Monday, 11 June 2012

Pick me up ( before you go go)

Annabelle , why don't you just pick up a total stranger in a pub and bring him home and forget all about him the day after, like everyone does?''

Mmmm. What? People doing this always fascinated me. The very term of '' picking up'' is quite fascinating to me . Like a take away thing. After the pick up comes '' the walk of shame'' or the kick him out in the morning like a used tissue as you suddenly realise what you had done the night before ( but not quite remember yet )


The answer is probably too obvious because no one ever really told me.

All I know is , if you have my Life options are quite restricted :
1/ Long term relationship with a house, kids and a dog.
We all saw how I dealt with my last job ( and they did not even had a dog) . I seem to handle 2 hostels 7 days a week better than 3 lovely kids for 4 days a week. And I did not even have the husband who goes with it.
Long term relationship = very unlikely to be for me

2/ One night stands with people whose names I don't know ( or care)

I tried once. He called me Isabelle , I did not call him. I ended up staying on the sofa after explaining something about a missing connection. We became friends later on and laughed about it.
One night stands with people who names I don't know ( or care) = very unlikely to be for me.

So.... I agreed with my co workers that I'd be the next Kipps nun. Great. That is one thing sorted.
That's what I thought...

A week later I was lovingly holding Pierre's hand walking around York laughing at every thing he was saying ( you probably gathered that I like men who make me laugh) and speaking in passionate french.

I could even see the envy in people 's eyes . They could not understand a word of what we were saying ( especially him in his weird french) They were thinking '' those 2 have found it. The real love''

I honestly was very Happy and enjoying the Uniqueness of the situation. I even happily helped him pick the beret that suits best, just like a loving wife would do.

We even planned to tell the receptionnist at the B&B it was our honeymoon ( hoping for free booze) . We were so happy to be together anyway . We were the perfect couple until...........

'' Can you just write the name of the lady here sir , please'' The receptionnist asks.

Oh dear. He gave me the embarassed look \

The '' What's your name again?'' look.

Me and the dignity I had left grabbed the pen and wrote my name giving a huge forced smile to the receptionnist.
Yes, he just picked me up. And so what?  
How did I meet him? Long Story. Hang on , NO. Quite short actually.

A week earlier , Kipps Canterbury '' 2 dutch , 2 german guys, 1 english and 1 French Canadian. That's the male check ins we have tonight'' I say to my french friend. Not that was not for me. That was for HIM so he can plan his night accordingly.
. His gay dar never fails him.
No , tonight there was nothing to pick up for him.

'' I love french canadian accent , it's so sexy'' he says

'' I'd rather talk to people from North Yorkshire , I d understand them more than french canadians. Not sexy at all'' I answer
, glad I don't have to check in anyone whose french was different from mine.

My job being entertaining the guests for barbecue that night ( I know ... what a cool job huh ?) I was drinking Hollandia ( 2.8% Dutch beer) with Dutch backpackers who had never heard about that beer before. As they were taking pictures of themselves holding the beer and downloading them to facebook I started to talk to that funny sexy man next to me. After about 10 minutes of chit chat and 2 hollandias comes THE question , the unoivadable question in a backpackers hostel ( even before what's your name)

'' Where are you from?''

from Canada. i'm Pierre. Nice to meet you.

'' That sounds awfully french for a Canadian name.'' I answer.

He looks at me with the '' Ever heard of Quebec ? '' sort of look.

Oh no.

That's when we usually switch to French and when I stop understanding the conversation. Our common first language is so different that it's almost Language barrier. He probably thought I was polish ( like everyone at the moment for some reason) so I could just have kept on speaking English but I decided to give French a go.

So I take him to the pub. So no , I don't pick up drunk strangers FROM the pub. I pick up strangers and I take them TO the pub.

After a couple of pints and interesting conversations about whose french was the best , I had made my peace with french Canada. There was a connection there. He was strangely similar to me . You know, 30 + world travellers who don't do drunks pick ups in pubs. ( aka celibates who sometimes get lucky)

Pub closing. What do we do know?
 So we did what we do best. Adventure.

'' Fancy a ............ trip to York next week end?'' he finally says
That's the sexiest thing I had heard in a while.
'' HELL YEAH.'' I answer
'' Cool! ''
'' Good night''
'' Good night to you too''

And the next day , he played guitar for me at breakfast and then, he was gone.

Pathetic? I would not say so . I had a good reason to travel ( all reasons are good, but this one is ALSO a good reason )

'' Annabelle , you're not gonna go up North for just 24h hours? And You don't even know the guy!''

Those were the comments from people who did not really know me.
Try me. My friends were more like '' Get your ticket now for next week end , it's cheaper''

So there I was , walking around York learning French Canadian words and getting my dose of romance. Hilarious. And much needed. The weirdest is we did behave like a couple who has been together for years. And that's how we both felt!

We stopped at pub to have a pint of local beer and chat to the locals.

Fascinating how you think you know a language until you go somewhere new , or meet someone new and all your certitudes are gone.

On my left a drunk local who wanted to have a conversation in a language I could not understand ( they call it Yorkshire accent here )

and on my right Pierre , speaking my first language using words I had never heard of before.

Can anyone do sign language here??????

We sat down and talked for hours . About what? What fascinates us the most. The world.

I could even ask him THE question.

'' Do you consider yourself Canadian?''

He told me about the culture gap between the ''anglo'' and the ''franco'' and how difficult it was to be united as a country.
If it was not for hockey or maple syrup they would NOT feel part of the same country.

I can't even start imagining being from a country that speaks 2 different languages and have 2 different cultures. We already have trouble with Parisians so imagine if they were speaking another language...

And he's so funny too, Pierre.

'' My family would love you'' I finally say

'' So would mine '' he answers.


 Another beer?

The next morning I faced the fact that I was in absolute incapacity of speaking French right after waking up. That's how long I have left my fellows country men for. Bless them .

So we started to speak English ( I do love men who make the effort of speaking both my languages)

An English breakfast and a last stroll in York later , we were saying good bye at the train station. We both had a Life to go back to.

We both agreed that the quality time spent together was worth any relationship and we were so lucky to have experienced it.
So...... what do we say now?

Thanks. We agreed that we had been so lucky to live this.What were the odds of ever meeting anyway?

Thank you. Life, then!

That night I was back with my new backpackers in a pub back in Canterbury talking about travelling and communism in China. Pierre was visiting the Lake District, he was curious to see that. The Brits have so few lakes that they had to give them a district. Haha. Hilarious for a Canadian. He 's going Home to Ottawa on Tuesday.

And Life goes on...

I learnt a lot from and with him.  I will never see Quebec with the same eye again . And I guess I somehow opened his mind a little bit more about the french too ( and taught him a couple of Real French words too. haha )

Why would you pick up a stranger and not get to know them while you can turn your regular one night stand into a peace process between countries?

Yes , that is my version of a one night stand. It seems to work out well for me. I'm still in contact with the guys I ve had those unique experiences with. ( It's only the ones who had an actual long lasting relationship with me who refuse to talk to me now . D'oh. )

There was that German guy I went to see in Paris , The Kiwi I flew to Hong Kong for, that american in London and.... NO JUDGMENT OKAY I'm 33 and I ve worked in a hostel for so long that it does not look THAT bad in the end.

Of course you can get hurt doing this .Everyone can. Anywhere, anytime. Can we ever avoid it anyway?
I did get insanely hurt once. That sort heart break that takes years to heal .

But even pain can be useful. That is that very pain that got me to Australia in the first place. Imagine where I would be without my Australian experience now and I realise now that I should be grateful for that guy who never loved me!

So , yes , If I had to go through all that pain again , I would. Just for being who I am today.

We all meet for a reason.

So no, I don't pick up strangers and do my best to ignore who they are . Because Life is too short to not get the stories that go with it.

Live well
Laugh often
Love ... ALWAYS

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