Saturday, May 11, 2002

In Summation...

So this would be the last update from London. I fly back to New York tomorrow and am currently pretty much ready to go.

Is it sad that I have spent an hour and a half of my last day in the computer lab? No one else is here, which is very nice, and I'm rather exhausted. So there's my justification. I did go to the Tate Modern today. This visit, combined with Thursday's jaunt to the Tate Britain, confirmed my unflagging resentment of modern art. I could go on and on (and in fact, I did Thursday night, subjecting poor Christine to a 45-minute tirade), but suffice to say I find it mostly to be a big steaming load.

I liked the Rodin sculpture though. Too bad there were only two.

But why dwell on that? Here are a few reasons why I'm sad to be leaving London:
  • Free museums. Somehow it feels better blowing twenty pounds at the gift shop if you didn't pay five to get in.
  • Historical context. America preserves a square mile of Philadelphia and creates Williamsburg, VA in order to celebrate its 300-year heritage. London sits back and laughs and laughs and laughs.
  • Gratutitous pageantry. They may be a drain on taxes and a gangly brood of anachronisms, but the Windsor dynasty is way more fun (and far less frightening) than the Bush dynasty. And when they decide to party, they do not muck around. Jubilee 2002 versus the inaugural ball? I hardly think there's a comparison.
  • Yellow journalism. London's tabloids achieve heights of tackiness and sensationalism that the New York Post only dreams about. It's the stuff that makes me take the hypocritical stance of abhorring the notion of ever being professionally involved with it, but happily giggling over it in the supermarket checkout.
  • Proximity to Paris.
  • Proximity to Dublin.
  • Professors who are knowledgeable and enthusiastic about the subjects they teach. Who knew?
  • Regular use of the word loo not as applicable in the U.S.
  • Parks. The well-landscaped, sprawling, lovely Hyde Park beats the overcrowded, over-paved, fishbowl that is Central Park any day of the week. Plus, pelicans at St. James' Park!
  • Fish and chips.
  • Digestive cookies.
  • Padded seats on the Tube.
  • Charing Cross Road and its financially-draining but oh-so-stimulating bookshops.
  • Virgin Radio.

And why it's nice to go back:

  • Paying in pounds is not healthy for students and other living things.
  • As lovely as Britain's museums are, the Met could take any one of them in a fight.
  • The scary public-service announcements have spread to the radio now. Time to leave the country.
  • Moby will be signing CDs at Tower at 4th and Broadway on Tuesday.
  • Living arrangements will no longer be confined to one room.
  • No more feelings of self-righteous indignation after listening to NYU London Students wear their ignorance like a badge of honor ("Omigod, my friend told me the Changing of the Guard is, like, so not worth it. One guy, like, taps another guy on the shoulder and tells him to, like, take a hike. It's, like, f---ing ridiculous, y'know?")
  • Iced tea.
  • Seeing family, boyfriend, friends, kitty, etc.
  • I will now have the opportunity to earn back all the money I squandered this semester.

I believe that covers it. See you Stateside.