I'm coming to the end of my trip, and mentally and emotionally, I feel like I'm scrambling to think of what I haven't done or seen yet. What a mess. I knew that this might happen. Instead of just feeling (like I wrote about--that was going to be my goal), I think that there is something I should be doing or seeing. To tell you the truth, a few places that I wanted to go see, like the Theatre Museum and the BBC Shop and some others, have been closed, and I moved some days around to accommodate for my FMS. And truthfully, other than the scheduled events like the concerts and the masterclass tomorrow, I'm done. I've done absolutely everything on my list already (except for waving to a select people from the web cam in Leicester Square). Everything. That's pretty lucky considering that I'm panicky about leaving. I have a whole two days now where I get to take things slow.
For practice, I tried taking everything really slowly after The Old Operating Theatre and Herb Garrett today. By the way, that's a really, really small but fascinating place. Apparently one of the most common--very common in fact--surgeries performed in the area of old was a lithotomy (where they remove bladder and kidney stones). The stones they had on display were huge, most of them two inches in length. These days, they can pulse your insides with hypersonic noise, pulverizing the stone so that you can pass it. Back then (oh, how I wish you could see the painful diagram), they had a tool with clamps that they inserted into the urethra--yes, even a man's urethra--to locate and clamp down on the stone while they made another incision to pull it out. Yikes! Poor guys. You ladies have enough room to pass a human child, if you need to. But shoving that kind of a metal tool through a man?! Well, they were barbarians back then. Everyone knows that.
I got done early with that museum, and that was it for my list. Most everything was closing in the next hour, and I thought, 'Holy crap! I have to hurry and catch something!' Nope, I just had to sit. The restaurants here seem to help you with that. The waiters, they leave you alone. It's not that their lazy. Most of them have more tables than you might have as a waiter in the US. But no one demands attention. No one. They even seem to consider an attentive waiter as bothersome. They dine out in order to have so much stillness, conversation, and relaxation. That's really been interesting to watch my eating habits adjust with the routine of dining out. Because it takes longer, I leave feeling more satisfied. And when I think I should be hungry later, I think to myself, 'No. I don't want to eat right now.' As far as that's concerned, all good things must come to an end--sadly.
I loved the London Eye this morning. It's been a foggy day in London Town today. Delicious! I wanted one of those days. At least one. Some people might think it a waste not to be able to see for miles and miles on the London Eye because of poor weather, but it was the ideal day for me. I wanted the city to be blanketed in mystery. I wanted London to be connected to the rest of the world only by its diverse, multicultural population. Everyone else in my capsule was snapping pictures, but I just sat, looked, and pondered. Other people need to take pictures in order to remember. If my eyes are always looking through a lens and my mind is always on what might be a good camera angle, I will miss everything and take home nothing. I think in pictures, and I think in feelings. I've tried to get as many of both as I could. Though, I must say: for my mother, who I constantly think 'I wish she could see this,' I feel so badly for all the pictures she won't get. For her, I wish that there would have been more people obliging to take a moment for my photo. I wish that I would have been able to capture more atmosphere that I could somehow take home for her.
I walked around slowly. I took a stroll over to Pudding Lane to the spot where the Great Fire started in 1666. I sat and thought. I walked back by St. Paul's Cathedral. Awesome sight from the outside. I secluded myself so that I would worry about looking like a tourist. And I just looked at the building. I just stood there and looked and thought. And now I'm here, typing away so that you and I both can feel better about life because there are experiences like this to be had in life. That the world is so much bigger and smaller than we think. That this life is so short, yet it takes forever. That we each are worth everything, yet we mean nothing. I didn't mean to sound poetic. Quite the reverse. The truth of these statements just makes me think, 'Oh, shit.'
I bought an hour of internet at an internet cafe, just to write a few things before turning in early for tomorrow. I want to make sure that I have enough energy for my second to last day here. So, I'm done writing. I've said everything I want to say. But when I put things through exchange rates, I can't believe I just spent two dollars to use the internet when I can steal it from the neighbors for free back home! So out of principle, I'm using the time that I have left.
I'm glad that I bought a little notebook at Paddington Station before I went to French & Saunders last Tuesday. It's small. It was cheap. No fancy decoration. A simple, brown cover with lined pages. I've been writing everything. I think it's my favorite souvenir because it has all my thoughts, everything I've tasted, everything I've seen, everything I want to remember in it.
Twinings has never been my favorite tea. My favorite brand of Earl Grey (I always end up backspacing when I accidentally type 'Early Gery'--always) is Harney and Sons. But everyone serves Twinings here. When you order tea at a restaurant, 9 times out of 10, they will bring you Twinings. And it's grown on me. I do love my tea, and sometimes the best fix in the day is when I sit down somewhere to take tea. It's just bliss, I tell you.
Oh my goodness! Let me tell you about the show last night! Never in your life have you seen such a show! I've never seen so many pains taken to make a show that absolutely sucks you in like that. 'Lord of the Rings: the Musical.' Sounds ridiculous, right? Well, the music and the acting was rather mediocre. But I was riveted. Absolutely riveted. The whole theatre was covered in forest overgrowth. You remember from Jumanji when the house grows into a forest? That was this theatre. They had old tree branches (fake, of course) growing over the balconies and up through the ceiling. About fifteen minutes before curtain, when staff is selling ice cream and programs in the isles, hobbits start to trickle in--completely in costume and character. One starts trying to catch a firefly (not imaginary, a real floating light), another jumps under your chair trying to find insects, another starts walking through the isles collecting their apples, and over your shoulder comes another one walking toward the stage on your seat backs! It's absolute entertaining chaos in the theatre. Then seamlessly, the production begins. They have all kinds of puppeteers on stilts that control the heads of their horses (ring wrathes), and in the scene where Gandalf fights the Belroc, the whole house, and I mean the whole house is a whirlwind of smoke and debris. I'm not kidding. You are always in the thick of the action.
Ooop. I wish I could write more about it, but my computer just gave me the one minute warning. I'll write more about it later. In the meantime, you should follow my link on the posting where I talk about it, and watch their 'Lothlorien' video to get a taste of what it was like.
Anyway, good night.