The following is an excerpt from my travel journal, written in March of 1999 while I was visiting a friend who was studying at the Royal Holloway, just a 40 minute train ride from London in Egham, Surrey.
I’m sitting here in a public park near Embankment Station, and a little Italian man approaches me.
“Are you Italian?”
“Ah, then you must be American.”
“Do you know the magazine Yankee Clipper?”
“You are not from New York?”
He then explains that he is “on assignment” for this magazine, and would I be interested in being a millenium hairstyle model for this magazine?
I managed not to laugh. He was probably a crock but even so, what sensible Yankee female would be taken in by an Italian gentleman in ratty trousers and a nylon jacket while she’s alone in a foreign city? Especially one who offers no card? Not as good as having a drink bought for me in a bar, but almost.
And I was going to sketch the lovely tourist sitting on the bench kitty-corner to me, before my Italian encounter. Now he’s gone.
Which the greater lost opportunity?
Re-reading this passage, I suddenly recognized the name Yankee Clipper from my present day life. It’s a magazine-style coupon flyer which comes quarterly in the mail, whether you want it or not.