My Big Epiphany in London

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When I was a young man, I began searching for the meaning of life. Along the way, I wrote a travel journal, a mix of prose and poetry, and labelled it Fool’s Odyssey.

Newly arrived and oldly lost, I spent my first feverish night at a third-rate London B&B waiting for the sun to rise. I was pretty sure they still observed mornings here.

Is it morning? No. Sleep. Is it morning? No. Sleep. Is it morning? Yes!

Pause.

Morning where?

Pause.

England.

Oh, God!

Breakfast. What? Eat breakfast. You know, “Break your fast.” That’s English, hah, hah, hah—

Oh, God!

I clambered down ten flights of stairs to a bed-and-breakfast basement with good-morning-yellow wallpaper, mediocre marmalade, bogus bangers and bloody eggs. Oh, yes, and fake Tang (which in itself is fake orange juice), along with sexless white toast, counterfeit coffee and tea-hee-hee.

Me. With fourteen Arabs, and one Japanese fellow.

Yoshi Tsukura practiced his English on me while I dangled on the brink of eternity: Is this it? Is this culture shock? Is there life after breakfast? If an egg falls in the forest…? “Oh, I’m sorry, what’s that, Yoshi? Um, no, there are fifty states. What? No, Puerto Rico’s not a state, it’s a… I don’t know what it is, but it’s not a state.”

Yoshi was studying to be a big-time politician in Japan: law, business, IQ of like 748 (but maybe that was in yen). One day, he told me, he’d be the Minister of Something-or-Other in Japan, and I could visit him and they’d drive me around in a Toyota limousine, and everyone would cheer and throw corn flakes on me and give me hot baths and walk on my back, and…

Oh, God, I’m in London, England! And I don’t even know why I’m here. And someone said something to me in my sleep last night, and I don’t even know who it was. I mean, it might just have been me, but then again it might have been… Oh, God!

That day the first of my fantasies began over tea: “Yoshi!” I thought. “You clever Japanese person, you! You had it all figured out, didn’t you?” And then I had an epiphany. Or something like one:

Life is a game of capital gain,

Buy and sell, delete your pain—

Capital idea! The pound’s the thing!

It’s got the dollar by the collar,

O buck, where is thy sting?

And so that day I ‘gan to dream,

began to figure figures and schemes.

With a belly full of bean juice, I started to perk.

Forget this silly search for meaning,

It’s time to get to work!

And so began My Life of Happy Materialism in England!

Which lasted exactly six days.

To read the next episode, click here.

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About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in Fool's Odyssey, Humor, Memoir, Poetry and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

43 Responses to My Big Epiphany in London

  1. Pingback: A Night/Knight in England | Mitch Teemley

  2. Wow! Interesting story. What do you think about London?

    Liked by 2 people

  3. What happened to Yoshi?

    Liked by 2 people

  4. On my first trip to Ireland, I met a Brit and we kept in touch for maybe a year (through snail mail back in the day) and I used to think that I would look her up when I got to England, but….

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Of course, she was not planning to be a minister of anything or have a limo to drive me around in (I might have kept tabs on Yoshi).

    Liked by 1 person

  6. boromax says:

    Do you mind if I reblog this one, Mitch?

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Pingback: Mitch’s Big Epiphany | ~ Trivial Music Silliness ~

  8. I can just picture that b&b. Years ago my husband picked some relatives up from Heathrow, having agreed to take them to their London hotel. When they said how much or rather how little per night it was going to cost them he had his doubts… when they arrived outside the hotel they wouldn’t even go inside! He ended up bringing them to stay with us!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I am enjoying my vicarious travels so much I had to start back at the beginning of your adventure. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  10. endean0 says:

    Cor blimey Mary Poppins. your description of the breakfast seems spot on. I have a theory that no English breakfast is better than the one you cook for yourself.

    Liked by 5 people

  11. Very disorienting! Fake Tang . . . *shudder*

    Liked by 4 people

  12. David Pettus says:

    Pity that Yoshi didn’t become Prime Minister. Sounds like he owes you a favor.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Sounds like an interesting Breakfast conversation. So, I’d like to know what happens if an egg falls in the forest…

    Like

  14. Sounds like an interesting Breakfast conversation. So, I’d like to know what happens if an egg falls in the forest…

    Liked by 1 person

  15. An epiphany that lasts six days! Considering the road you would still be on, good thing it was a short journey. Delightful story. It has a really good rhythm to it and I love the mix of prose and poetry.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Your Yoshi reminds me of a talkative young man I met on a train from Great Yarmouth to London in 1977. He told me his name, which I have forgotten, and explained that he was from India, attending a University in England. After graduation, he said, he planned to return to India to save his country.

    With his arms spread wide, he proudly announced “I am the savior of India.”

    “That’s nice,” I said, and resumed watching the scenery outside the window.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I haven’t been to Britain, but I’ve been to Scotland and Ireland. Ireland felt like home. Hoping to return.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. gpavants says:

    Hi Mitch,

    That supercalif…you know what I mean. Love your foolish tales.

    Thanks; Gary

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Pingback: My Life of Radical Idealism Comes to an End | Mitch Teemley

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