Date:         Sun, 10 Jan 1993 21:02:37 -0600
From:         Anne Burton Harwell <harwell@tenet.edu>
Subject:      Waiting in Dallas

Note: This was supposed to be the first posting in my WHTMIL series, which
I had *planned* on submitting after I returned, due to my foolish belief
that I could keep a FEW things in my life private from this list. But upon
my arrival in London I saw posts from Tony Harminc and GT discussing my
flight, so I just gave up and began posting as things happened. I never
bothered with this post at the time because it was already 24 hours out of
date, and by that time I wasn't posting anything older than 12 hours. So
here it is, the Lost Posting of the London Series:
---
Dec 30, 1992.

I had a four-hour layover in DFW on my way to London. Having nothing
better to do than fidget, examine the electrical fixtures and carpet
patterns, and walk, I was on my feet a lot. Finally one of those little
airport carts caught up with me and asked me which gate I needed to go to.
I told him, and he asked me to hop aboard, which I did, though I didn't
need to be at that gate for two more hours.

But it was fun to ride the little cart, piloted by an old man with a
strong north Texas accent, who periodically yelled out, "Scuse the cart!"
The cool dry air conditioned breeze ruffled my hair and I smiled at the
idea. He dropped me at my gate, and after he had disappeared on down the
hall, I, not wanting to appear ungrateful, walked on over to a snack shop,
got a Diet Coke, and returned to the lounge to watch the ballet on the
tarmac. Dozens of Boeings, Airbuses, and Mad Dogs pirouetted slowly and
gracefully before me and then flung their big fat wazoos into the air. I
was reminded yet again how beautiful aviation is, even commercial aviation.

Got bored after a while, decided to call GT. Argued over whether an
American long-distance call costs more at "coinbox" rates. Boy, I think, I
love the way those people talk.

Put on the Discman, INXS wailing a hard ballad in my ears, the cool
airport air, the show outside on the taxiways, the relative calm of the
moment all congeal for a second or two and I feel a little floaty. For a
brief instant I quit worrying whether GT and I will kill each other in a
murder-suicide argument over whether Ronald Reagan really was controlled by
astrologers and feel that possibly, everything might be all right.

-abh

Date:         Thu, 31 Dec 1992 07:05:17 -0600
From: Anne Burton Harwell <harwell@tenet.edu>
Subject:      Ha and Ha again

To heck with all of you: I'm here, I'm alive, and I've got  to
do... There's a 3-ft hard drive disk where my head has to lay. More
details as they develop...
-abh

Date:         Thu, 31 Dec 1992 12:02:15 -0600
From: Anne Burton Harwell <harwell@tenet.edu>
Subject:      Re: inventing a label

It was Heathrow. This is such a strange feeling...the typical
disjointedness always associated with air travel joined with the
body-clock confusion of seeing two sunrises in 24 hours. Sun goes down
here about 4:30 pm, they oughta do something about that.

Everything so far has been "same yet different." Same language, sort of,
but whacked expressions for everything. Where there should be "Exit," we
see "Way out." Obviously the Berkeleyan 60's never hit here. They have
public phones, but most of them don't take coins and you have to get this
little overpriced credit card to use them.

I was just in an antique bookstore, saw a couple of volumes for Mother,
took them to counter--the bright-eyed, fetchingly long haired angrogene
manning the cash register replies "95 pounds." Ha and ha again. But I did
consider, just for the briefest moment, asking if he had a real stand-up
shower in his house...

The European Community thang seems to be embraced only reluctantly.
Airport had special, more desirable ways of treating international
travelers, but signage directing EC travelers was sometimes a handlettered
piece of cardboard taped over an existing sign.

The English do not share our fascination with multiculturalism, and I've
been amused to note the start I've had upon realizing that there *is no
Spanish version* of directions on signage.

It's Ney Year's Eve now, way wicked dark, and I had thought there would be
something akin to Times Square going on, but this place is deader than a
doornail. lt's cold and unfamiliar, and I'm having a low grade case of
fan-tods and wondering yet again why I strayed from the blessed
burnt-brown cattle pastures of Texas.

Too soon to have had my Perfect Moment yet. You can never tell when those
scamps are going to sneak up on you, but I have high hopes for when I see
the Turners and Constables at the British Museum.

Judith, you'll take special notice of the fact that, yes, the bowels are
making themselves  again, but in the nicest possible way...have
already received stern warnings from GT to Flush Early; Flush Often.

Note to myself: quit trying to educate the entire UK regarding the natural
superiority of American customs.

Aww, forget that, we *are* superior...of course I have an obligation...

More later,
-abh

Date:         Fri, 1 Jan 1993 11:48:48 -0600
From: Anne Burton Harwell <harwell@tenet.edu>
Subject:      More songs about buildings and food

I've been . This pisses GT off, I'm afraid.

Brought over a new handy-dandy voltage converter, plugged in hair dryer,
and got precisely 30 secs of warm air out of it before the converter
exploded in a ball of flame and a loud pop. Bad smell followed.

Met Adrian, who runs the IBM pc users group here. Very smart, very witty,
very gone. He moves to the US in a few weeks. Smart, as I said.

Picadilly Circus. Tourists. Pushing. Abominable prices. Nelson's column. A
glimpse of Buckingham and Westminster through some trees and the promise
of a closer view later.

England is confounding..GT owns a sparcstation yet carries a skeleton key
on his chain, and it is not an ornament. There's this constant butting up
against the past with the future. I haven't yet had a good sense of what
present is here.

I can't believe ow many Indians live here. They even run the Chinese
restaurants.

More later,
-abh

Date:         Sat, 2 Jan 1993 15:58:43 -0600
From: Anne Burton Harwell <harwell@tenet.edu>
Subject:      abh has perfect moment

British Mse\um today. Expected the Elgin Marbles. Touched one (shhh). On
way out, through Theban gallery, monstrous statuary in quartzite and
basalt all sides, noticed a crowd gathered in an inconsequential-looking
corner, went over to see what the fuss was.

The Rosetta Stone.

Drooling on shoes, blathering, taken away twitching on stretcher. Yes.

Then went downtown for a look around. Had no idea in world that the
National Gallery would be featuring a special exhibit on Edvard Munch.
Almost passed out this time. Yes, The Scream was there. Rita, more painter
in this guy's little finger than in Magritte's whole body.

And then there was the Renaissance Wing: Tintorettos, Titians,
Botticellis, Leonardo(!), Michaelangelos. These guys don't buy no junk.

I am spent. goodnight.

-abh

>Date:         Mon, 4 Jan 1993 00:41:48 +0000
>From:         Anne 'Bandwidth Pig' Harwell <abh@pizzabox.demon.co.uk>
>Subject:      uh-huh

Tate Gallery. GT remains behind to do . I stay 4 hours. Can't
believe these Brits own all these really important works.

Bought tix to stage adaptation of Misery starring Sharon Gless. She was
good, but i liked her hair better in Cagney and Lacey.

Haven't yet figured out currency. I hand the clerk a gob of bills and coins
and ask if that is enough. Almost got ripped off by scurrilous pizza boy
last night as a result.

Snot has turned black. Thank you, Steph.

-abh

>Date:         Tue, 5 Jan 1993 16:07:07 -0600
>From:         Anne Burton Harwell <harwell@tenet.edu>
>Subject:      First major problem in London

Well, GT hit me in the face and broke my glasses. But we're still
speaking, so I guess it's OK. Actually it's giving me a chace to play on
his guilt and act the part of the  female, so there's a equity
in it. worst part is I have to stick my nose about 3 inches from the sceen
to post.

Other than that: Frank, we had dinner at a Russian restaurant and toasted you.
It was good, te wine was bette tan the food actually and there was a table
of loud drunks at the back who were acting like assholes. Oh: and a guy
walking by outside made a lascivious gesture at me with his tongue. Un-huh.

I've passed the peculiar point which happens in every vacation where you
sort of forget about how it was to live where your home is and wonder if
you really are supposed to live where you are vacationing.

The other night we ate at an Indian restaurant and toasted Tushar, for no
discernible reason. The food sucked, sort of, but otherwise it was all right.

Fizzy, never change, boy. Never change.

-abh

Date: Wed, 6 Jan 1993 08:18:31 -0600 (CST)
From: Anne Burton Harwell <harwell@tenet.edu>
Subject: And then the naked ladies came

GT bought tabloids "so you can get a balanced view of the news." These
things are just filled with naked models. I found myself mouthing the name
"Karsten" again and again...

Glasses fixed. Woman at counter looks at them (I had always thought they
were pretty high-tech Japanese stuff) and says, "where *did* you get
these, anyway? Just went all over me. Now if I could quit inadvertently
dropping back into the role of helpless femme... 

Fizzy called a while ago and we're going to fight it out at Harrod's big
sale in a bit. This sale is a really really big thing, so much so that the
IRA already exploded 4 bombs ("incindiary devices" to the locals) to
celebrate. Shopping hell...where I was born and bred, where I was
purpose-built for.

GT has taken a cold, and as my mother says, if a man and a woman come down
with the same disease at the same time, the woman will end up caring for
the man because men always get *sicker* than women. This is one reason
I've been taking so many walks in the neighborhood today ;-)

Natalie, I think everyone feels that way when they arre on a vacation long
enough to become immersed in the culture. Now, what worries me is my
sister said that about Las Vegas last summer after going with her husband!

It really was annoying being blind, but the world is so pretty when it is
nothing but a swimming light and sound show.

Called Mother, and she complained bitterly that I have messed up my accent
again. Judith, you may recall she said the same thing last summer while I
was in Yankee-land.

That's all for now,
-abh

Date:         Wed, 6 Jan 1993 20:54:15 +0000
From:         Anne 'Bandwidth Pig' Harwell <abh@pizzabox.demon.co.uk>>
Subject:      Another bodily injury and plans for Thai food

Cambridge. Fell and hurt ankle. Due to some aberrant childhood behavior, I
have been given a set of ankles to walk through life with which are not
quite set on the foot bones at the angle most people's are. Therefore, the
fall, this one the latest in a series of dozens.

But on to the day's visit.

GT exults. I have never seen him happier, more content, more at ease than
on the streets of Cambridge. He must have been happy the years he lived
here.

Chapel at King's College. Late Gothic architecture. My first time inside a
Gothic Church in person. Damp eyes, y'all. Overwhelming experience. As I
write this, GT is suggesting a  metaphor for my reaction, but
since I was in the House of the Lord, I will decline.

These people know how to build a church. And behind the altar, Rubens'
Adoration of the Magi. This was a perfect moment.

The bookstores (swoon). And the gorgeous young people. How *does* hair
that red actually grow out of a human head, anyway? GT notes that a
miserable side effect of getting older is the surprise one endures when he
realizes that the "pretty little schoolgirl" is really a second-year
university student.

Belgian chocolates, lots of walking, clean(er) air (than London), and the
smells of good food coming from the restaurants. It is a happy little
time. There's a feeling on the street, kind of a current that seems to
flow through everything, a sort of understood cadence which everyone
walks, a commonality in the way hands gesture and syllables are clipped.
It's like swimming.

There was this one wine shop where we stopped that another American came
in, and just as I always used to be in Mexico when a bus of American
missionaries would roll up to a beer joint where I was communing with the
locals, I felt deeply embarrassed and wished he would go away. He did,
thankfully, but I hardly opened my mouth to another Cantabrigian the
remainder of the day.

Before I knew it, I was getting tired and began to hint around about
dinner: what, where, when--mainly when. We turned back towards the train
station, and while I was running my mouth on some self-important piece of
dreck which the world would have been much the better without, I put my
right foot down in a hole and twisted the ankle. The endorphins
immediately fired and after about 5 minutes of pain I got as high as a
kite and stayed that way for half an hour.

Thai food, which had been intermittently discussed, was tabled as a
non-doable item, as well as the visit to (or by) Ann Witbrock.  (Ann is
the current keeper of the 'real' pizzabox - the planned visit was because
she'd been saying she wanted to try a decent Eiswein and that's what
caught my eye in the vintners - but we're going to be selfish and have it
ourselves as soon as its cool enough - G)

Perhaps tomorrow.

-abh

Date:         Thu, 7 Jan 1993 05:51:30 -0600
From:         Anne Burton Harwell <harwell@tenet.edu>>
Subject:      Dinner at Grand Nepalese

Tony was right about this place. First righteous meal since I've been
here. GT remained at home convalescing on his bed of pain (not a *word*
from you, Jenna) while Fizzy and I walked through the wretched cold rain
and splashing traffic to get to this place. It was just where you said,
Tony, and within walking distance, easy walking distance in any other
weather.

Natalie will be happy to know that for no discernible reason we toasted
her. Never say I didn't think of you, Nat.

And Tony, the guy in the hat actually remembered you, or made a darn good
show of acting as if he did ;-).

Today, mirabile dictu, we go to Cambridge.

And for all you who have been asking just exactly *how* I got hit in the
face hard enough to break my glasses, perhaps I forgot to say that you
should have seen *him* ....

-abh

>Date:         Fri, 8 Jan 1993 16:35:13 -0600
>From:         Anne Burton Harwell 
>Subject:      Panic attack and the unexpected emergence of some  news

Oh shit, I was on my way to the Tower of London when I realized I have to
go home tomorrow not day after.

When I got back, GT was getting pukey. Put on a most  display,
giving a gastroenteric equivalent of the Schliemann digs at Ilios.

Have been frantically finding  that has gotten snarled around
everywhere.

Agamemnon, where art thou?

-abh

Date:         Sun, 10 Jan 1993 08:51:01 -0600
From: Anne Burton Harwell <harwell@tenet.edu>
Subject:      Coming to America

We left the flat four hours before the plane was due to take off--a little
excessive, I thought, but GT and Fizzy had both emphasized the need to
allow three hours for all their security stuff. Turns out they were right
because not only was I subjected to the routine impertinent and rude
questions, but I also managed to be selected for a random search where
they opened my bag up and felt around inside (ohhhhhhhh). But the English
are so damned civilized and proper that they almost make you feel as if
you're doing them the greatest favor by not putting up a fuss. I began to
understand something of the English national spirit, the wilingness to
sacrifice for God and Country, their unswervable belief that this
particular plot of land is worth everything to preserve. Of course the
other side of that is these people are really scared of the IRA and
terrorism...

Chicago's Customs entrypoint was like Ellis Island--huddled masses. You
are deplaned out in the middle of the tarmac, Entebbe-style, and then
taken on a special bus that has no seats, only grappling straps, to the
customs house. A couple of Englishmen were standing in the bus in front of
me and were not amused at this barbaric treatment. "So welcome to
America," one of them said. I said, "Don't worry, it won't be this bad
again." The first Englishmen asked, "What have they got in store for us in
there?" I replied,

        "Oh, not much, a bunch of pushing and shoving, plus the
        searches."
        "Searches?"
        "Yeah, squat searches. But just relax and try to go with it and it
        won't be so bad. In fact, after enough of them, you'll come to
        wonder how you ever got on without them."
        "Bli-mey!"

The two guys looked panicked for a split second, then burst out laughing.
A couple more comments about that being why we're called the land of the
free and the home of the brave, and then it was like pigs through a chute
into the house.

I stood for an hour in a line that did not appear to be moving, but when I
got to the front, I was processed by a official who took one cursory look
at my declaration, stamped it, and said welcome home. O'Hare's method of
handling baggage for incoming international travelers is equally
baffling--you are made to pick your bags off one belt and personally place
them on another belt. Then you follow some green arrows painted on the
floor (which you were just told onboard the plane were green *stripes*)
and go into a terminal.

Jim Thomas and Tushar were waiting for me at the terminal. Tushar was on a
roll, waxing rhapsodic on every imaginable subject. We got beers and sat
down in a waiting lounge. Jim, although he had taken great pains to
describe himself to me, looked NOTHING the way I had imagined. He's tall,
with a runner's physique, but has nearly shoulder-length hair and a
moustache. Twinkly eyes and a demonic grin. Jim is in person just as he is
on the list: maddeningly intractable on subjects he feels passionately
about, stubbornly willing to beat a detail into the ground for the sake of
proving or disproving something, but also capable of great sensitivity and
feeling. Jim is the boy who would go into a fistfight knowing he was going
to get his ass beat just for the opportunity to get a few licks in before
he passed out.

We talked, and drank beer, and talked a little louder and rowdier. We
argued at length about ProjectH, drank more beer, laughed a lot. And
suddenly it was time for me to get back on the plane. I did, and fell
asleep almost immediately, not waking up until we were in Dallas airspace.

Dallas was under de-icing protocol, which meant more delays. I had no
trouble sleeping in the airport and on the plane, which was good, because
we had to wait almost an hour to be de-iced. Slept most of the flight
home, hit my bed at midnight--it had been 24 elapsed hours since I had
woken up at GT's.

Got up this morning and was startled at how much brighter the sky was than
London's, even though it was a gray overcast sky. Walked out into the yard
and picked up the paper which the delivery boy had precisely tossed on a
fresh pile of dogshit. Welcome home, Anne.

-abh