Thought No. 21: Sunday / by Jennifer Wisniewski


"London calling."

For the past month, my sister has been asking me to go to London in June, with her and her family. (Something about her husband Nigel’s sister getting married.) As she asks each time, I automatically file the request under, “Other people travel. You own a business”. When Mary begged, for the fifth time this week, I seriously started considering it. She’s a salesperson by nature, so she lays it on thick, while sending me scenic pictures of the London countryside. “All you have to do is get on a plane and we will take care of the rest,” she says. Finally … I succumbed.

For the last 6 years, I’ve primarily lived in a six block radius. For the most part, my life has consisted of taking care of a restaurant baby (and a ten year old.) I go back and forth from home to work, and I slowly give up any sort of big plans – because, what if something goes wrong and I’m not there? But, by now we have gotten to the point where “the baby” can take care of itself, so to speak. It might actually be time to slowly get back out into the world.

My current urge to travel is not really about getting away, which is nice. I like to lay by a pool and sip a vodka/lemonade as much as the next girl – but, this time: I’m on the hunt for more than that. My current skill-set is honed and I’m hoping that getting out of my comfort zone will lead me to new realizations.

Like Jim Carrey’s character in The Truman Show, my life has become all too predictable, predetermined and timed. I feel like I could walk up to a certain spot on Irving Park, go no further and put my hand through what I thought was a building – but is really wallpaper. I imagine ripping it down and behind it will be a soundstage with a director, producer and writer – all surprised to see me, as they write said script to my life. I would immediately tell them all to up their game a bit: let’s concentrate on character development and some new plot twists. The writers of my life have become uninspired, so I’m going to change the set design.

Lately I’ve been feeling that urge again. The urge to be lost. To not recognize the street. To not see a familiar face. But to notice new smells and noises and meet new people and hear their story.

I know what you’re thinking: “Take it easy, Amelia Earhart. You’re not going to the Congo. It’s just London – and they speak English there.” First of all, I wouldn’t go to the Congo (too many warlords for me.) Second, they don’t exactly speak our English in England. When I was there a few years ago, I was at a pub and an Englishman asked if I wanted to have a “snog”. I thought that meant he wanted to enjoy a cigarette with me, so I said: “Sure!” (What? I like a party cigarette every once in a while.) The next thing I knew: I had his tongue in my mouth.

Sometimes it’s also important to learn a new culture the hard way.