Foreigner in town
It's not often that I get several requests from one person. It's even more unusual for the person to start singing what he requested. It's equally unusual to see the same person two nights in a row.
"Why aren't you visiting the karaoke bars you talked about?"
"I don't know where New Malden is," replied the young American-sounding Korean from Texas.
"Didn't I tell you to ask the concierge yesterday?"
"Yes, but I didn't want to ask him."
So he invited me for a drink, not once but twice. I told him I couldn't because I had a deadline to meet.
"Aw, come on. What are you writing? Let me help you. I studied anthropology."
This was getting more and more incredulous. An anthropologist who works for an IT company in Texas, visiting London on a business trip? So what was his link to music? Why was he so keen on hearing his requests?
"I'm a drummer. Or at least, I used to have a band and I was the drummer," he said.
I still couldn't believe this guy. I told him the plot of a piece I was writing for a woman's magazine.
"What's your sample size?" he asked.
Okay, maybe he does know what he's talking about. But I still don't understand why a guy, as sociable as he seemed to be, would sit here all night in this hotel, far away from everything.
As it turned out, he needed an escort. It's easy to get into the centre of town, he said. But how would he get back? The taxi driver in Munich took him on a spin when they disagreed about politics. He was afraid his American accent would get him in trouble.
No, I don't think he needed an escort to protect him from disagreeable taxi drivers. He needed a companion to drink and sing with. And I'm not about to accompany a loud American who doesn't know better than to keep a low profile.
8 February 2003 Saturday