Thursday, April 20, 2006

i'm pretty sure i saw my first junkie on Tuesday. i've seen my fair share of sketchy Neds since landing in this fine country three weeks ago, but had not seen anything that can compare to what i saw the other day.

i was standing in line at the Maryhill Post Office (which, in and of itself is not the nicest area of the West end) in order to purchase Scottish Power cards. For all you non-UK folk, some flats are equipped with a "pay as you go" electricity plan. Rather than a monthly bill that comes through your mail slot, you buy £5 cards and insert them into the electric meter and are immediately credited. It's bizarre and anal and has thusly made *me* even more anal. i have become hyper-aware as to how much energy i am using and how to conserve more. Thank you, Thatcherism!

Nonetheless, i was standing in line to get some £5 cards for the meter, when i heard a screeching behind me. i could barely make out what the words were meant to form but it sounded like, "Muuuuuuuuuum!" i turned around (as did the entire line-up) and was confronted with a horrific sight that i will not forget anytime soon. A boy who was probably about 15, but looked more like 50, was standing and holding his track pants up with his hands. Normally track pants have an elastic waist which expands around human girth in order to stay in place. However, this young chap was so thin - sickly thin - that he was having to hold up the elastic waist with his hands. His face looked like Skeletor on a good day. His bulging yellow eyes were met with oozing open sores on his face. And that's putting it lightly.

Granted, i did live in Parkdale, Toronto, for the last 4 years and did see my fair share of literal crack whores and people tweaked out on meth. i was even so lucky as to see an actual drug deal before my eyes. However, i have never seen an actual H junkie - especially one so young; it was extremely shocking and sad.

In other news, i have moved into my own flat and i love it. It's strange to actually have my own place in Glasgow, and to adjust to the strange ways of life here. i have yet to open an actual bank account yet - and i have tried unsuccesfully about 4 times now - as i do not have "official" mail yet. Basically, i am waiting for Scottish Power to send me something that i can take down to the bank authorities.

It was a fucking breeze coming into the country but they'll be damned if they actually let me open a bank account here!

Since i do not have a bank account, i have been unable to get broadband internet as the phone companies want direct debit. Why do they want direct debit, you ask? Well, because i am an immigrant and therefore have no credit.

If i have learned anything since my status as "immigrant" it's these life lessons:

1. Lie: it's easier to say you moved here for a fiancee, then admitting that you moved here because you like the country. People don't question you when you say you moved here for a man.

2. Walk as is no one is looking: Glaswegians DO NOT know how to walk in busy streets. In Toronto, people imitate traffic and walk on the right hand side. You would assume that Scottish people would imitate traffic and walk on the left hand side. Not so. People imitate the theory of chaos.

3. Catch 22: You want to open a bank account, sign up with Scottish Power/ NTL. You want to sign up with Scottish Power/ NTL? Get a bank account first.

4. 2+2=7: 2 drinks always leads to 7. Never have more than 1!

5. WTF?!: When you don't understand what someone just said to you, just smile and nod.


Anonymous said...

Hi, this is great! I´m an ex-pat Glaswegian living in the non-glamorous central part of Spain, homesick for my wee bit hill and glen and found your blog. Sometimes I think that to be Glaswegian you have to be away from the city. What´s wrong with us that we hate it and then love it so much? I value your insights! See

Anna said...

Dear Jennifer,

I'm the editor of Expatica UK, a website for expats in the UK, and I love your blog!

I think our readers would too, so I wonder whether you'd be interested in syndicating some of your posts on our site. Would you?

Please do get in touch: EditorUK [at] expatica [dot] com.

Hope to hear from you soon!