The chatter of a thousand voices and accents sounded like they were mixed together my a DJ from hell. The buildings were tall and old. I decided that since they didn’t get earthquakes out here it probably helped to keep everything intact for so long. Still though, the crowds, the noise, they were soothing. It was as close to home as I’d been in months. My ears were at home at least. Being from Los Angeles, it is the norm to have people al around you who don’t speak English. Speaking of my ears, they were freezing. I felt like I’d been walking around for hours, no, days. Maybe longer. People popped in and out of shops with bags bigger than their middles and eyes wide at the sign reading “50% off” and another sign reading ” fantastic holiday deals”. Ahhhh. Christmas time. Consumerism, steady rain fall and the chill of Winter on a Friday afternoon. not too cold, nothing that a decent overcoat couldn’t fight off. I had been looking for this place for hours. I think I was close but I couldn’t be sure. To be honest, I had given up reading street signs. They put them all really high up on the sides of buildings so I had stopped craning my head up like some sort of awkward alien giraffe looking for food. In reality though, I just thought it gave me away as a foreigner. An outsider. Someone who didn’t fit in. An outcast. A nomad. An illegal. I had to bury that shit. I have to go into every pub, restaurant and diner like I own the place. Confidence is key. I repeated this to myself until I had a headache. I asked a stump of a man on the corner where I might find a particular Itlaian restaurant I was told would be more inclined to hiring someone in my predicament. Sideburns that’d make Liberace jealous, a gut that invaded anyone’s personal space who had stopped to ask him anything and a bright red face that he seemed to be proud of. He’s probably drunk but I just saw him helping someone else so I’m sure he can tell me where the fuck this place is. I’m tired of looking and I don’t care if I don’t blend in, I just need to find this place and get it over with.
"Hi, can you help me find this address?" I point to my phone screen and rain droplets collect on the face.
"Put that thing away!" He shouted, disturbing pedestrians and causing a jolt that made me laugh.
"Take tha first left ya see there. See the green and gold pub?"
Blinking through the rain, I nod and squint—wiping water from my brow and motioning to let him know I saw the pub in the distance.
"Good, yer eyes work!"
He seemed to only laugh at his own jokes.
"Now turn left at that corner and keep the pub to your right shoulder, make another left and then turn right at Dean St."
"Thank you so much. I really appreciate it."
I was off into the mass of people—fighting for space along the crowded side walk, trying to breathe amongst the desperate shoppers and tourists. I was near to the restauarant now. I gathered myself, wiped a fresh coat of rain off my face, tucked my ipod and phone into my bag. I didn’t want them to see them bulging in my pockets and gather that I had travelled more than thirty minutes to get here. I’m so paranoid..
"Here goes nothing.." I mouthed under my breath.
To be continued.