Without the companionship of my dear friends, I can’t say my trip would have felt much like a vacation at all. First of all, it started at 7 a.m. on Saturday. On weekends, I find that nothing good happens before 11 a.m. unless one has the distinct pleasure of remaining “wrapt in profound repose.” (Reading this line from Jane Eyre always reaffirms my belief that the English language can be beautiful. I hope to do for the language that same justice, someday.)
My initial impression of Manchester began with my landlady commenting that she “hated the place,” and my brief exploration of the city did little to change it. Manchester just doesn’t feel like a real city, as evidenced by its empty sidewalks and plentiful, closed restaurants. Its heartbeat is imperceptible beneath the not-so-charmingly mismatched buildings and wrong turns that feel anything but serendipitous. In London, those wrong turns mean promising possibilities, not dead ends.
The nightlife, I heard, serves as the city’s one redeeming quality, but a combination of the dismal weather, my impending cold, and lack of enthusiasm for donning club-going attire kept me holed up in the hostel with my aforementioned friends instead.
I much preferred Liverpool, with its waterfront views and tangible pulse. Also, THE BEATLES. Turns out I really did belong in the sixties. I found myself relating all too well to the screaming girls captured in the videos documenting the band’s arrival to various venues. (Similarly, I relate to the liberalism, the folk music, the desire for peace-and-love. Not so much the mind-altering drugs, sartorial choices, and communal living.) I thought The Beatles’ museum was highly informative, if not a little depressing. I deserve to have been born in the baby boomer generation. I wonder if reincarnation can occur retroactively and if the deity responsible for those decisions takes requests…
Anyway, I’m glad I went, if only to develop a further jealousy of my parents’ birthdays. (See, mom and dad? I really do think you’re cool, and not just for funding my various worldly jaunts. And for giving me life, obviously.)
So the weekend ended much as it began, with me once again wishing I had more time to sleep. I have now allowed myself that time by turning my mucus-y cough into a full-fledged illness necessitating bedrest and minimal work. Also, I would like to add that when lacking a mother to dote on you with homemade chicken soup and all the appropriate sympathies, a landlady bearing cups of tea with lemon and amusing anecdotes serves as a fine alternative.