Friday, July 31, 2009

Pluckin’ at My Chicken Feathers

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it here before, but my mom doesn’t fly. Or drive on the freeway. Or venture out of the western United States, Mexico and Canada. My dad happily complies with these limitations, which means that my childhood was a pretty darn sheltered one.

It also means that I am sometimes temporarily paralyzed when it comes to embarking on new experiences. The insecure, small-town chicken inside me pipes up and clucks, “That is scary! Don’t do it!” Which is, of course, my indicator that I have to do it—if only to get over the fear.

This was exactly the case when I considered going into central London by myself. What if I got on the wrong train? What if there was a terrorist attack and all the trains shut down? What if someone stole my purse? What if I got sold into prostitution? What if I had to pee and couldn’t find a bathroom anywhere?

I expressed these concerns to my dear friend C, and she said, “What the hell are you talking about? Knock it off and get yourself into the city.”

Although I still took the semi-chicken route (selecting a tube stop on the main line out of Richmond so I didn’t have to switch) I put on my big girl panties and took the train to Westminster for the afternoon. And it was great!

Two of the times I’ve been to London, I’ve tried to go to Westminster Abbey and it’s been closed. So when I came around the corner and saw its doors open, I was thrilled. What a beautiful place it is, the tombs of knights and royalty lining its insides.

One of the alcoves I went into was dedicated to Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth (not sure which one) and my heart just swelled in there. My grandmas’ names are Mary and Elizabeth and they were both queens in their own right.

But the very best part of the Abbey was the Poets’ Corner. I didn’t even know such a thing existed until I wandered to a portion of the floor covered with incredible writers’ names—Robert Browning, Chaucer, Tennyson, Dickens, T.S. Eliot. It was like stumbling through the pearly gates into writers’ heaven. And I couldn’t take a picture of it. Heartbreaking.

After I finished my tour, I wandered over to The Eye and did some shopping at a gift shop. The whole trip went off without a hitch. And as expected, when I told my mom I had taken the tube alone she gasped, “You did WHAT?”


SoMi's Nilsa said...

Oh! So, you mean this trip is more than just spending some time with your handsome honey? Nice job! Next up, an express train to Paris? =)

laura said...

you forgot car washes -- your mom does not do car washes either. so glad you went to London on your own. But I saw no mention of spending the day at Harrods? Next post should include pictures and a map of the store (anbd perhaps some sale items). I need something to look forward to.

Mandy's Kidding said...

How could you not know about the Poet's Corner? Every English professor I had salivated and revered it like the Holy Grail of Literature.

Unless you weren't an English major.


Don't tell me. Not Journalism. Or worse yet, "Communications."


Mel Heth said...

Nilsa - I don't think I'll be getting on the express train. :) But Mr. W and I will be going to Burgundy, France in a couple weeks.

Laura - That store is CRAZY! It would take me weeks to try to map it. You're going to have to brave that one on your own!

Mandy - Awe knock it off you big snob! Of course I was a Comm major. I knew I wanted to be a copywriter all the way back in high school, so I majored in Communications w/a concentration in Advertising. And I LOVED it. And not knowing about the Poet's Corner made it even more delightful to stumble upon!

Anonymous said...

I love it and I'm so proud of you for soaking it all in! Big hugs!!!

Big Sister said...

Wow - you really were adopted!!! All this time I thought you were just the hole in the diaphragm. Mom probably had to lay down and take a Xanax just reading this post.

My wimpy little walk through NYC all by myself, without even taking the subway, is all I have to compare to your adventure, but the feeling of independence and excitement is still the same. Awesome pictures. Can't wait to see what you and Mr. W do this weekend. Hope you find a grocery store open....

Anonymous said...

Glad you wore big girl panties too!
I can live these ventures through you. I am sure your other parents, the "O" family gave you the courage to adventure. By the way, I have been to Mexico more than once and to Canada also several times. So I have been outside the US!

Lara Watkins said...

I love this post. You rock.

Anonymous said...

I wonder, having grown up in car-dominated LA, is it the public transit idea and possible problems (i.e. taking the wrong train, attacks, etc.) scare you? I only ask because I've seen the opposite: those from cities with large public transit systems who fear our cars and freeways here in LA!

Sizzle said...

I love how you're exploring! I feel sad for your mom that she'll never get to see so many of these fantastic sights in person.

christina said...

Good girl. :)