Monday, May 2, 2011

the lake district

In my age-induced desperation, lately I've been coming up with new wife-finding strategies. I'm being encouraged by my sister who recently threatened to create a profile of me on a dating site in retaliation for my (, somewhat satirical) post on reasons why I have not pursued certain women in the past.1

One of these finding strategies is to read Jane Austin and see if she gives me any clues as to what women are looking for, as I clearly have no idea what that might be, though I have learned that women are mostly disinterested in men whose ideal Friday evening is spent reading the latest issue of The Economist, and even more disinterested in men who would take the trouble to italicize every mention of their favorite magazine, The Economist.

So far I've made it through Pride and Prejudice2 and Emma; the only overriding themes I can find among the ideal men portrayed being old age, social awkwardness, and money.

Which leads me to my new dating tagline: two out of three ain't bad.

Regardless, I've felt it necessary to conduct a field study of the locations discussed in her works. This is what prompted my recent excursion to the Lake District in the company of my sister. I took my sister along because during my last Austinian excursion, I found myself alone in Brighton, England, which, as I found out after a series of eyebrows were raised at me, is the gay capital of England.

The Lake District is nice. There are lakes. There are sheep. There are cows. There are old ladies that laugh at you when you ask them if the inclement weather should deter you from summitting a nearby peak, and who, when you explain that you heard there may be gusts of wind up to 50 MPH respond, "well, put some rocks in your rucksack and carry on!"3

But I had a good time. My sister sort of had a good time. We got to walk 72 miles through a combination of mud and sheep poo, which is always a plus.

And at the end of the trail we got to celebrate by renting a car4 and driving back to London, which consisted of five hours of me hitting my right hand on the door every time I went to shift, and my sister periodically falling asleep and waking up frantically yelling "LEFT LEFT, LEFT SIDE!" at me, whereupon I would veer abruptly to the correct lane, deftly maneuvering around honking traffic.5

And now, back to The Economist.

1. I only stonewalled her by promising to do so myself when I hit 31. My only hope at not being the next victim is, of course, that she will forget said promise when I turn 31.
2. Once upon a time I decided I bore most resemblance to Mr. Darcy, as we both hate dancing and other people. Whereupon my sister informed me I could not possibly be Mr. Darcy, mainly, I believe, because she considered herself to be Elizabeth. This was my greatest Austinian slight, until later in my life I was referred to as Mr. Collins. At that point I decided I bear no resemblance to anybody in any of the book, and you suggest otherwise at your own supreme physical peril.
3. I cannot express how emasculating it is to have a white-haired granny tell you to man up and stop being a sissy. But she was awesome, and is my hero.
4. Sorry: hiring a car.
5. Which reminds me: I've been meaning to complain about gas stations, and their relative non-proximity to the rental car return. Like, are you serious? Are you so stupid that you can't locate your gas station in the BEST LOCATION EVER? Everyone driving by would fill up. Everyone. Instead, it seems to be standard issue, if you're a gas station, to be sure you're at least sixteen miles from any rental car return. We ended up driving around for a few hours and topping up in rural Ireland thanks to their antics. Gas station owners: this is the moral equivalent of not building an ice cream parlor next to a weight loss clinic. It's practically criminal to ignore such an opportunity.

1 comment:

Layne said...

You know you're spelling her name incorrectly, right?