Tuesday, July 9, 2013


My parents -- and I say this with all respect and the knowledge that they read this blog -- are getting older.  This, truly, happens as a matter of course to all of us.  (Certainly throwing my back out while doing nothing at all isn't a sign of the second hand spinning backwards.)

But what's interesting about my parents getting older is that I haven't quite noticed it.  I mean, yeah, sure, they're moving a bit slower and I'm trying to be cognizant of it while leading them all over the London underground.  But I think what's tipped me off to their aging is that every time we get on a train, someone gets up and offers their seat to my mom.  Which gets marks for politeness, surely, but that's not the point.  To me, she doesn't look like someone of the age deserving the offering of one's seat.  (To me she looks right around "Do I take her word for it that she's eligible for the senior discount?")  I reckon it's hard to see one's parents purely objectively.


Today, I dragged my parents (not unwillingly) out to the HMS Belfast, one WWII warship (Dad loves war history stuff).  Impressive.  They had audio guides and a few exhibits set up, focussing on what life was like onboard the ship as well as the accomplishments of her crew during the war.  My folks were into the war stuff; I was a bit more into the decades-old tech.  (Dad wanted to see the really big shells; I wanted to see the targeting system.)  I continue to be amazed by what people accomplished with what is, by today's standards, pretty effin' rudimentary.  ("We got to the moon with this shit?")  But the earlier technology seems just a lot more clever.  I mean, obviously, today's tech is much, much smarter than yesterday's -- but it seems like yesterday's solutions relied more on the user's own brainpower because you didn't have a smart computer in your pocket.

(We're planning to go to Bletchley Park tomorrow, to see some seriously smart solutions from the same era.)

After the HMS Belfast, we went for a very nice snooty tea at a hotel near the Thames.  I'd booked us a table out on the terrace, hoping we'd get some nice views, but the terrace was all walled off (so the proles don't see what the snooty are up to).  It was still lovely -- the weather today was just about 80 degrees, and it was nice to enjoy such (rare) warm weather in London.

Then I did a bit of shopping with my mom, while my dad went back to the hotel for a nap.  Then we met at the theatre to see a revival of Pinter's The Hothouse.  Odd little play (not as odd as the crazy Punchdrunk thing I saw on Saturday) but not entirely straightforward either.  Didn't entirely matter -- it starred Simon Russell Beale and John Simm, either one of whom I would travel many miles to see.  (I have, actually.  I flew to Phoenix to see Beale's Hamlet, and, actually, I took a train from London to Sheffield to see Simm's.  Don't ask me to compare them -- such wildly different interpretations, you wouldn't think it was the same play.)  So, I mean, two of them sharing a stage was a real treat.  They're both such good actors, I could never decide which one to watch -- as the reactions were just as fun to watch as the actions.  Just a delicious little acting treat.  (Interesting, though, that I thought one of the supporting players couldn't keep up.  I, personally, am not an amazing performer -- but when I did some acting in school, my performances were always elevated by working with good actors.  Which does make me wonder if this guy was normally even weaker than what I saw.)

We didn't have dinner.  The snooty tea -- although, on paper, a bit on the pricey side -- involved an insane amount of food, so I had no interest in another meal.  Just munched on some baby carrots back at the flat, and I'm good.

Tomorrow is our last day in London.  Let's see what kind of trouble we can get into.

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