A trip to London nearly ends in tears for two travel-buddies from Sydney, in this short tale of misplaced aggression.
I had been in bed not longer than an hour when I crept out of the room to visit the bathroom. Though I had arrived only an hour ago at Scott and Sam’s home in London, when they had shown me to my room after my arrival in the British capital, I figured they would probably already be sleeping. Scott was a good mate previously of Sydney, and an old campaigner on the travel-trail. The house was silent and the chill London air was still outside. I’d been lolling about in bed texting my girlfriend about my successful arrival.
I was quiet as a mouse as I quietly opened the creaky bedroom door, careful not to wake my hosts. You could hear a pin drop.
I carefully opened the bathroom door… slowly, slowly, when all of a sudden, I was accosted by a wild-eyed Scott in the hallway. “Excuse me, excuse me!” he bellowed at full volume. And since you don’t know Scott, you’ll have to believe me when I say he’s of impressive aural amplitude. The sudden loud noise frightened the hell out of me. “What are you doing, what do you think you’re doing?” He continued screaming at me. I was in shock as I realised that Scott thought I was an intruder in his house. Was he sleepwalking or something?
“Scott it’s me, it’s me!” I protested.
“What are you doing here, what do you think you’re doing?” he demanded, shaping up all violent-like. I got my hackles up in defence, lest my hitherto honoured-chum begin battering me at a moment’s notice.
“Scott it’s Matt! I’m just going for a slash!”
“Ah shit,” he said, suddenly coming to his senses. And without so much as an explanation, he skulked off back to bed with his tail between his legs. I could hear Sam laughing her head off in their bedroom.
I went back to my iPhone and told my surprised girlfriend that Scott had attacked me.
We got plenty of laughs out of it the next day at breakfast. I joked that with that sort of hospitality, I’d never dare stay at their place again. Meanwhile, Scott copped plenty of flak from his wife who admonished him for being so polite to a burglar as to address him with an “Excuse me”. Personally, I think there’s something to be said for a diplomatic approach, and I could attest that the unexpected encounter had left me appropriately shaken, despite the courteous words bellowed. And especially given I wasn’t actually a burglar.
Still, I couldn’t help but feel that the whole affair might have been some sort of revenge for a previous nocturnal disturbance between us years earlier.
Scott and I were on a backpacking trip, actually our first ever backpacking trip. We’d be spending months together, running to make curfew at hostels, being culture-shocked, surviving on boxes of muesli, drinking cheap wine from supermarkets and failing to make ourselves adequately understood in a variety of countries spanning America, Europe and South-East Asia.
On this occasion, we were staying in Hoboken New Jersey, just across the Hudson River from New York City on the US east coast. Scott’s older cousin lived in Hoboken and had kindly put us up in his apartment, but the problem was that there was only a spare double bed available. So Scott and I had to do the honourable travel thing and share the bed. However, it turned out my subconscious had other ideas. In the middle of the night I had a dream that the boogeyman or similar was coming after me and had even jumped into my bed. Instinctively, and much to the surprise of Scott at 3 AM on an otherwise peaceful night, I lashed out with my feet, repeatedly kicking him over and over until he fell out of the bed onto the floor.
Things didn’t get much better for us during that visit to London. Wandering through a cemetery in search of the graves of John Bunyan and Daniel Defoe, we were attacked by a pack of squirrels.
What about you? Have you got a travel buddy that you’ve seen the world with? And would you kick them out of bed on a cold night in New York City?