Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Welcome to Christmas

Yesterday Louis and I made the drive from Norfolk to Derbyshire, where Laura lives in a tiny little village called Wetton. It was a three or four hour car ride, but that was nothing compared to the nine hour drive down from Aberdeen so we didn’t sweat it. We spent quite a bit of time sweating it before we actually left, though. First of all, we didn’t hit the road until a few hours after Laura was expecting us to arrive at her place. That was just plain laziness on our part, which is kind of strange considering how eager we were to get away from the hellhole wasteland of nothingness that was Marham.

When we finally got the car all packed and set off, the car started making noises that convinced Louis it was going to break down before we made it as far as the petrol station. When we did reach the petrol station, we discovered that neither of us had any money and we couldn’t afford any more petrol than it would take just to get us back to Louis’s hellhole. What were we going to do? No way in hell were we going back to that place. We would get to Laura’s house if I had to give 7,000 blowjobs in exchange for cold, hard cash.

Unfortunately, it didn’t come to that. In the emerging tradition of me being blindsided by shitty situations that proceed to work out due to bizarre strokes of luck or good timing, the refund for my cancelled train ticket suddenly appeared in my bank account and we were able to buy the petrol and get to Laura’s. The writing staff for my life must have been previously employed by a bad soap opera, for the amount of cliffhangers with stupid solutions I keep finding myself involved in.

The drive wasn’t so bad in terms of time, but the motorways here are really, really confusing and I was just about the worst navigator Britain has ever seen. There are billions of these stupid roundabouts, which you approach as though driving to the center of a bicycle wheel using one of the spokes, then you get to the center and drive around in a circle and get off using another spoke. And there are so many routes with all sorts of numbers and signposted for different destinations and I’m sure it’s really easy if you’re used to them, but shit.

We got to Laura’s around 11 PM last night. Laura also lives in the middle of nowhere, but it doesn’t look like a bomb went off there and nothing survived the blast except for one house, like Louis’s does. There are rolling hills and other houses and cute villageness abound, and Laura’s house is Christmas spirit embodied. Warm, cozy, relentlessly but tastefully decorated, TWO CHRISTMAS TREES. It was like Christmas came over to visit, and it exploded, and pieces of it landed all over the place. (This image is much less off-putting if you remember that Christmas is an abstract concept and not an actual person.) Louis and I almost started weeping. Plates of warm, home-cooked food brought us even closer to the edge. It was beautiful.

Laura didn’t really know what to make of us. We just sort of arrived, marveled at her home with apparently way too much enthusiasm, and lovingly ate our food as if it was our last supper. Or our first one. We had only spent four days at Louis’s house, but it was almost devoid of money, real food, human contact except each other, or change of scenery. Ah, Laura’s house. It is good.


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