November 7, 2009


This is the Shubert Theater. Ten years ago, the Shubert Theater had its 15 minutes of fame when it became the heaviest structure ever moved, traveling a block and a half through downtown Minneapolis. Grandiose plans were made for its historical preservation and renovation. Then it sat untouched for ten years—a big, cream-colored brick that hasn’t accomplished anything lately. The Shubert Theater is an apt metaphor for my life.

The big thing that I want to accomplish is moving to London, England.

I first visited Europe in 1989. I was just about to graduate from college (anecdote: My mom told her friend that I was finally graduating after eight years. Friend: What’s she getting her PhD in? Mom: Oh no, it’s just her Bachelor’s degree.) and my mom, who collects teddy bears, booked herself, my dad, and me on a group tour. It was a pretty interesting time to be toodling around Europe. We arrived and departed from Frankfurt; we were warned not to smile at the East German border patrol across the barbed wire lest they open fire, spent a few days swooning in Vienna, and got incredibly nostalgic driving our motorcoach past the American Embassy in Budapest on the 4th of July.

The second teddy bear tour was to the UK in 1998. I knew I had found my soulmate. I can’t explain it, it was just a gut feeling that I was meant to live there. I’m a firm believer in intuition, instincts, and The Spark. It was a splendid two weeks.

We spent the first few nights in London, then Brighton, then headed north. There were two nights in the Lake District followed by three nights in North Berwick, Scotland, just to the northeast of Edinburgh. On this trip, I remember that time in North Berwick most fondly, actually. Our hotel was an old Georgian manor with a golf course between it and the Firth of Forth. I spent two of the three evenings walking the beach, singing Del Amitri songs to myself.

We ended with a few more nights in London, and by this time I was acclimated and loving it. I dragged my mom along on my pilgrimage to the Dr Marten’s shop in Covent Garden, where I also discovered Lush Soap. I didn’t get too crazy—it was a group tour with my mom after all—but the seeds were sown.

I returned home and embraced as much day-to-day culture as I could from Minnesota. I listen to 5 Live Drive nearly every day (still sad that Jane Garvey moved on, though Anita Anand is a firecracker in her own right) and Clive Bull on LBC, and at this very moment I am resisting the urge to bawl like a baby at the way Barry’s treating Pat at Roy’s wake on Eastenders (I’m seven years behind). I made a friend because of LBC and rabbits, and made several trips to London until 2002, when the finances collapsed.

The point isn’t for this to be a travelogue. I think you understand that I love England, or my slight experience of it.

There are three other germane points.

I’m coming up on my 15-year anniversary at my job. Groan. I’m comfortable and so don’t make a change, even though I think about doing so all the time now. For the most part, I have liked going to work every day and I have great bosses. If I didn’t and didn’t, I wouldn’t have. It’s hard to roust yourself when your laziness trumps your desires. I know it’s entirely within my power to effect a change. But I don’t.

As well, four years ago I bought a condo. What was I thinking? Because not long after I paid too much for my home, the housing market tanked. I’m trapped in a mortgage for at least five years, I figure, until things begin to turn around. I hope I’ll be surprised that it doesn’t actually take that long.

Recently, however, some stuff has happened with regard to my mortgage that lessens my financial constraints. So unfortunately, that will put the focus of failure more squarely on myself with regard to actually accomplishing something related to this dream I’ve had for 11 years.

The Shubert and I have been sitting on our asses for a long time. But at least I don’t weigh as much.

One Response to “Inertia”

  1. Dan Fone Says:

    There are lots of things I could and perhaps should say here, but the only thing that comes to mind in a recognisable sentence (this is a common problem) is ‘Yes, Barry was SUCH a numpty. (Rude Boy) Roy was a lovely man, and (Fat) Pat is close to being a bona fide national icon.’ And I haven’t even looked at Eastenders for about seven years. Oh, bar one absolute genius episode starring Jim and Patrick lamenting their love lives. Whole other conversation.PS – Maybe Spiros and I should start researching the researching the finest purveyors of pale ale London has to offer 😉

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