I’m cursed. Every time I’ve traveled outside of Ohio in the past few years, I break my camera lens. The first time it happened, I was in the Philippines. Maya and I had to take a side trip to a mall in Manila for me to “barter” for a new lens. I dropped said lens in Asheville, North Carolina a year and a half later when trying to carry too much Indian food. For this most recent trip, I prepared myself. No longer would I schlep my camera around in a knapsack; if I want nice things, I have to take care of them. A blog post from Columbus photographer and design house, Genre Creative inspired me to look into carrying my beloved camera in a protective bag. Robin even lent me hers to try out for the trip.
I honestly don’t know what happened. Perhaps I opened the bag at a table to grab my journal to write something down, and failed to close it properly. Perhaps, after a little too many large glasses of wine (alcohol is legally required to be measured in England; as a result – large and small glasses of wine) I stood a little too close to a fellow bus rider who helped themselves to the contents on my back. Either way, my heart stopped when, while walking back to our friend’s place in Shoreditch, I heard my camera crash to the concrete, lens breaking away from the body. Again.
Luckily, both lens and body seemed to work when held together; it was just a small piece of broken plastic that stopped the lens from staying on the camera. We had enough minutes on our friend’s mobile the next morning for me to make exactly three phone calls to find a place in London that could put on a new mount, the plastic piece that holds the lens onto the body of the camera. Once again, travel plans were averted to include a trip to a camera store. When I arrived at Fixation, the woman who examined my camera noticed my accent and asked how long we’d be in town. I hesitated, then told her we’d be there a few days. (It should be known that when I had this fixed after the Asheville trip, I had to send it to Michigan; the entire process took a month.) When she told me it would be forty-five minutes, I wanted to kiss her. She’d moved me to the front of the queue. We excused ourselves for lunch and I left, beaming. I couldn’t believe my luck.
I soon found out that karma was in our favor. In this obscure neighborhood in the South of London, we stumbled into the best pub meal we would encounter in England. Flaky and fresh, the fish portion of our fish and chips was definitely among the best I’ve ever had. The fries were solid. The tartar sauce was plentiful. All of these things were better than one might expect. But the life-changing part of the meal were the peas. The mushy peas. With a mashed potato texture and all the flavor of fresh spring peas (which, according to the number of times we had peas during this late October trip, have to have a longer growing season in Great Britain than they do in the states), this side dish made us feel like our pub food was, in fact, healthy. (Note: do not start looking up mushy peas on the Internet. You will learn things that you may not want to know. Especially if you hold the discovery of mushy peas to be a life-changing event.)
I think that this camera curse teaches a valuable lesson about travel — things are always going to get messed up. But to consider each unplanned event an adventure turns the unfortunate into something much better. If it weren’t for the curse, I’d never have discovered mushy peas.
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