Slow Adventures in Slothville

July 7, 2004

Reality Is Creeping In

Filed under: Religion, Whateverall — shhville @ 10:57 am

One of the worst things about being single is not having anyone to meet you at the airport after you've flown half way around the world. It's the most startlingly alone I've felt in a long time. I got off the plane and picked up my bags, found a cab with a driver who looked like he was still in high school, watched Boston-at-night go by out the window on the way home. At home, there was hardly anything to eat. I made a ramen-style noodle bowl, fried some eggs, dipped the last of the swiss cheese right into the mustard jar. Munched half-heartedly on some dried-up baby carrots. After that there was only flour and some off mushrooms left so I went to bed and slept until six o'clock the next evening.

Travel journal part II

Flying low over the coast of Sydney, the sunlight looked like a spray of gold needles on the water. Every Australian I met on this flight admonished me for visiting their continent during the winter months. "Woy ah ye hea niow? It's fuckin' frigid, mate!"

Walking to the cab I noticed that it was about 65 degrees and people were wearing mufflers. Yeah, frigid. It's the same exact temperature it was when I left Boston, you CRAZY PEOPLE. And, ooh! We're driving on the left! And our bags are in the boot! And I smell like a dead baboon!

Day 1 begins – first order of business at the hotel was a shower and a tooth scrubbing. (In the bathroom of LAX I had to ask a stranger if I could borrow some toothpaste. She reluctantly squeezed a little blob onto a paper towel and handed it to me.) Felt so good to be clean. Other than some general wobbliness, no problematic travel symptoms. After shower strolled toward the harbor in search of a little cafe that Abysmal Crayon mentioned in a sweet, sad post on her site and found it without too much trouble. It's in a church and it's quiet and old and musty but clean and sort of ancient and mysterious feeling. I ordered a flat white and an anzac biscuit (since Crayon had explained what both were) and they were delicious. Afterward, we tiptoed into the church but then mass started and we scuttled right out as fast as we could. I like churches, but only to look at. Not to stand up and kneel and sing songs and stand up and kneel and pray and kneel in.

We walked down to the harbor and snapped some pictures of the opera house and the angular underbelly of the Sydney Harbor bridge. Wandering through The Rocks we stumbled across the back door of an art gallery and popped in for a look. I loved the paintings of extravagantly elegant women in big hats and pearls with berry-colored lips and eyes delicately closed. There are many narrow, winding stone staircases here but in some ways I keep being reminded of Boston. Certain parts of The Rocks look like a cleaner, more spacious Downtown Crossing. At 4 o'clock it was time for a pint (a "schooner," actually – they come in schooners and pints) and then back to the hotel for a little rest before dinner.

It got cooler in the evening, enough to wear a little jacket. Walking to dinner I saw parrot-looking birds and sleek sea birds with scythe-like beaks. The first restaurant we went to in Darling Harbor wouldn't make a martini because it wasn't on the cocktail menu. We were flummoxed. How is it possible to have a cocktail menu without a martini on it? And why is that you can make a drink with straws and pineapples and flames and rainbows and shit coming out of it but you can't pour a little vodka in a glass? Definitely time to move on. At the next restaurant we had mussels and garlic shrimp and I drank three yummy cosmopolitans, then went back to the hotel and slept like a rock in a river bed.



  1. If it makes you feel any better, about 50% of the time my wife makes me drive myself home from the airport.

    Comment by Gooch — July 7, 2004 @ 11:12 am

  2. I’m a big fan of being single. It means some other clueless and heartless bastard isn’t plunging his venomous fangs directly into your heart. Okay, probably usually I don’t feel that strongly about it, but being single is awesome in that you control your life, and not somebody else.

    Comment by bunny — July 7, 2004 @ 12:01 pm

  3. I agree with Gooch…only my wife NEVER picks me up. To her defense, I travel way too much. That is something I always missed, when you come out of a plane and there were all these people so excited to see loved ones, then us business travelers grumble and walk around them secretly jealous. September 11th changed that and I’ll not get my chance…unless you count baggage claim.

    Comment by Ehlers — July 7, 2004 @ 1:52 pm

  4. Not having anyone meet you at the airport…Not having anyone to meet you after work…Not having anyone to spoon against when you’re sleeping…Yeah, it pretty much blows.

    Of course, the story is much more complicated than that, but isn’t it always?

    Sounds like you had one dear Sloth, keep the narrative flowing.

    Comment by Nerdygirl — July 7, 2004 @ 2:04 pm

  5. The Dastard feels bad that Sloth is unhappy, and the Dastard never feels bad about anything!!! Dastard also feels bad that he failed with his dastardly “missing ticket plan” to keep Sloth Down Under. The Dastard has re-educated his Australian agents…permanently.

    Comment by Avuncular 1 — July 7, 2004 @ 2:08 pm

  6. Gooch! So there’s soon to be a baby Gooch, eh? Yeah, um. Good luck with that. I wonder if your wife will make Wee Gooch big-wheel him/herself home from the airport.

    Bunny – I actually am happy single. Sometimes I see happy couples and feel a twinge of jealousy, but mostly I think, “Thank god that’s not me right now.” I’m not very good at coupling up, really. Too much of a loner and the things I’m looking for in a long term relationship are so complicated that I seriously doubt they will ever be found. On the other hand, there are those moments, you know? Like when you really want to be missed. And there’s no one to miss you. Those are the times I feel sad.

    Ehlers – I was thinking about that very thing when I flew to Adelaide and realized that it is such a podunk airport that people can actually meet you right at the gate. It was such a novelty!

    Abra – Like I said, I’m happy being single right now, but there are those times. The other day I was sitting on the bus and there were these two fairly good-looking guys sitting in front of me. I was looking at the backs of their necks and realizing that it has been ages since I’ve touched the back of a man’s neck, been kissed, smelled that good smell of someone you are romantic with. I love arms, shoulders, necks, the line of the jawbone…ack, better stop. It’s just weird when you are happy and independent and then it occurs to you that you haven’t been touched by another person in a really long time.

    Dastard, you are such a Dastard!! And I’m not unhappy. Maybe a little wistful today, but nothing more. Thanks, though. 🙂

    Comment by Sloth — July 7, 2004 @ 3:20 pm

  7. Nice travelog of your journey. I’ve never left the country myself, something I intend to remedy soon. I know what you mean about returning home to nobody – being single has its perks, but I’ll take being with the woman I love over said perks any day.

    By the way, hello. Nice to meet you. I think I stumbled in from searching for people who have the same film interests as myself. Yes, yes…now I remember – you like Down By Law, too. Nice taste in film.

    Comment by Joseph — July 7, 2004 @ 3:27 pm

  8. (ooh, I love that movie!)
    So, Sloth, I’m curious to know–did you meet up with Crayon? Also, you say “we” a lot. Who were you traveling with?
    So many questions–keep on writing, gal, we gotta know the answers!

    Comment by Aimee — July 7, 2004 @ 3:49 pm

  9. omai – I love all things Tom Waits, which of course includes that wonderful and oft overlooked movie. Um…I was checking out your site and I think your cat deserves a beatdown. Any specific travel plans?

    Aimee – much as I would have liked to meet up with Crayon, I didn’t even ask. She seems like a very private person and I was sure she would not have wanted to meet me. I was traveling with my friend CB who I met here in a post-baccalaureate pre-med program which I wasn’t actually in, but we were taking a lot of the same classes. He’s in medical school there now so I thought I’d swing over and say hi, check out his pad, you know.

    Comment by Sloth — July 7, 2004 @ 5:09 pm

  10. Yeah, New Orleans was like that with the coats, and hats at 65 degrees. And we were all in shorts, and tee’s. Same in Florida. Hell, we waded in the water, and they told us we were crazy. Must be nice. So what exactly does a dead baboon smell like?

    Comment by Jamie — July 7, 2004 @ 6:16 pm

  11. I love your blog!! Your travel diary is awesome. Almost feel like I was there with you… but its been 90 degrees here. Can’t wait for your commmentary on Edwards.

    Comment by Inanna — July 7, 2004 @ 6:55 pm

  12. Thoughtful of you about Crayon. I think it is neat you went to the place she mentioned.

    Comment by lucidkim — July 7, 2004 @ 11:14 pm

  13. And one morning it was 70 degrees outside here and my daughter asked me to turn the heater on in the car. I thought that was quite hilarious. My little beach girl.

    Comment by lucidkim — July 8, 2004 @ 9:59 am

  14. Jamie – a dead baboon smells like a sloth after 22 hours of flight. It’s funny that you mention New Orleans. A lot of places in Adelaide had terraces and wrought iron balconies that reminded me of pictures I’ve seen of that city. I’ve never been there but would love to visit it. Any time other than Mardi Gras.

    Inanna – thank you! Sloths tend to slip into a coma at temperatures above 77 degrees. Fortunately, a coma is almost identical to our natural state, so no one usually notices. About Edwards, I will have more to say on him after the campaign gets going a little more. For now I’ll say that I think he was a good choice. His weaknesses (relative lack of experience in politics, being a second senator on the same ballot) are far outweighed by his strengths (those pearly whites, an impeccable voting record that has consistently been in favor of the working class, and that oh-so-valuable Southern accent). The best thing about his candidacy so far is the transformation it has worked on Kerry. Somehow, Edwards’ nomination has given Kerry a certain swagger and a looseness of body language that he desperately needed. I think his confidence is up and even though that isn’t a tangible improvement, it is an extremely important intangible one.

    Kim – I don’t know if you’ve been reading Crayon’s blog lately but she sometimes seems so fragile to me. Like a delicate piece of china that you don’t want to rattle too much. The cafe was sort of a refuge for her and I could really see why.

    I must say, I got a lot of funny looks, walking around in a skirt and sandals while everyone was wrapped up in scarves. I once knew a man from Brazil (sounds like the beginning of a dirty poem, doesn’t it?) who moved to Maine and wore scarves and coats all summer long while we were sweltering. Everyone has their own thermostat, I guess.

    Comment by Sloth — July 8, 2004 @ 11:12 am

  15. Yes, I’ve been reading Crayon and agree. I think your sensitivity to it was remarkably thoughtful.

    Comment by lucidkim — July 8, 2004 @ 8:36 pm

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