Later I woke up to a house empty of people but full of possibility. I could, if I were so inclined, shower until all the hot water was gone, play obnoxious music loudly, even on repeat if I were feeling particularly devilish, make a huge mess in the kitchen, melt records in the oven, have people come over... Actually as you can maybe tell by my list, there isn't much difference in levels of freedom between my house with or without roommates, the important thing for this blog is that I sure felt like a teenager who just received his driver's license, a new world of possibilities just opened up. But perhaps a better analogy would be a dog that finally escaped the yard but know has so much freedom that he ends up too scared to do anything but stay in the front yard.
I checked my email, nothing there, so after messing around some more on the computer I headed out onto the deck to read a book, a little disappointed that nobody took my up on my admittedly casual beer drinking invitation. I have a few books that I would like to read but somehow I found myself picking up Notes From a Small Island, a Bill Bryson book that I've already read.
Bill Bryson has to be one of my favourite authors, with his dry humour, his sarcasm, his obscure but fascinating tidbits of information and his effective, and sometimes liberal use of cursing. I like to recommend his books to people but I get nervous in case people realize that my writing style is pretty much just a ripoff of his.
I read the following excerpt last night on my front porch, and found myself laughing out loud. Bill is traveling round England and spends a miserable rainy evening in a quiet town. Heading back to his hotel a car comes by splashing him. He return to his hotel in ill temper to find that he is locked out and soaking wet.
There were two doorbells, and I tried them both but without response. I tried my room key in the door and of course it didn't work. I tried the bells again, leaning on them both for many minutes and growing increasingly angry. When this elicited no satisfaction, I banged on the glass door with the flat of my hand, then with a fist and finally with a stout boot and a touch of frenzy. I believe I may also have filled the quiet streets with shouting.
Eventually the proprietor appeared at the top of some basement stairs, looking surprised. 'I'm so sorry, sir.' he said mildly as he unlocked the door and let me in. 'Have you been out there long?'
Well, I blush to think at how I ranted at the poor man. I used immoderate language. I sounded like Graham Taylor before they led him off and took away his warm-up suit. I accused him and his fellow townspeople of appalling shortages of intelligence and charm. I told him that I had just passed the dreariest evening of my life in this God-forsaken hell-hole of a resort, that I had been soaked to the skin by a carful of young men who between them were ten IQ points short of a moron, that I had walked a mile in wet clothes, and had now spent nearly half an hour shivering in the cold because I had been locked out of my own hotel at nine o'clock in the fucking evening.
'May I remind you,' I went on in a shrill voice 'that two hours ago you said goodbye to me, watched me go out the door and disappear down the street. Did you think I wasn't coming back? That I would sleep in a park and return for my things in the morning? Or is it merely that you are a total imbecile? Please tell me because I would very much like to know.'
The proprietor flinchingly soaked up my abuse, and responded with fluttering hands and a flood of apologies. He offered me a tray of tea and sandwiches, to dry and press my wet clothes, to escort me to my room and turn on my radiator personally. He did everything but fall to my feet and beg me to run him through with a sabre. He positively implored me to let him bring me something warming on a tray.
'I don't want anything but to go to my room and count the minutes until I get out of this fucking dump!' I shouted, perhaps a trifle theatrically but to good effect, and stalked up the stairs to the first floor where I plodded about heatedly in the corridor for some minutes and realized that I didn't have the faintest idea which was my room. There was no number on the key.
I returned to the reception area, now once more in semi-darkness and put my head by the basement door. 'Excuse me, " I said in a small voice, "could you please tell me what room I'm in?'
'Number 27, sir.' came a voice from the darkness.
I stood quite some time without moving. 'Thank you' I said.
'It's quite all right, sir,' came the voice. 'Have a good night.'
I continued reading while thinking about writing this blog. I had intended on writing it last night but my neighbours invited my over to watch Waiting for Guffman so I postponed the blog. I think the blog suffered for it, but ultimately I had a better time and certainly laughed more.