Monday, April 16, 2012

I'm Not Allowed To Go To Stevenage

Years ago while I was planning my first trip to England, the comic, who enjoys both history and having an opinion about it, decided that he should tell me a little bit about the area I would be visiting. I thought this was a good idea as well having recently seen a map - it appears the English are incapable of building a straight road, and I thought it would be good to know something about the wrong places I would end up when I inevitably got lost. He broke it down for me: Hitchin is better than Letchworth. Letchworth is better than Stevenage. Actually, everywhere is better than Stevenage. Everyone is fucking mad in Stevenage. As a matter of fact, I could forget all of that because I wasn't allowed to go to Stevenage.

Upon arrival I met the beautiful Sulu. We became friends instantly and being the demure and conservative girls we are, we took off in her new car down the A1 to an adult store to stock up on various sex toys and have a cappuccino. All that artificial penis made us hungry, so we decided dinner was in order and since I was not yet aware of the appalling lack of decent Mexican food in that country I asked if there was somewhere we could get it. According to Sulu the only Mexican joint that would be open at that hour was in Stevenage. Always the rule follower, I told her, "I'm not allowed to go to Stevenage." We went for Italian in Letchworth instead, which was the better idea anyway: I've since seen the "Mexican" food on offer in that part of the world and it confuses me and makes me sad.

Years later when I regained control of my senses, I found myself in Hitchin sitting outside the Sunrunner with a coterie of fabulous lunatics and someone mentioned a shop that happened to be in Stevenage. "Back when I was with [the comic]," I told them laughing, "he used to tell me that I wasn't allowed to go to Stevenage." Conversation stopped as a dozen heads swiveled towards me with grave looks on their faces and all together collectively informed me, "You're still not allowed to go to Stevenage."

Since then it's become something of a thing with us. Anytime Stevenage gets mentioned in any context, someone (most of the time not me) will inform any newcomers "Amber's not allowed to go to Stevenage." This statement generally leads to one of several similar follow up questions:

  • Why not? ("Because it's Stevenage.")
  • Not allowed or don't want to? ("Not allowed.")
  • Doesn't that just make you want to go there? ("It doesn't matter, she's not allowed.")
Others don't bother to even question it. When I told the good doctor about it (who grew up in Stevenage but has since escaped) on his last trip to Chicago, he informed me it was a good rule since as likely as not I would get shot there. The best response so far came from someone who quite seriously told me "Neither am I," apparently having been banned from any number of establishments for various wrongdoings. It's nice to know I'm not the only one.

I'm currently in the process of planning my next trip over to accommodate the sure-to-be-off-the-hook birthday party of a friend (a friend who has to be physically restrained from rapping in public and injures herself more often than I do which would be impressive if it wasn't so ridiculous). I have no plans to go to Stevenage - I'm not allowed.


Carpet Cleaner Steve said...

There's plenty of great restaurants in Letchworth. I don't really know Stevenage that well, but best to stay clear anyway!

By the way, you're not allowed to go to Stevenage anyway lol

amberance said...

I absolutely LOVE L'Artista in Letchworth!