LONDON -- As travelers go, I seem to have the worst luck of any since the late Christopher Columbus. He sets out for India and slams into the New World, wrecking his reputation as a navigator and assuring that by the late 20th century, he is blamed for every disorder on the American continents from racism to poison ivy.
I set out for London for a quiet week enjoying the arts and leisure, and what happens? I arrive the very day this class-conscious country's most self-regarding, pompous elites are gathering en masse in Hyde Park to strut their moral superiority and to order us lesser mortals to transform Africa into a middle-class suburb of Stockholm -- I refer to the singers at the idiotically named Live 8 concert.
That is not all. Just two blocks from my hotel, another gaggle of chosen people gathered, to wit, the solemn participants of Gay Pride Day, or was it Gay Pride Week? Whatever it was, it was very noisy. Its mob left a great deal of debris in the street and above the street -- where there were inflated condoms. And it lasted right through lunch, a fine time to dine al fresco even in London in July, but who wants to dine in the presence of a mob scene and amidst floating condoms?
Of the two spectacles, by far the most tolerable was the Gay Pride event. It only lasted a few hours. Moreover, the participants whom I saw did not have the superior attitude lorded over us by the Live 8 megalomaniacs. Many of the young men I spotted leaving the scene of the Gay Pride antics looked like very earnest, middle-class fellows intent on advancing their careers in the white-collar workforce once they doffed the orange hair or angel wings they were wearing for this special day. Admittedly, some wore feathers and women's lingerie, but otherwise, they seemed rather ordinary.
Many shared a peculiarity that I noted in observing Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., a few weeks back as he walked along a crowded corridor at Reagan Airport. They studiously stared at the pavement a few feet in front of them, apparently not wanting to make eye contact. I can understand why our wind-surfing, bungee-jumping, he-man war hero would fix his eyes on the ground. But I cannot explain whey these ostentatiously made-up, activist homosexuals would be so self-conscious. At any rate, they were polite.