Saturday, April 01, 2006

Notes on Scotland

The Scots, or at least the Glaswegians, are nothing if not a blunt people. While I was wandering the business district shortly after my arrival, a teenage girl, one of several hanging about the entrance to a building, turns to ask me a question that was indecipherable to me (accent issues). I shook my head as if to tell her I didn't understand the question, and she immediately invited me to commit a specific natural act--however, I was to do it somewhere else.

Later, I went for a run along the Clyde River. Now, there seem to be a lot of black-clad teens hanging about the Glasgow city center--I wouldn't call them goths, because there wasn't a trenchcoat or a Robert Smith lookalike to be seen anywhere. They struck me as more latter-day punks. In any case, as I ran along the river in my shorts, with 50-degree winds buffeting me, I came upon a group of such teens gathered around a bench. One gestured to me with his cigarette, "Well, there's a fay piece o' meat coming along." I chuckled and waved. I passed another such group of black-clad girls, and they began hooting and hollering "Seee-ck-see!" At this point, I was coming up on a group of at least 20 similarly clad teens. I'd had quite enough, so I crossed the bridge to the other side of the river before I got to them. I don't mind my masculinity being challenged--it's just I could do without the comments in general. Why give them an opportunity?

In any case, runners in Glasgow must be a rarity. Wherever Shettleston is in Glasgow, I'm guessing a person who exercises regularly is quite the rarity, and the rest of Glasgow isn't doing so well either.

Speaking of smokers ...
Scotland has just imposed a ban on smoking in pubs, following its rather backward-facing neighbor, Ireland (which only got around to legalizing divorce in 1995) in the smoking ban. England and Wales are to follow suit soon (Parliament approved the ban, although I don't know when it's to take effect). Smokers still come to bars. The only difference is they stand outside to smoke, and nonsmokers don't go home smelling like ashtrays.

I heard my first bagpipes two hours after arriving, returning to my hotel after a shopping expedition (more on that later). The player was standing on the pedestrian bridge over the Clyde leading from my hotel to the science center. I'm always moved by bagpipes, but when the player boffs Scotland the Brave, I can't really offer any applause.


Blogger Schmutz said...

"boffs"? Translation, please.

10:43 PM  
Blogger Mrs. Werbenmanjensen said...

You ARE a fay piece o' meat, m'dear!

And perhaps you need to watch more Sean Connery movies before heading to Scotland. "Shuck it, Trebek!"

12:00 AM  
Blogger Mrs. Werbenmanjensen said...

You ARE a fay piece o' meat, m'dear!

And perhaps you need to watch more Sean Connery movies before heading to Scotland. "Shuck it, Trebek!"

12:00 AM  
Blogger Middle Kid said...

Perhaps your love of bagpipes stems back to the Star Trek movie where Spock dies and "Amazing Grace" is played on the bagpipes (I can't remember if Scotty actually plays the pipes or not).

12:09 AM  
Blogger Smitty Werbenmanjensen said...

Spock died? That's just silly. Next thing you know you'll be telling me Sulu was gay and Scotty was from Canada...

6:42 AM  
Blogger Schmutz said...

I read in yesterday's paper that someone is forming a band in a nearby city. I'm tempted to take lessons. "You'll live forever when the pipers play." - Isla St. Clair. (However, I'd probably annoy the neightbors.)

12:41 PM  
Blogger Smitty Werbenmanjensen said...

From your description of your home, Schmutz (if that is your real name), it sounds like you could detonate Divine Strake and not annoy the neighbors.

1:18 PM  
Blogger oldest kid said...

Was Sulu gay? I can't believe it. And Scotty Irish?

3:09 PM  

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