It was my first time in London. We were on our third week of a four-week journey around America, London and Paris. We had just gotten off a horrible seven-hour flight from New York, where the woman behind me had proceeded to get very drunk, and in her drunken state, she had loudly proclaimed repeatedly that she wasn’t inebriated to the woman she was travelling with. Said woman proceeded to giggle incessantly.
We reached our accommodation after the long and sleep-deprived flight only to walk past it. The front door was barely three metres across – this included the doorway. It was cold. We scrambled to get inside, not easy to do. After the front door, there was another door with barely enough room for the first door to swing open. That second door led to a flight of stairs with hardly any floor space to swing the door open before you had to start climbing the stairs. To the left, past the front door, was another door that led to the reception area. A giant Christmas tree had taken the entire space.
The two doorway dilemma was tricky. It took us a while to figure out how to maneuver them with our luggage. My companions had to rescue me after I bashed my head a few times and got stuck in the metre-by-metre cube, and only when they were finished laughing. What we hadn't seen were the raised bits of wood that kept the wind out and the door closed. So I "flew" into the reception area and crashed to the ground with a thump. My suitcase followed, hitting me before falling to the side. My friends couldn't stop in time to avoid me, and fell over me. We eventually disentangled our limbs, laughing the entire time.
Then we saw her: lips pressed so tightly, it looked as though she had no lips. Her disdain was further heightened by her flared nose and cold stare. Our ridiculous acts were not amusing her. I realized I was far from home, where this would have provided some entertainment.
It is years later. I don't recall her appearance, except for that expression of utter distaste which I associate with being British.