I drooled on the Queen's couch...
Yesterday, as you all know if you read the last post, I met the Queen of England at a reception at Buckingham Palace. I have to admit, I felt pretty bad-ass walking THROUGH all of the tourists crowded in front of the gates, taking pictures through their thick black iron bars, and presenting my security passes (except, of course, I nearly couldn't find one in my enormous Mary-Poppins bag & almost had to turn around and walk back out, but luckily, it was caught in the cover of a book), to walk through those gates to the palace beyond. And then at the door of the palace, it was more security, and then more, and then the coat check - and that's when I knew I was "in."
And then it was time to chill for an hour or so in the Red Room (State Room) while we waited for the Queen. I met a woman who actually grew up in Irvine (SMALL WORLD!), so she told me a bit about my future home, and I chilled a little with my Fulbright homies (and Ray managed to say both "fuck" and "hell" in Buckingham; nice job) who were both suitably impressed by my borrowed dress "Stop staring, Ray...stop staring..." Shout out, Jess!), and then we were all called to line up in the White and Gold Room & shake hands with HRH - who wore a GLOVE, MJ-style, on only one hand, to shake hands with us. No, not even a GLOVE, because that's just not enough barrier, but a big black mitten. And then, it was back to chill in the Picture Gallery (the woman owns about 14 Rembrandts...but what I want to know is: where is she hiding all the modern art?!)....
....where I had a seizure. So, I was talking to one of the Buckingham Palace aids who was there for crowd control, and she was pretty young, and really interesting, until....I started to feel that weird derealization, at first thinking it was just Freud's entfremdungsgefuhl, you know, that I just couldn't believe I was standing in Buckingham Palace (that article, by the way, changed my LIFE) - but then the pulsing in my head began, and the conversation in the room was suddenly deafening to me, and I was dizzy and out of breath and my heart was pounding and, "I'm sorry to do this to you on your first day (that's right, it was the poor girl's first day on the job) but I'm going to have a seizure; I need to sit down," I told the aid. So she led me over to a couch that had to be over 100 years old, where I started to black out...and so drooled all over my leg & said couch (have I mentioned yet that it was white and kind of satiny?)...and then spilled my champagne glass of water onto the floor (luckily I had been drinking only water all night for fear of spilling worse on The Dress - shout out again, Jess!). I vaguely remember the aid beginning to lead me out of the room, and apparently (I didn't put two and two together until later) this other aid I had been talking to had gone to get the Palace Nurse, so the next thing I remember is sitting alone in a room with "my" aid, the Queen's Nurse, and about 5 other medical personnel. And some random guy. And what's the first thing I say when they ask me, "How are you feeling?" Answer: "Can I go back now?" They asked me a few other standard questions ("Does this happen often?" "What's your name?" "Do you know where you are?"), but then, the nurse, laughing, says to the other personnel: "She just wants to go back to the party!" And to me: "Don't you?" "Yeah I do!" Big grin. :) (Flatmate Sari says: "You made a MARK!")
And so they let me go back, where I had a brief conversation with HRH; met my new husband; and may have landed myself a guest role on a TV series that's in the works.
HRH: She basically asks you a rapid series of questions, most of which can be answered by a "yes" or "no," and then when she's done with you, turns and leaves, whether or not you've answered her last question (which I had not...). This is how our "talk" went: "So you're a student here?" "Yes." "And you study at...[peering at my name badge]...Sussex?" "Yes; I'm a Fulbrighter there." "Oh, a Fulbrighter [with approval]...What do you study?" "English literature." Long silence; blank expression, until: "There are quite a few of you Fulbrighters here tonight..." "Yes, there--" And she walks away. Should I feel dissed? I don't know how I feel about that long silence after I told her I study literature. ;) But at least she didn't make the face she made after Diep told her he's studying medical policy and NHS (which was a face of absolute disgust).
And then, my new husband: I saw this guy who had to be nearly 70, wearing the same HUGE black, thick-framed plastic glasses Larry David's dad wears on Curb Your Enthusiasm, which, appropriately as we will see, was the reason I started talking to him. As soon as I approach him: "Darling, you're a-DOR-able!" he tells me. I told him he was full of it (which he loved) and asked him what he did. Turns out, he's a TV producer who spends his time between LA and London. He asked me if I'd ever seen Curb, and I said I loved the show, and the whole reason I approached him was because his glasses looked like Larry's dad's. He said the guy stole the look from him (full of it!), but that he was actually working on a show with a similar concept, all about one socially-inept guy's life (in this case, him). While we're talking, this other TV producer approaches to start talking to Chuck, who introduces me to producer #2 as his WIFE. So what do I do? Play along. Oh yes, we've been married only a couple of weeks. Interrupted our honeymoon in Fiji to come to Buckingham. Met in LA. Etc. After all this, Chuck decides I'm okay, and says maybe I can have a guest appearance on one episode of his show. I say I'm moving to Irvine in the fall, and he says "perfect", they're doing some of their filming in LA, and then he hands over his card. We'll see how it goes.
Oh yes, and I may have dropped a sprig of something or other off one of my salmon rolls...and that was before the seizure, so we can just chalk it up to my usual clutziness. So there. ;)