As Gene prepares for his upcoming trip to London, I’ve been musing about my one trip there so far, a few years ago.
In the spring of 2000, I went to London and Edinburgh pretty much on a whim–I was able to take advantage of a British Airways promotion that required that you ticket within a week for travel to begin within a month. In London I stayed at a small gay B&B, the Noel Coward Guesthouse (it had been one of Coward’s residences, apparently). On the morning of the day I was to head to Edinburgh I sat down for my breakfast of bangers and mash to discover a very attractive American man at my table. We talked, and seemed to hit it off, and he noted that he had just arrived–having taken advantage of the same promotion, but a week later–and was waiting to check into his room, the current occupant of which was to be checking out that morning. It turns out that it was the room I was vacating that was to be his. As we spoke further, we discovered that he was taking the same itinerary, and was heading to Edinburgh later that week… where he had reservations at the same place where I would be staying, again arriving the day I would be leaving.
Once I got to Edinburgh, I found out that the room they had reserved for him was the one that I was occupying there.
Moreover, we discovered that in the U.S. we lived less than 10 miles apart, were both single and gay, our university studies were in the same fields, and our names were eerily similar–my middle name being his last while my last was very similar to his first.
I was convinced–privately–that this bizarre set of coincidences meant that we had been fated to meet and to be together. I wrote down for him my email and telephone numbers. He said he’d call me when he was back home in Virginia, a week after my own return.
I never saw or heard from him again.
But I still had an absolutely wonderful time in London and Edinburgh.