July 15, 2011

Sitting on the steps of St. Matthews Anglican Church, Notting Hill. I had the chance to say morning office for the first time in a couple of days. I have come to depend upon that practice like no other, it seems. A great sense of relief fell on me as I spoke the words. My head cleared. My ears popped, my sinuses drained . . .I opened again after a couple of days of tightness.

My heart has not quite caught up with me yet. Still a couple of hours behind my body. I had hoped it would be here by now, but since it is not, I have little to write about of a heart nature, except that a man without a heart is not much of a man. I don’t think an otherwise normal man could live more than a week without one and not become permanently fixed; hard as flint, dead to life.

So I will take this first opportunity to write for making some essentially heartless, unconnected observations. It may be interesting to contrast them with what I hope to be heart-felt observations made later.

Heartless Observation Key:

£. Neutral Observation
+ Positive Observation
–  Negative Observation
!  Uncategorized

£. Travel was uneventful as travel goes. No hiccups, delays or miscues.
+ Everybody worked really hard to contain their various, individual expressions of travel stress. Good effort ladies 🙂
–  None of us completely succeeded.
+ This is one of those times when effort counts more than success, so once again, Good job to all of us.
+ Weather has been spectacular! Feels like Spring in Washington, and since we didn’t get one of those this year, this feels like a gift.
£ Where do Londoners keep all the trash, fat people and the homeless? I have seen almost none of them.
+ iPad was a great idea ( if I do say so myself)
–  Need 3 more iPads.
£ London is a truly international city. I have spoken to two people in Portuguese already, heard more other languages than I have ever heard before, and English is not the most often heard.
–  Americans are looked at with a certain. . . Suspicion.
+ American values have clearly permeated the planet and filtered back into international cities like London.
– American values have clearly permeated the planet and filtered back into international cities like London.
! American kids are, by far,  not the worst behaved kids in the world. Oh my GOSH! I have heard whining, fits, selfishness and rebellion in so many different languages.
+ Everyone who says the London Underground is awesome, is right. The color of the handrails matches the color of the specific line on the map! Brilliant!
+ I touched the Roman constructed wall which defined the perimeter of Londonium. wow.
+ Barclays CycleHire: We need some more of that in the US.
£ Keep LEFT, LOOK right, Stand RIGHT. . .you’ll be fine.
£ I have not felt under-dressed, or like a rube from Stanwood, or  worried about my clothes in quite sometime. Man, I feel like I have no class at all. For the first time in years, I’m thinking I need a suit, a nice suit with a well chosen, colorful tie.
– I have always avoided crowds, but it seems my sensitivity to them is increasing with age. The “Tube” experience requires deep breathing.
£  Why do Londoners object to bathrooms and trash cans? It’s really hard to find either.
– I hate to sound like such an old guy, but I’ve noticed that younger people of EVERY culture seem more self-absorbed and inconsiderate. See comment on exported American values above.
+ Thanks England,  for making a place where just any schmuck can walk in off the street and see the Rosetta Stone and sculptures from the Parthenon for absolutely free. Putting them back where you found them should also be a serious discussion, though.
– Muggy in London? Who knew!
+ Tower of London, Tower Bridge, Big Ben, Catamaran on the Thames, Bangers and Mash in a proper British Pub, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Red Double Decker Bus, Trafalgar Square, changing of the Guard, Buckingham Palace, “We will Rock You” at the Dominion Theater, British Museum and the Harry Potter Finale. Phew. Paris tomorrow.

4 thoughts on “July 15, 2011

  1. “I opened again after a couple of days of tightness.”
    -This was a great description, Dan. After reading this, I said to myself, “I know exactly what he means.”

    “My heart has not quite caught up with me yet. Still a couple of hours behind my body. I had hoped it would be here by now, but since it is not, I have little to write about of a heart nature, except that a man without a heart is not much of a man. I don’t think an otherwise normal man could live more than a week without one and not become permanently fixed; hard as flint, dead to life.”
    -Wow! Not sure what else to say, Mr. Hazen. You are rocking the literary nerd in my soul.

    Love the Heartless Observation Key….very helpful. 🙂

    Can’t wait to see you in that suit and I loved your statement about the Tube requiring deep breathing. 🙂

    Thanks for letting us into your mind’s eye.

  2. Glad you’re all enjoying the journey so far – this adventure really is one where the journey is more important than the destination 😉

    + Weather has been spectacular! Feels like Spring in Washington, and since we didn’t get one of those this year, this feels like a gift.

    Not sure which country you’re in but I think the weather will oblige by getting wetter…

    + Barclays CycleHire: We need some more of that in the US.

    Ah, the curious ‘Boris Bikes’ named after London’s mayor

    £ Why do Londoners object to bathrooms and trash cans? It’s really hard to find either.

    Litter bins disappeared during the the period when Irish republicans used them to conceal small bombs to terrorise the British mainland. Public conveniences disappeared because they smelt. You may find the occasional super-loo 😉

    Andrew

    1. Ah, yes! the bad old days of bombings in London. Makes sense. Thanks, Andrew. As far as the odor from public bathrooms: 17 years as a plumbing designer prior to pastoring affords me the knowledge to say that ONE thing the English have missed is proper traps on their waster lines, and adequate vents on their waster systems. I have encountered gurgly pipes, slow drains, and fragrant loos in every place we’ve been. Haven’t seen ONE proper “P” trap or sizable VTR (vent through roof) yet.

      Sounds like a scene from the movie “Brazil”

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