Happy birthday to the Queen. One thing I've always admired about the queen is the fact that -- with the exception of this year -- she usually celebrates her birthday in June, which is far more agreeable, weather-wise, than April. If I am made King of Wales, the rule will be that we celebrate my birthday on the first really nice weekday in July.
In honor of the queen's birthday, my dad made scones for breakfast. There is no punchline to this, really, but it's still pretty amusing. My dad has visited the UK once in his life and most of his knowledge of the place comes from British detective novels and Monty Python. This does not prevent him, however, from frequently affecting a Britishy accent. The accent sounds a lot like an Australian attempting to imitate Winston Churchill without ever having heard what Churchill sounds like.
I would make fun of my dad more were in not for the fact that I frequently catch myself doing something similar. This morning I was on the phone with an estate agent in Cardiff, because I kind of want to live here, and I caught myself ever so slightly lightening my speech.
Not surprisingly, it looks as if securing a place to live is going to be a challenge. Of course it has to be a challenge. Getting accepted into Cardiff University was surprisingly straightforward and easy, so getting to Cardiff University must be an unending snafu.
Today's dilemma: Chris lives 4,000 miles away.
WOMAN ON PHONE AT ESTATE AGENT: "We can set up a showing with you on..."
ME: "Right, that won't really work for me, because I'm in the United States at the moment."
WOMAN: "OK, well when you arrive in Cardiff, just give us a call and..."
ME: "No, see, I want to set up a place to live before I get there, so I'll have a place to sleep when I get there."
WOMAN: "But, normally, we don't like to let a property without the tenant having a chance to see it. Are you sure you won't get a chance to visit Cardiff before..."
Am I sure? 'Oh, hello, I forgot about this ticket for a transatlantic flight that was in my back pocket.'
ME: "Yes. My wife and I won't arrive until July 11, on which date I would like to move into our new place."
WOMAN: "But, normally, see, we don't like to let a property without..."
ME: "Right. But I'm 4,000 miles away. I see this one property on your website, and I'm interested in it -- perhaps if you could just tell me more about it. I am calling you because you were recommended by a few people, so I'm willing to take a bit of a gamble on not actually seeing it before signing the lease."
WOMAN: "Well, it's a big thing with us, we don't like to rent a property without the tenant having an opportunity to.."
ME: "Is it a legal requirement? Are you legally required to physically show me the place?"
WOMAN: "I don't know. I don't think so."
ME: "Well, as I say, I'm willing to gamble that you are trustworthy..."
WOMAN: "And you really can't get here before? Just to look at it?"
WOMAN: "I'll have the letting agent call you."
The letting agent never called. After thinking about it, I wonder if perhaps what is important to them is not that I see the place, but that they see me. When I call them back, perhaps I will start the conversation with: "Hi, my wife and I -- who are white -- were listening to our Norah Jones CDs and we saw this property on your website..."
Does anyone have any Sallie Mae student loan horror stories they want to share with me before I sign my life away to them?
My buddy Eric has been one of my best friends for almost 20 years. Mark today as the first time he has read my blog, even though I've told him about it millions of times:
"Eric, I have this blog and..."
"Blog. You're a loser."
"No. Well, yes, but it's kind of fun and..."
"Blog = loser. Stop talking."
"Here, I'll forward you to a link to my blog and you can read it and..."
"You know what a blogger does? He doesn't win. Someone who doesn't win is also called a loser."