Made it back safely and quickly this morning (I flew back into Gatwick - woo hoo! - saving me the trans-London traversal from West to East). It's just under ten hours from Atlanta to London, but I have to say that I think I prefer the extra few hours over flying from New York - it gave that extra bit of time to allow the natural cycle of the Xanax coma to play itself out and so I got a good six-plus hours of sleep and wasn't trying to navigate the tube while my medicine was trying to bring me back into unconsciousness. I feel tired, but not as worn down and weary as normal. Will still be a long day before a reasonable time for bed, but I'll try to stay up.
The two week trip was great; loved seeing everybody and quite happy to officially add Atlanta to the list of American Cities I Like. I have to say, being in New York was just the bees knees and I could've happily stayed, and felt totally comfortable with thoughts of being back there again. But then after being on the mainland in Miami for a week I started to question if I could stomach living in the States again after my happy exile in liberal Europe. It was wonderful to see my extended family there, but the city violently offends me on so many levels. I understand why they like it there, but all the reasons they love Florida are things that don't interest me and all the things I want out of a city are not there. I feel totally uncomfortable and anxious the whole time I am there and my week seemed an eternity.
But then, a bit miraculously, Atlanta cured what ailed me. It really is a surprisingly charming, diverse, liberal (lots of Obama bumper stickers), hip city infused with distinct character and constant surprises. Everyone is so friendly and there is no shortage of outrageous, tragic shocks and delights that I so enjoy. I had a deliciously scandalous time with McGirr, squeezing in fourteen gay bars and sundry food joints and setting some personal and city records in my two short days there. I could and will quite happily spend much more time there.
For now, though, very happy to be back in London, back in Shadwell, my flat and, soon, my bed. Tomorrow it's back to the grind.
Shaun H. Coley
Shadwell, Tower Hamlets
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