In 2010 I was in London for my second time. We had our entire day to waste a little before going the concert that evening and so everyone went their separate ways to go shopping in Camden Town.
Camden Town ( now more recently noted in the press due to the recent death of singer Amy Winehouse) is an area of London renowned for its great shopping and also greater people watching. Somewhat of meeting point for London punk, gothic and alternative scenes; Camden is quite a gawk-worthy place. It is/has also been home to many musicians and famous figures like poet Dylan Thomas. What you get in Camden as a tourist with this variety of subcultures mixing together is some of the most divers food, shopping and art that London can offer.
Having already visited London and the area I felt confident that I would be alright taking off on my own. I spent the day shopping and bargain hunting in the central London area and decided that in order to get there promptly I would give myself and hour to make what was suppose to be a 15 minute walk. But it seemed I had not grasped the concept of the city and soon found myself totally and completely turned around.
No panic however… I had given myself a head-start for just this very reason. And then the dark ominous clouds that overcast the sky all day finally opened and completely soaked me and my very unseasonable sun dress ( let me mention this was July and it was somewhere around 24 degrees outside). It began to rain which subsequently caused my paper shopping bags to dissolve. Before I had looked like a bright eyed young tourist that had the Mary Tyler Moore theme playing in my head as I trotted along with all my adorable packages in my hands. Now I more resembled the scary lady in your local alleyway pressing tattered brown paper bags to my chest as if the scraps were made of gold.
To add to all the humiliation of being soaked by the rain ( which I was very obviously ill prepared for ) and having to claw into the remainder of my sopping load I was soon to find myself with only one shoe. All of my shoes that had come with me from Louisiana hadn’t survived the three months of walking on cobblestoned streets in Paris and apparently my last pair of strapy sandals was on its last leg.
Soon enough I was the crazy bag lady hobbling around in the rain with only one shoe, no idea where she was, where she was going ( considering i had lost the house address and the address to the dance hall in madness of wrasseling my belongings together) and to top it off I now had only a few minutes before the group left assuming that if I wasn’t at the house I would be at the hall.
Now it was time to panic.
Rushing to the closest bus stop I tried to explain from memory where the house was. And if history hasn’t shown, i have little to no luck with buses. In my desperation I even asked to use a drivers cell to call the group but couldn’t being as we all had FRENCH phones.
After three different buses and a desperate attempt to understand one of the British pay phones ( yes the red ones). I just made a run for it. I figured if I was going to find out where I was, running would at least give me some time.
Then out of nowhere, far from anywhere the buses were taking me the familiar sign of the subdivision I was looking for broke from out of a bush.
10 minutes late, soaking wet, trying to keep wet clothing from falling out of a tattered mess of what now was paper pulp, and with one white strapy sandal flying off the side of my foot and bouncing off the pavement tethered to me only by the buckle strap around my ankle; I clamored up the street only to see the group just then packing up the van.
This time in Camden I hung close to my friends, actually having forgotten the ordeal when one of them said “hey remember last time when you lost your shoe”
Ahh my life will be a less interesting one when the conclusions of my stories no longer include my running around in some strange place with only one shoe.