, we opted to heed my globetrotting brother’s advice: “drugs are an excellent alternative to first class.”

So armed with a bottle of Valium and tremendous gratitude Tinkerbell was nowhere in sight, we arrived at our pseudo-business class seats which hovered somewhere between lay-flat beds and shoot me in the face.

I think British Airways referred to our upholstered medieval torture chambers as “World Traveller Plus” seats. Apparently you pay extra for a lice napkin, head wings and enough free alcohol to easily overdose when combined with your Valium.

Waiting just long enough to place earplugs in my nostrils to block out the stench of dinner, I sucked down my two Valium hoping not to wake up again until we had arrived in the UK (which, as you know, is short for “Ugly Kingdom”).

Sadly, I woke up about every 20 minutes or so, proving what I have always thought to be the case: my head is HUGE. It is so heavy, no head wing could hold it in place. I would wake up to discover it was tipped back and wedged in between our reclined seats, affording everyone a really awesome view of the back of my throat and my deviated septum.

Welcome to where even your Starbucks-stained teeth look white

The next morning, the traveler who knew to bring a toothbrush and the other who thought dragon breath could easily be combated with a piece of Orbit gum, made their way to the Milestone Hotel.

The polite British receptionist wearing the same exact barrettes I sported in my 5th grade school picture informed us that our AmEx Platinum status had earned us an upgrade to the mumble, mumble room. I knew better than to get too excited because unless you hear Presidential Suite, there’s almost never an upgrade. Mumble, mumble rooms are just the shitty rooms you booked hoping for an upgrade.

There was no time to inquire though as Benny Hill was waiting nearby, eager to show us around. I listened to Benny the bellman during our hotel tour with the same impatience I try not to show while nodding through restaurant specials when I already know what I want to order. But I half-heard him say our hotel was once an “insane asylum.”

Just as I was trying to recover from the confusion of how that could be considered a selling point, our guide thrust open the doors to our mumble, mumble room.

To say my first sight was a resident of the flat six inches from our window wearing a tattered white undershirt and boxer shorts while rinsing out his teacup in the sink would only be a little bit of hyperbole, since the sink covered him from the waist down.

That being said, minus a funhouse mirror that accentuated how Kardashian my ass got on the cruise, the room itself was richly appointed, newly renovated and equipped with comfy slippers – not the crappy hotel ones that are the equivalent to walking around on a piece of gauze.

“Is it okay, ma’am?” the bellman asked me with a look in his eyes that said, “I’m sorry your room sucks.”

Now is a good time to point out that our 400-pound a night hotel boasts “most rooms overlooking Kensington Gardens.” No where did I read about the room category that included sweeping vistas of the man’s hairy earlobes in the next flat.

Does this monument make me look fat?

So after trying to score a non-boxer shorts view, we were informed we could have a Kensington Gardens view room the following day.

“We’re not going to be in the room that much,” Brian reminded me, with a look in his eyes that said, “You make me pack my shit up again and I’ll kill you in your sleep.”

Insane asylum explained

It wasn’t until we woke up the next day that we discovered the Milestone’s connection to insanity: the beds.

If you have ever been ejected from an airplane without a parachute and woken up in a concrete parking lot with a speed bump for a pillow, then you might know what it’s like to sleep in our mumble, mumble bed.

The bed was so excruciatingly hard, not only did it explain why the hotel rendered people crazy at one point, but it made me think the Londoners passed out on the streets and park benches weren’t actually homeless. They were just staying at our hotel.

I’m not dignified enough to live here

On our way to the Camden Street Market, our cab driver was trying to prepare us for the market’s unique combination of tattoo artists, gypsies, skinheads, antique dealers, artists and immigrants thrusting chicken curry samples down our gullet. In one of the most unintelligible Hackney accents ever, he was ranting about how the tattoo ink on David Beckham’s body probably outweighs his wife.

“That wouldn’t be too hard,” I quipped, in the sarcastic tone I reserve for… well… pretty much everything I say.

“Bwwwwwwwaaahahahaha,” he laughed so hard he coughed a piece of his esophagus onto the windshield before loudly proclaiming, “I luv’ a BITCH in the back a’my cab!”

Brian tipped him 150 percent.

And I made a mental note that if pointing out that Victoria Beckham hasn’t eaten solid food since the late 90s was considered “bitchy,” then I could never live here.

Put the lotion in the basket

The punishment for being too exhausted to locate your car? Dismemberment.

The one positive to sleeping on a concrete slab for several days is that it made our flight back home seem luxurious. After turning down a pastrami sandwich wrapped in tin foil (like I said, “luxury”), I decided to embrace my oversized melon, and just wedge it myself in between the seats to catch a few hours of sleep.

Although attractive, my drooling probably was not that conducive to Brian sleeping, so by the time we arrived in Tampa, he was suffering from a sleep-deprivation-induced amnesia, and we could not find his car.

I was not alarmed. This is a daily occurrence for me.

But he was ready to blow up the TPA parking garage in frustration. So I knew I either needed to intervene or call my mommy to pick me up before he detonated the C4.

It was then that I spotted a man wearing a “customer assistance” vest, carrying a pad and spitting out sunflower seeds.

I asked for his help before I got close enough to see that his hair had not been washed since before he was placed on a cocktail of psychotropic drugs that may have curbed his desire to chop me up into little pieces, but did nothing to thwart his tremors or the serial killer look in his red-rimmed eyes.

He suggested Brian go to the police station two floors down so that they could help him locate the inconspicuous, compact, easily lost HUMMER.

And, that’s right. Leave me here with the luggage and imminent fear of death.

Luckily, I watched Nightline enough to know that if you make yourself “human” to a murderer, they might not want to eat your liver.

Hannibal loses his train of thought. Stares into the distance. Twitches. Doubting he works there, I text my Will.

So I decided to befriend Hannibal.

“So…do people lose their oversized, gas-guzzling SUVs often?” I’d ask with a smile that begged, “please don’t kill me…I have a daughter who’s at home waiting for a Big Ben piggy bank and Harrods bear.”

His response would include some twitching, looking away and then nervously jotting down my dimensions on a legal pad, presumably to determine how many of my limbs he could fit in the recycling bin.

Several minutes later and long after I texted my mother my Last Will & Testament, Brian announced that we were in the wrong parking garage.

I never thought I’d be so relieved we were idiots!

On the drive home, I couldn’t help but wonder though…if Hannibal was a parking garage “customer assistance” worker, why couldn’t he have suggested we were in the wrong garage?

Whatever. I’m just glad this bitch’s head was too big to fit in the basket.

*Floridians understand that any water temperature below 90 degrees is not acceptable, hence the wetsuits. As they say in London: brilliant

Written by I only Wear White When it Rains

March 21, 2012 at 1:19 pm

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