October This and That: Dead Foxes, Go Home Vans and My Life is A Cheap Motel

October’s been a blast, you know. It’s been cold and wet and we’ve had lots of people over from Romania (not all at the same time, thank God!). So we did all the London touristy stuff for the umpteenth time, which is usually fun and games in regular autumn rain, but less so in end-of-the-world-several-hours-long downpours. Half a dozen colds later, V. and I are sort of getting back to our normal, averagely depressed selves, and looking forward to what I’m sure will be a sunny magical November.

But since this past month has been so busy for me, I haven’t had time to write as often as I would have liked. So I’m compiling some October related nuggets I’ve failed to develop into proper blog posts. This might turn into a monthly thing, or not. Having to stick to plans, especially ones I’ve made myself, has rarely worked for me.

*

I know I’ve written about our neighborhood before, but I’ve yet to mention the most amazingly awesome thing about it.

It’s got foxes.

Now, I’ll start by admitting I’ve never gotten close and personal with foxes before. Back home, you don’t run into them in your back yard. You don’t run into anything really, no foxes, no squirrels, no raccoons, nothing. There’s a lot of stray dogs but they’re not particularly friendly, and almost succeeded in turning me into a non-dog-person. I think I left Romania just in time for the transformation to still be reversible. But I digress.

We used to be so proud of our little family of foxes. We’d go down to the parking lot after midnight, just to see them sneaking around, I’d take out my phone and snap photos, some of which would invariably end up of Facebook, accompanied by smiley faces and little heart emoticons. What, did you think I was only moderately lame? Nope.

Anyway. The foxes are gone. I haven’t seen one in months and trust me, I’ve been looking. V’s sure they’re coming back, but I think he’s only saying it so that I stop moaning about it. I think they’re really gone. Vanished. They probably saw one of the the Go Home Vans and changed their minds about hanging out with humans altogether.

*

OK. I haven’t actually seen any of these Go Home Vans myself. They’re part of a new UK Home Office campaign aimed at illegal immigrants, which involves Home Office vans emblazoned with the slogan “In the UK illegally? Go home or face arrest” being driven around London. It’s been considered too blunt, racist and a waste of time and money, and has generated quite an amount of, oh, let’s call them debates, all over the media, British and world wide. In the end the campaign got binned, but a lot of my Romanian friends, especially those still based back home, have been bombarding me with sympathetic messages, expressing their outrage at the public persecution I’m facing here. And then even more loudly expressing their outrage at the fact that I felt little outrage myself.

But I’m not an illegal immigrant, I somewhat tried to justify my attitude; therefore ignoring the obvious flaws of the campaign, I’d rather just go on with my life than spend 20 hours a day moaning about it on Facebook. Apparently, I am extremely and hopelessly naive (to be read plain dumb).

It’s just, I’m dealing with plenty of offensive attitudes in various shapes and colors on a daily basis. It’s not something I’d expected when I moved to London (Go figure, I thought I’d be respected! Unrealistic much?), and it’s not something I take lightly. But I need my life to be made of more than that. At times I need to think about my mental sanity, and this is the best way I know how.

As for this Go Home Vans thing…

It would have been an unfortunate choice of action.

It’s not happening.

I’ll stop ranting about it on Facebook now, is that OK with all of you violently indignant people?

*

I began this post by bragging about my many Romanian friends willing to visit me in London, and perhaps for a second there you actually considered there might still be hope in the world for crazy antisocial little me. The fact that I often choose to hang out with the neighborhood fox pack over human contact, has probably burst that bubble though.

Regardless of all that, there are indeed several living and breathing people dropping by our place whenever Wizz Air flight prices go on sale. They’re nice enough guys and gals and I’m always happy to see them and accommodate them in our very posh, one bedroom flat the likes of which they’ve never seen before, but sometimes I wish we were more like cheap motel owners. Showing them to their room, giving them the keys and going back to reception and an EastEnders episode rerun. Because all these guests can really get on your nerves, I tell you.

Allow me to exemplify.

ME: So, London, huh? Have you thought about what you’d like to see?

GUEST: Nope. I figured you’d easily come up with a two weeks itinerary for me. But pick really super duper Facebook-photo-opportunity places, OK?

Now, don’t get me wrong. I love to help. I have, after all, seen all these places a million times before. But you know, you paid for this trip, it’s your time off, are you POSITIVE you don’t want to have ANY input in the itinerary whatsoever? Because if you don’t, we’ll end up like this:

GUEST: Hey, you picked all these places I need to BUY TICKETS for! Why didn’t you tell me it wasn’t all free? And what’s this? A room full of mummies/paintings/stuff? I’ve seen a million of those, what’s wrong with you!

I’ll be badly fighting the urge to strangle you at this point.

Oh, and if you’re hungry, tired, cold, upset, or in a mood I should run and take cover from, why not just let me know? I’m the image of caring and understanding, especially when it saves us both from mental and physical breakdown.

ME: Are you hungry?

GUEST: Noooooo, let’s go see places, let’s go let’s go let’s go!!!

ME, 10 minutes later: Are you sure you’re not hungry? We can stop for a bite, everything’s still going to be there after we’ve stuffed ourselves.

GUEST: Now way no way, I can’t remember ever being hungry in the last 20 years. I feed on culture!

GUEST, another 10 minutes later: I think I’m going to faint.

You’re my friend, therefore I’ll probably not hurt you. Too badly. But I’ll be a monster. I’ll wake you up every morning at 7 AM as I’m getting ready for work, slamming doors and singing Lady Gaga songs in the shower. Marmite sandwiches will be the only thing on the breakfast menu. And when you give me the Oh, it’s raining. Again. along with one of your It’s your fault looks, I’ll forget to mention I’ve got an umbrella in my purse we can share.

Other than that, all is fine and dandy. November will be bringing along a final pair of guests before the winter holidays, and countless amazing new adventures I’m sure will fry an acceptable amount of my brain cells and will very much improve my will to live. Bring it on!

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