{ Home } : { Links } : { Europe } : { Poetry } : { Quotes } : { Joey } : { Drinking } : { Editorials } : { Movie Reviews }


This Magic Moment

Last May, at my birthday party, my friend Zac did a startling thing. He asked someone who had just spent months in Africa a more direct version of the "how was your trip?" question; rather than the general impossible to answer question, he asked "what were your three favorite moments in your time there?"

Zac has the tendency to say things that stick in my head and bounce around for awhile (him being one of those helps-you-grow-personally friends, rather than the simple drinking buddy type friend), and it's been something I've had on my mind for my time over in the U.K.

And I can do it. I've had a generally great time in Edinburgh, and certain things fight for the hallowed "best of" list. A whole montage of events, from Quiz Nights to Boxing Day, from goodbye parties that never seemed to end and mornings you never wanted to come. However, most things that were truly great were too extended to really count as "moments."

But that one crystalline moment came in the middle of November. Barely a month into my time in Edinburgh. But first a little involved backstory (that probably makes this seem less like a moment).

One Tuesday night when James, John, and I weren't working or simply didn't care, we went out for a night on the piss. Outside of a club, we meet four girls from the University of Edinburgh, and John and James immediately get to work trying to pull them. The girls are 1) Amy, from New York. 2) a girl from Hong Kong whose name is simply unpronouncable, and 3) and 4) Fernanda and Belin (pronounced Bay-leen, but with a sexy Latin accent that I probably pronounced wrong every single time), two girls from Argentina studying for the semester in Edinburgh.

Since I'm with John and James, I go into it without much thought about it for myself. I've been at it with these guys enough to understand that they'll pull, either with some girl who I was interested in myself, or with girls that no one should be interested in at all (it varies from night to night). So I just go into it looking to have a good time. Surprisingly, James hooks up with the Hong Kong girl, and NY Amy hooks up with her own Aussie guy unconnected with James or John. John gets distracted by a total slapper and he goes off. Part of me is tempted to tell him he should know better, but I'm too busy just chatting and dancing with Fernanda and Belin, who I've already given up on. So I don't do my typical nervous thing and start blathering and making a general verbal fool of myself.

Well, the end of the evening comes too soon, and we're off, and they're off. James winds up getting dropped at the last moment by the Hong Kong girl and whinging about it for the rest of the evening, and John comes to his senses at the last moment and dropping the slapper and whinging about that for the rest of the evening (which of course goes on for a couple more hours of drinking when we get back to the hostel). And I'm in a good mood, because I've got the phone number to the Argentinian's. Honestly a first for me. I'm not good at this whole club thing and meeting people, and normally prefer just to piggy back on the people my friends meet.

A week and a half go by (already this is shaping up to be much more than "a moment," but it'll be come clearer as I go along, I hope). John moves out of the hostel and into a flat, and has the obligatory flat-warming party. So I steel my nerve and invite the girls, and they promise to come.

And they do. The flat party's a general succes, slightly diminished by my dropping and breaking a bottle of J.D. on the way there (luckily I'd drank half of it already, and we were right in front of a bottle shop so I could replace it anyway). Lots of drunkness and general shenanigans. And when the party finishes up, we continue on into the city for clubbing.

Espionage is this really tacky but massive four floor dance club on a kind of James Bond location type theme. Drinks are expensive, lines are too long, and there's generally no room at all to get around. Still, from the moment we leave the party until about 5am, I don't leave the Argentinians side. I feel totally relaxed (a bottle and a half of J.D. may have something to do with that, but still...). I talk and dance mostly with Belin, and when the club closes, I walk them back to their apartment along with Andrew, a Kiwi leaving for Estonia the next day. Andrew and I originally intended just to walk with the girls until they caught a cab, but they wound up never bothering.

Walking across the University of Edinburgh lawn towards their flat, we run into a drunk, who asks me for the time. When he hears me answer, he snaps, "So you're a goddamn Yank!" I said something self-deprecating--I forget what, and we wind up talking for thirty seconds before he leaves to go to his flat, saying, "See ya, mate," and shaking my hand. He started out belligerant, and by the time he left we were best mates. A typical drunk conversation.

But when I turn back to the group, I see that they've all watched this little exchange. I didn't think it was worth watching, even, but then It came. The Moment. Belin just looked at me, said in that sexy accent, "You're so cool," and gave me a quick kiss. Still to this day I don't really understand what I did that was kiss-worthy.

A couple of minutes later, we were there. Andrew and I say our goodbyes, and that was that. After a goodbye kiss and a long walk back in the cold. I was coatless and wound up spending the next month and a half fighting off recurring bouts of the flu, but I think that's unrelated. Entirely.

Post script.

The next week I work, and I spend most of hte time fighting fight off the illness. I saw Belin periodically, almost always with Fernanda there. It's good, but casual. Nothing approaches that one night in terms of pure crystalline feeling. I feel slightly self-conscious and nervous. Two weeks after the Moment, the Argentinian currency collapses, and Fernanda and Belin quickly have to return home to their families.

Still, that moment is the moment when I felt things changed. Maybe I'm putting too much into one simple moment, but I feel that's when I really came out of my shell and started trying to live my own life abroad. I guess I'm just lucky I pulled my head out so early into the trip.


You are visitor number .
This page last updated on 25 May, 2002. And takes a lot longer than one special moment to write.
{ Home } : { Links } : { Europe } : { Poetry } : { Quotes } : { Joey } : { Drinking } : { Editorials } : { Movie Reviews }

Please send all criticisms, complaints, broken links, money orders, PayPal donations, adulations, compliments, death threats, and suggestions to loki814@hotmail.com or ICQ# 2649564.