Sunday, October 10, 2010

Douglas Adams Said

that there is a melancholy time in Sunday afternoons, between the hours of 2 o'clock and 4 o'clock that he called The Long, Dark Teatime of the Soul. I would follow that in America with the pre-prime Heart Attack Hours. More Americans die of heart attacks on Monday morning than any other time. Most of Sunday evening is spent contemplating Monday, back at work, and freaking about the kids' homework and the weekday schedule.

So here I am, sitting in this coffee house, listening to the Beatles' "Baby You Can Drive My Car" and watching twilight encroach on Botetourt County. There is that lemony color on the horizon that is caught perfectly in early Autumn.

What a timely place to placidly contemplate my destruction in an icy sea several years ago. My intro to the Scottish: they are all like my father. Same sense of humor, timing, money, everything. I always thought it was an El Paso, TX thing. It's not. It's Scottish.

So, here was this friendly man refusing to give me another Americano, or let me go outside to smoke. Not that I could have made it to the door; it was uphill at this time. And he wasn't refusing to help me. He felt keeping his hands on the rail in front of him was a smarter move. Here is the Dad think: the waiter said, "Do you see what I am standing in front of?" Yes, indeed, I had noticed and ignored the glass liquor bottles on the pretty shelves behind him. He said, "I can see letting my hands go for one of these, but for coffee? And if we make it, there will be a lot of people below decks who will be needing this more." Score one for his logic. Only another friend of Bill W. would have understood.

That made me another curiosity. He gave the foam-filled window another sidling, wild look and said, "If you don't need a drink after this, the first coffee is on me." I told you the Scottish were cheap. But, as I look back on it...what else did he have to offer at the time? I didn't drink booze and maybe he was married; or in a hurry to get back to Norway. And he was going to be plenty busy if we lived.

I asked him his name, which I will protect in case I get to go back to Orkney and he asked me mine. I just loved telling the Scottish my name was Stewart. Since most Americans associate the name with Mary, Queen of Scots, the queen of bad luck in her struggle with Queen Elizabeth I, Mark and I thought the name would be funny to the Scottish. Look. Stewarts touring Scotland. Ha ha. Which is as funny to the Scottish as telling them a joke that has to be followed by the words, "Get it?" or nervously saying, "Ha ha" afterword.

Most of the money trickling into Scotland, despite their lovely country and hard efforts to keep it a clean and sustainable resource, is from tourists from the States looking into their Scottish ancestry. Nothing can be more boring to the Scottish.

Tomorrow: How to Entertain the Scottish

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