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Thursday, May 30, 2013

My Journey As A Muppet Fan Part IV: The Day Before I Met My Idols by Nicholas Napoli

My Journey As A Muppet Fan Part IV:
The Day Before I Met My Idols

The day before I was going to meet Kermit the Frog and Pepe the King Prawn I kept thinking to myself all day long “how come I’m so calm? I should be freaking out” but for some strange reason I wasn’t, I was relaxed. It was my third day alone in London and the first time I had ever actually travelled by myself for that matter and yet I was at ease. Last time I considered myself to be “meeting the Muppets” was when I saw them in 3D at Disney World and my eyebrows would not stop twitching yet here I was about to meet the real thing and still nothing? At the age of fourteen I thought Muppet Vision 3D would be the closest I would ever come to “being” with the Muppets but here I was eleven years later about to meet the real Kermit the Frog and Pepe the King Prawn themselves. I woke up that morning  easier than I’ve ever got up before , I could not wait for this great sunny day in London to just be over and done with already as I wanted to meet my idols the next day. I could not wait to get ready but as I mentioned last time this was not an easy task. Last night Herbert the Old Perverted Man walked in on me as he had the night before… who was going to surprise me in the shower this time? The water as always freezing cold but I didn’t care, I had my shower, nobody tried to join me this time, I brushed my teeth, got changed and made my way back to my room. I grabbed my coat, my Ipad, my wallet, my pouch, my laptop and my lucky Kermit figurine as I always did and made my way to start the day.

I felt like bursting out of my hotel room singing “Life’s A Happy Song” as I whistled down the stairs but two thing’s prevented me from doing this… the other guests at the hotel already thought I was weird enough and for some reason I can’t whistle. I happily hummed the song to myself, walked into reception, greeted Mustafa good morning at his desk (how does a guy work 24 hours a day?) and walked out the hotel. LONDON I’M READY! Now what it is I’m ready for I had no idea but I did know I wanted it to have something to do with Muppets. I decided to check out HMV where I knew Kermit and Pepe would be performing in two days’ time and to my delight there they both were advertised all over the place. Muppets! Muppets! Muppets! I want more! Where the fuck is the Disney Store? I was getting impatient and nervous, I couldn’t find it, why was I getting so nervous over not finding a Disney Store? Oh no might it be my inner-eyebrow-twitch telling me something? I’m going to move on and just get straight to the point… I found the Disney Store! Now last time whilst in London with my Dad, he came to do something which had to do with his kidney stones, I can’t quite remember what he wanted to do with them exactly but I had gone searching for the Disney Store more specifically a Pepe The King Prawn soft toy! 

Anyway I had already bought most of the Disney Store when I last went with my Dad but I knew that this time I was still going to buy something from there even if it was a repeat. I really wanted to buy an extra Pepe soft toy but I had already bought two last time, even I can’t justify buying a third… wait my cousin Nikolai is a fan, I could buy him a Pepe, keep this one for myself and give him one of the other two I already have, problem solved but now I want a Kermit too but I already have one… wait my sister just had a baby, another problem solved. Once again I picked up a shopping basket and filled it with Muppets. Kermit soft toy, Pepe soft toy… my friend just had a baby girl, Miss Piggy soft toy (I’m not trying to pretend it wasn’t for me, I already have one) still not impressed with this Gonzo but I regret not getting him last time, Gonzo soft toy, Baby Kermit t-shirt, Baby Gonzo t-shirt, Oh WOW! A Kermit the Frog pen with his head actually at the top of the pen! WOW! This wasn’t here last time, should I get one or two? I’m spending too much money I’ll just get one. The Muppets mug, Beaker keychain... That’s it I think? Good thing I bought the whole store last time because this time around my Dad wasn’t next to me if money started to run low. I happily bought my merchandise and tried to whistle my way out of the store.


What a day I was having and tomorrow I’d be meeting the real thing, all of a sudden my legs felt weak, I sat down and thought to myself “why am I starting to feel as though I were drunk? Have I been drinking all day and am too drunk to even remember? What a strange feeling, maybe I’ll go grab a bite to eat and I’ll feel better”. I had been walking excitedly from store to store for over five hours maybe a late lunch was in order? I came across this particular restaurant and I have no recollection of what it was called and wish I did so I could make sure never to go back. All I remember was that it was some sort of sports bar because as I walked in I found a small group of people cheering on at a football match on a giant HD TV. Actually there were a few HD TV sets all around the restaurant and I thought to myself “do they really think so many people are going to be in here at once?” Ten minutes later… I want to say England played against Germany? Anyway in those mere ten minutes I was proven wrong as all the television screens were in use. The place was packed, over a hundred people easily filled the room and some even leaned against my table as I tried to eat my bread rolls around their asses.

I started to feel a little hot, maybe I should take off my coat? At that particular moment my phone begins to ring, it’s my Mom once again wanting to know if I was still alive. I assured her I was okay, told her I had done some shopping and had just sat down to eat. “So what’s the plan for tomorrow?” she asked and I informed her that I was to meet Bill and Steve the next day at the Soho Hotel in Room 209. “Oh-my do you think that’s a good idea?” those were the first words of inspiration my mother decided to give me whilst on my journey. “No Mom” I replied “maybe I should ask them to come to my hotel instead… maybe they can meet Herbert the perverted old man”. Suddenly England scored and the crowd inside the restaurant went crazy, they all lifted their arms up in the air and began to cheer and one of them even farted on my table in excitement. The room became an oven, I was so hot and my Mom was not helping by asking questions such as “so what do you plan to do when you get there? Are you going to knock on the door?” was she serious? “No Mum” I once again replied “I’m going to surprise them by coming in through the keyhole”.

I said goodbye to Mom and told her I would call her afterwards, that’s when she gave me the confident boost I so desperately needed “good luck darling, I hope they don’t rape you”. With that I hang up and as time went on realised I felt warmer and warmer, maybe it was finally time I took off my coat. My bangers and mash finally arrive as I’m removing my coat, so many things around me already. My Laptop was on the table, my IPad inside my laptop case next to me on the bench I was sitting on and most importantly my Muppet toys were all inside the Disney Store bag on the other side of me plus my food now in front of me… I decided to leave my coat on instead. Unfortunately at this moment Germany scores and everyone begins to boo and yell out once again causing me to heat up like a barbecued rib on a grill. I could not breath, I felt suffocated and it was so hot even the heat coming out from my mash potatoes were making me sweat. I was actually really hungry and thought to myself “maybe all I need to do is eat”. I took the first bite of my sausage and mash and right then I realised hunger was not the problem. I started burning up, I sipped my cola and then England scored again… for once in my life I didn’t want England to win.

Just as last time everyone got up and cheered, was the sun moving closer to Earth? Had global warming finally kicked in? I had never felt this hot before… not even when as I child I had been left in the car accidentally for ten minutes in the burning hot sun. I always wondered why it took them so long to realise they had forgotten me, after all they were taking me to school but that’s beside the point. I started to become red hot that finally I decided it was probably time to removed my jacket, I took a sip from my cola again and just relaxed. I thought to myself “other than feeling like I’m about to die I feel pretty good” I knew I’d be able to get through this without dying on my plate. I still couldn’t understand why I wasn’t nervous though since being nervous is what I’m known for. I was going to be meeting Kermit, Pepe, Bill and Steve tomorrow! I should be a nervous wreck, my eyebrows should be twitching or something, little did I know my whole body was about to twitch because I was about to have some sort of seizure…

Everything around me went pitch black for some reason, was I back in my depression room with no light once again? I couldn’t see anything but soon I began to hear different voices all around me…                  

“I think he’s Italian?”                                                                                                                                                  
“Somebody call an ambulance!”                                                                                                                                      
“He’s just suffered an epileptic fit”                                                                                                                                       
“Are you a doctor?”                                                                                                                                                                
“No I just watch a lot of TV”                                                                                                                                                     
“Do you think he’s okay?”                                                                                                                                               
“Somebody get him some water”                                                                                                                                
“Aren’t you the waiter?”                                                                                                                                                             
“Is that Miss Piggy on the floor?”                                                                                                                                      



Miss Piggy? For some reason my vision finally came back to me and as I looked around I realised I was surrounded by a vast group of faces I had never seen before in my life. “What’s happened?” I
asked and one particular guy who I assume was the waiter informed me I had suddenly collapsed on the floor and was shaking uncontrollably for just under a minute… really? I had no recollection of that at all.

Anyway I wasn’t looking to make small talk I was as embarrassed as one could be after fitting out in a restaurant and just wanted to get out of there. I looked around me and must have thrown my Disney Store bag onto the floor during my full-body-eyebrow-twitch because all my Muppets soft toys and merchandise were all scattered around me. If worse had come to worse at least I was surrounded by those closest to me, the Muppet and a bunch of crazed England fanatics. “Don’t worry an ambulance is on its way” someone said to me but no way I was going to get into an ambulance. I had come all this way from Gibraltar to meet my idols and that was going to happen the very next day. I was not going to let some stupid hospital stop me from living out my dream because I had to stay with them under observation.

I’ve never been to hospital back home other than for planned procedures, I wasn’t about to start going for emergencies now… I’ll leave that for my old age. I got up to my feet and fell down again “Please sir wait for the ambulance” but I wasn’t waiting around for anything. I once again tried picking myself up, then realised I now had to pick up all my Muppet toys from the floor. I bent down and my legs once again began to tremble yet I managed to collect all my Muppet merchandise whilst everyone looked on at me. I placed my stuff back in the bag, grabbed my laptop, IPad case and my coat, threw up a little on myself and in a drunken fashion respectfully made my way towards the exit.

“The fresh air will do me good” I thought to myself but I was
completely wrong because as soon as I stepped outside everything felt much worse.

Everything and everyone was moving too fast, the cars, the people and the noise… I’m not even going to start on the noise. Everyone was looking at me, someone even commented on how pale I looked and honestly what I really felt like doing was just lying down on the ground and letting this all pass. Once again I felt the urge to throw up, I did a little but managed to stomach down the rest, I knew that the state I was in, if I started to throw up in the middle of the street I’d be arrested for sure. What was I going to do? Luckily I realised that Kensington Gardens was just opposite the road from me. Feeling as if I had been drinking all day I made my way to the other side of the… HONK! A car almost runs me… HONK! HONK! HONK! Another car almost runs me over but luckily I got to the other side. Kensington Gardens! I’m saved! I look around and see people playing football, others cycling and most importantly others simply lying down on the ground. That’s exactly what I wanted to do and here I could do it without calling attention to myself. I placed all my possessions on the grass next to me and this time I removed my coat but as I began to lie down everything just started spinning and soon I actually began feeling much worse…

Everything I had been holding down since the restaurant was coming back up and this time I couldn’t stop it. I looked around and noticed a beautifully decorated rubbish bin nearby. I picked myself up, run towards the bin and just started going crazy letting it all out… sadly Oscar the Grouch was not making a brief cameo in my movie I was simply dying in Kensington Gardens. Whilst I was throwing up I kept thinking to myself “remember you’re not home in Gibraltar… you can’t just leave your stuff lying around”. Suddenly from the corner of me eye as I made sure my laptop, my IPad, my Muppets and my coat were all safe I saw what I really couldn’t be bothered to deal with but unfortunately had no choice. A guy who had been selling watches around the park earlier that day had made his way up towards my stuff and was getting ready to steal from me… AIEEK!

I quickly turned around and as I continued throwing up all over myself I also began yelling and chasing after that asshole. Before he had time to pick up my stuff he had already run off like a coward empty handed. Was my workout at the gym finally paying off? Did I actually scare him away? Sadly no it was the simple fact that I was throwing up and threatening at the same time. At this point I couldn’t care less who saw me throwing up, everyone was looking at me in disbelief and I knew that if I wanted to meet my idols the next day I had to get back to my hotel room as soon as possible before I brought any more attention to myself. I smelled, my heart was racing and everyone was staring at me but on the bright side I did feel a little better now yet I was in no state to walk home. I had no idea where the hotel even was but at the same time I knew that as soon as I stepped inside a taxi, the mere motion of being inside a car would make me throw up again but at this point this was a risk I was going to have to take and so was my new taxi driver.

TAXI! Luckily it didn’t take long for a taxi to stop and as soon as I stepped inside I knew I’d be leaving the car by force before I reached my destination. Before the car even began to move I felt like I was going to throw up all over again. The taxi driver began driving and as soon as he took the first curve I knew I was in more trouble than I had first thought I was in. I placed my right hand in front of my mouth knowing that as soon as I started talking I was going to throw up. I pleaded with the taxi driver as best I could “please I’m going to throw up can you stop the car” but what did the taxi driver do instead? I assume he thought I was going to make a run for it without paying my one minute fare and instead of stopping he actually locked the doors and windows… now I couldn’t even roll down the window to get some air. “Please sir I’m about too...” to late I began to throw up again and like a fool I kept my right hand in front of my mouth trying to keep it all in but that wasn’t helping. There was no place to throw up in… except for my Disney Store bag, I quickly began chucking out all my Muppet merchandise with my clean left hand.

Separating me in the backseat from the taxi driver in the front seat was a plastic shield and I actually remember seeing Kermit, Miss Piggy, Gonzo, Pepe and all my toys hitting against that shield as I threw up between my fingers. Once the bag was empty (or so I thought) I began vomiting inside uncontrollably hoping that the taxi driver hadn’t realised the mess I was making in his backseat. Suddenly I realised my Kermit the Frog pen was still inside the bag and like an idiot I stuck my already dirty right hand into the vomit filled bag and brought out my pen. At this point the taxi driver turned around and in my nervous state what did I do? I showed off my vomit-covered-Kermit-pen! The taxi driver pulled to one side and began yelling at me to get out of his car and with reason. He was shouting uncontrollably and now to make things worse a small crowd were gathering around us. As the taxi driver yelled at me to leave I found myself in a dilemma, how was I now going to carry all my new Muppet merchandise back to my hotel without a bag and only one clean hand? Using only my left hand which meant everything took much longer to do I grabbed my key-chains, t-shirts, figures, mug and placed them in my pockets. I fit as much as I could into my laptop case… “GET OUT!” the taxi driver kept yelling and I was finally ready to leave his taxi and as soon as I stepped out he angrily drove away, didn’t even ask me to pay… what a nice guy. I had no idea where I was or even who I was by this time all I knew was I had to make sure I was feeling better because tomorrow I was going to be meeting this guy…

Everyone just kept looking at me and with reason as there I stood, pale faced, vomit all over my arm, carrying my laptop case and IPad around my neck whilst clutching against myself (using my clean arm) my Kermit, Miss Piggy, Pepe and Gonzo soft toys whilst carrying my Kermit pen in my other vomit covered hand. That’s when I started feeling like maybe coming to England wasn’t the best idea. I continued walking down the street, having no idea where I was, covered in vomit, holding my Muppets, looking like total shit, trying to keep my balance, throwing up every now and again whilst feeling just a little sorry for myself. I thought “this has never happened to me before, it couldn’t have happened back home with my friends and family? It couldn’t have happened when I was on holiday with people I knew? No it had to happen when I first travelled on my own the day before the biggest day of my life”. I had always been too busy playing with Muppets to start a family and now that I was so close to making myself feel better about that fact I wasn’t about to let a little seizure stand in the way of me fulfilling one of my many Muppet related dreams. I started missing everyone back home more than I had since I first arrived to London, I was even missing people I didn’t think I’d miss, people I knew would have probably have come with me had they still been in my life.

Then I threw up for the last time and was actually happy about it as this time after clearing my insides I felt much better, might it have been food poisoning? As always I was wrong because soon once again everything began spinning, I just wanted to get home, I needed directions. I tried pulling myself together and walked up to this lady hoping to ask her if she knew where The Leafless Tree Hotel was located. After she answered had it not been for the fact that I had been throwing up for the last two hours I would have kissed her. Apparently my hotel was just a simple five minute walk from where we were standing. That five minute walk felt more like five days to me but finally I arrived to what at this point I considered home. I walked through reception, said nothing to Mustafa and went straight to my room, once inside I had no idea how sad, lonely and bad I felt, I only realised when I started to cry uncontrollably. It was only 7:00 p.m. but I wanted the day to be over and done with already, this had been the worse day of my life yet luckily tomorrow would be the best day! I placed my Kermit pen in the sink and tried cleaning it without having the ink run without any luck. I continued to cry as I tried to clean my pen and then it all felt like too much and I just got into bed hoping the day would end, at least now I was in my room, what else could go wrong?

Knock-Knock! Who’s knocking on my door? I answer and you’re not going to believe who it was. It’s Herbert the Perverted Old Man informing me that’s he’s going to have a shower so that I don’t
accidentally walk in on him. “Fuck off Herbert” I shut the door on him and went back to bed.

Tomorrow I was going to meet everyone I ever wanted to meet, I should be out celebrating, I should be happy but the day had taken its toll on me and honestly I was so exhausted I didn’t even have the strength to be happy. I missed my family, my friends, my Muppet collection, I missed everyone. I decided a quick snack before bed might do me good since I had nothing left inside my stomach so I nibbled on some left over cold pie. I then splashed some water on my face, brushed my teeth and decided that even though it was only 8:00 p.m. I was still going to go to bed. As I lay in my bed thinking what the next day would bring there is yet another knock on my door, who could it be this time? I answer and once again it’s Herbert except this time he’s only covered by a towel and soaking wet. I just look at him “can I borrow your shampoo?” …Herbert Fuck Off!

It was a lousy day and an even lousier night but it was all worth it because the next day this was going to happen…

I know I look terribly sickly in these pictures but remember I had just had a seizure less than 24 hours ago… with many more soon to come.  

 - Nicholas Napoli  

Thanking Nicholas so much for Part IV.

My Journey As A Muppet Fan Part V:
Room 209
coming next week!

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