Posts Tagged ‘Pigeon’

Andrew to Deutschland… er, Nottingham… with his wife… part 3

‘ello my luverlies,

It seems that the motherland cannot keep me away. Here I return to the Old World for a third time, despite her attempts to repel, bar, forbid, stymie, or delay my entry. This journey, however, is laden with several twists- 1.) I have not come alone, for my wife has been gracious enough to join me; 2.) We have landed in England, instead of Germany, on the first leg of our journey for an extended layover… for a minimum of three years.

This is an enormous transition in our lives and I would greatly prize the opportunity to share with you all (y’all) an account of what has come to pass in the past several days. Even should you object it is of little consequence, as I have clearly published this without awaiting your permission. If you find yourself seething with rage over such lack of solicitude, consider this a scribal slap on the cheek of whichever end you prefer. The only apology I submit is in regard to the address. No one speaks like that here. Now then, ice your bum and join me on an adventure through the past with the Talberts:

Having finally secured all of the necessary documents for entry into the UK, packed our bags, and double-checked everything to ensure we had not left even a button behind, I found myself perusing the website for the University of Nottingham the evening before our departure. Unsure of how the health system works in the UK, I decided to check the webpage for the university clinic, only to be greeted with the promise of “Free Chlamydia testing” for all patients- “You don’t even need a doctor present!” I hoped to myself quietly that this did not in some way reflect the environment into which we were about to venture. Then I promptly signed Bethany and myself up for 8 Chlamydia tests each… We can’t pass up free offers.

The next day passed by quickly and with relative ease. At four o’clock we found ourselves on a plane to San Francisco. The only thing of note in the San Francisco airport are their amazing hand dryers, which are fabricated by the Dyson vacuum company- the company that advertises, “What makes our vacuums better is that they never lose suction… I have a British accent”- jerk. The hand dryers are mounted low on the wall and have a lengthwise slit in which one inserts their hands. As the hurricane force winds activate, you slowly drag your hands through for virtually arid child-smackers. Airport security frowns, however, on one dragging their buttocks or other appendages through the aforementioned dryer, regardless if they have likewise been washed in the adjacent sink. Oh, and by the way, airport security man, a person can’t be nude if they’re wearing a backpack!

By seven p.m. we were jetting to England. Not long after our departure, the food service began, and without going into any detail about my wife’s ability to “test,” I will just note that she stated, “The pasta tests better than the chicken.” So, following her recommendation (as though I had a choice otherwise), I partook of what has come to be known, in my eyes, as the foulest misrepresentation of Italian cuisine in the troposphere, or any other sphere for that matter. I imagine the cooking process went something like this: The chef boiled the ziti noodles for approximately 30 minutes. When his assistant drained said noodles, the head chef scolded him, “You idiot! These noodles are too firm. We want something more like the consistency of soggy Rice Krispies.” The noodles were then boiled for an additional seven hours, drained, and then masticated by the cooking staff, who then regurgitated the noodles and reshaped them in the image of ziti. The head chef immediately inundated the ziti with Ragu, baked it, kissed his finger tips, and sent it off to be loaded on the next plane to London, where Bethany and I managed to control our gag-reflexes long enough to consume half of our dinner.

In an attempt to relax, I perused the Skymall magazine briefly with occasional comments from wife. The most impressive was her note that a laptop stand designed to rest over one’s body while they lay in bed looked like a robot attempting to seduce the computer user. She promptly ordered one.

It was at this point that I decided to attempt sleeping. I closed my eyes and clutched our important documents pouch to my chest, as Bethany had terrified me with stories of people stealing passports from other passengers as they rested. As I sat there, I imagined a group of dwarves inconspicuously and silently stacking like LEGO blocks next to our seats as we slumbered, opening our overhead luggage compartment, and rifling through our bags only to take our passports and a pair of bikini briefs, which I assume they would use as eye-patches to feign being pirates while they jet-set around the world, abandoning our passports once they build up an intimidating warrant with Interpol. I have made it my personal mission to immediately dispatch any dwarves with whom I come into contact, bikini briefs or otherwise. Much to my amazement, I managed to sleep for the majority of the flight, while Bethany suffered enduring boredom, interrupted by bouts of jogging and interpretive dancing in the aisles of the plane. She must have been more wary of the dwarves than I. At one point I awoke overwhelmed with fear, having come to the realization that we were, in fact, moving to a foreign country, but I quickly suppressed it by inhaling an entire canister of oxygen and spewing insults at the first and business-class passengers until I passed out.

Though Bethany made multiple trips to the bathroom, I managed to limit mine to only one close to the conclusion of the flight. I have a fear of airplane bathrooms due not to trauma, but an overactive imagination. I use the toilet quickly, for I fear that turbulence will take place at the most inconvenient moment, and that I will be tossed out the door onto my face with my pants at my ankles and my hindquarters in the air, looking as though I have been romping in the mud, but I digress.

After landing, Bethany and I scurried over to the customs line, hoping to get through quickly, as we had a bus to catch. While waiting, I took note of a sign warning about the various symptoms of swine flu and their effort to prevent it from entering the UK. Only days before, I had developed a sore throat, which had matured to a full-fledged head cold and that same anxiety stemming from undersized, purloining privateers, arose once again. I was sure that the customs officer would bar me from entering if he heard a single sniffle. So, I made an effort to speak and breathe as little as possible. The customs guard did not make things easy, however, as he had come to work that day with hair that looked as though it had gotten into an altercation with a child who had been playing with paste. I saw through this trick, though, realizing that it was one of their tools for limiting migration: insult the officer and get sent back home. We simply stood before him and nodded- my wife delirious from sleep deprivation, and I nearly purple from oxygen deprivation. We’re masochists to a certain degree.

From there, we ventured to the baggage claim and were greeted by the palpable aroma of a urinal. As there was no bathroom in sight, I took it upon myself to hand-check our luggage and ensure that no one had simply gotten confused or decided to open our bag and make clothes-and-tinkle-soup. God had favored us on this day, though, and we marched on to the bus station. As Bethany has a bladder the size of a mustard seed, and the biblical principle of its potential for growth applies not in this situation, we made a quick stop at the toilet- a stop for which I am incredibly grateful. For, as Bethany entered the women’s restroom, the man responsible for supervising the restrooms turned and faced me. At first there was nothing particularly striking about this gentleman. He was of average height, a tad on the thin side, wearing a uniform, and of Indian background, but then rotated his head in my direction. Somehow this man had managed to grow what would pass for hedges upon his brow- thick, black, pinnacled eyebrows that reach toward the heavens and violently challenge his hairline to progress any further. I believe that he was revered as a holy man in his home country and has since migrated to live a life of anonymity in the UK while in pursuit of enlightenment. Bethany dragged me away, my mouth agape, muttering something about the “last time we miss a bus because of eyebrows.”

Shortly thereafter, we arrived in the central bus station with eight bags in tow and my wife left the bags in my ward while she went to check the schedule. I like to believe this is because she regards my bag-guarding skills quite highly, but I know that it’s more accurate to accept that she views me as her caveman, with at least the capability of saying, “Mine!” should someone attempt to walk away with a piece of our luggage. At the same time, however, I recognize the benefit of this arrangement, for my wife would be unable to defend our possessions with her reduced musculature, children’s wrists, and whispers. We were fortunate that the bus station shielded us from the wind, as using the leash is somewhat humiliating and I have to constantly explain that it isn’t actually a bizarre kite, but my wife overhead. At any rate, I found myself with the bags, observing my surroundings, most especially the large number of pigeons scurrying about. I found myself pondering and suspending my concept of “pigeon,” such that the longer I observed them, the more ridiculous they seem. Why must they bob their heads with every step? Though being no ornithologist, it hardly seems essential to their locomotion. Does it give them the momentary illusion that they are moving faster than they actually are? It seems bizarre that birds would have such a pace-oriented complex. No matter though, I quickly moved from observation to kicking, finding this task much easier and enjoyable than developing a philosophy of “pigeon.” The other patrons watched at length before finally imploring me to cease, not because of humane concerns, but more because of blood-spatter and feather inhalation. The wife only scolded me for abandoning our luggage.
The bus ride to Nottingham was rather uneventful, except that it provided a laminated sheet of exercise recommendations for travelers. This included extending one’s legs at an angle with knees straight and swirling one’s legs in concentric circles, though it provides no information on where one is to find the amount of room for such an exercise. The second exercise involves a person stretching out their foot and somehow causing it to vibrate violently to increase blood flow. I am still unsure what it is about British anatomy that enables such vibrative capabilities, but I believe it may have something to do with their evolutionary linkage to bumblebees.

Quickly, I must add that Bethany and I overheard a conversation between two sisters in the seats next to us that distressed us greatly. The older of the two asked (begin British accent), “What’s the name of the place where Jews pray again?” To which the younger replied, “A mosque.” “Oh, right” (end British accent)… Bethany and I awoke hours later on the curb with our bags at the university.

We arrived at our new home in Beeston around 9 p.m. and were greeted by our landlords. They were incredibly helpful. Before crashing for the evening, we made a quick stop at the local market to pick up a few essentials. Bethany grabbed the products that “tested” the best, including a quart of milk that cost us 10 pence, and a box of cereal. Little did we know that it was 10p because it was on the verge of expiring, but Bethany’s testing has proved true and the milk is still fresh. The cereal on the other hand, would benefit greatly from a reduction in sawdust and cardboard. I added a branch of Rosemary just to impart some flavor. It is now what we call “Bethany’s cereal,” as we have since purchased a brand with more than three granules of sugar that I am able to consume.

Knowing that a container of our possessions will arrive any day now, we have delayed purchasing most household goods, with one exception. Our landlord kindly provided us with sheets and a hand towel, but we have found it increasingly difficult to shower. The hand towel only dries so much of an adult body, and shared between two people strains its drying capabilities. I finally cracked when I rolled over in bed the other morning and saw my wife lying with her sopping head wrapped in her pajama bottoms on her pillow. We now possess a towel.

The weather in Nottingham fluctuates between a balmy 50 degrees and a steamy 64 degrees, with rain showering intermittently like an old man with prostate issues (is that a recycled Germany joke?) All joking aside, the whole process of getting here has been a blessing, and we have found everyone to be quite friendly. My supervisor and his wife have been more than accommodating, and we visited a church attended by several other theology students. They even invited us to a picnic where we had the opportunity to socialize! We greatly treasure your prayers and miss you greatly. This is the beginning of a path upon which we believe God has led us and we are excited to engage this new horizon. We shall update you as time allows. Please write when you have a chance, and know that there is a bed available for you here in Nottingham.

Andrew “Friar Tuck” Talbert
Bethany “Gelid” (look it up) Talbert