Monday, May 15, 2006
So...Brighton is pretty much an all-out sensory overload, all the time. I feel like one of those cartoon characters whose eyes are perpetually popping out of its head. Every ten seconds I turn around to check out yet another stunning girl with bright blue hair or crazy piercings or dreadlocks -- which I usually find kind of icky, but somehow look incredibly cute on these tiny little blond girls in cargo pants.
So many people look like Tegan & Sara, and Katherine Moennig. It's totally wild, and GREAT. It's like being in the West End of Vancouver and on London's Old Compton Street, except it's a whole damn city. Neat.
I also must give this city an A+ for effort. It is, after all, on the south coast of England. It is nippy and windy and cloudy most of the time, and the beaches are made up of little brown pebbles and not sand. It may not be a tropical paradise, but it tries so hard to be that sometimes you start to believe it. It is also genuinely diverse and eclectic, full of cool little shops and vegetarian restaurants, one of which I went to and ordered a 5.95 pound (read: like 11 Canadian dollars!) salad with mango, avocado, fresh greens, and grilled haloumi cheese. It was pretty fucking fantastic, and totally satisfying sans viande. And I am no vegetarian. Bacon is my friend, and I love him.
I felt pretty homesick last night when I realised it was Sunday night and Mother's Day and I had neither a home nor a family to go home to. I sat in a dodgy Indian restaurant missing my family and missing Hayley, but I pulled it together, called my parents from the hostel phone, and then went downstairs to the hostel's "music room," absolutely determined to make a new friend.
As it happens, I made three of them.
Lisa was a loud, bubbly design major from Ohio. I found her a little abrasive and hard to take, though funny and talkative, and her boyfriend, Martin, was 150% adorable. He was an absolute dead-ringer for Ryan Phillippe, and an English major with a rock band who liked much of the same music I do. We talked and laughed until 2:00 am. Every single time I allow myself to think I'm done with boys, I meet another one like that. God, I would have shagged him in an instant, had he not been with Lisa (for pretty...er...inexplicable reasons, as she was really neither pretty nor very charming) AND leaving the next day. I never for a moment considered hooking up with a boy on this trip, but I should take my own life advice and never say never.
The other girl I met was actually from my hometown, a real West End type with short spiky black hair and cargo pants. Daria was tall, heavy, and clearly embittered by life. She'd been essentially orphaned as a teenager and forced to take care of her younger siblings, who from the sounds of it turned out pretty well. I admired her bravery, actually. She played the guitar for us and sang Leaving on a Jet Place, and I rather respected her appreciation of Ani DiFranco and Jack Johnson, as well as the fact that she writes her own songs. She was not an easy person to talk to -- she only laughed at my really good jokes, and let the others just slide awkwardly by. But I really respected her.
Maybe you're all horrified by my relentless character analysis of people I've just met. But getting to know strangers is one of my favourite pastimes, and don't worry, I'm usually very forgiving. Everyone has faults, and I have lots of them myself.
I better go. This rather seedy internet joint is being taken over by a bunch of rough 12-year-old kids with vocabularies consisting largely of words like "fuck," "faggot," "dickhead," "cunt," and "slag." The woman who runs the place is a saint for putting up with such pint-sized characters. They want to be industrial-town British gangsters so much it hurts. One of them has stars shaved into his head and is actually smoking a cigarette. I feel old.
I miss Hayley....thinking about her makes me happy and frustrated. It's a funny combination, indeed.
I'll write again when I can.