The Changing of the Guard is, to be perfectly blunt, a rather boring ceremony, and I realize this unfortunately while quite literally frozen in the middle of a crowd seeing more of the tops of peoples' heads than the subdued pomp that I had come with an bunch of other foreigners to see.
The Buckingham Palace that morning was a destination I had arrived at out of lack for anything else to do. When some people at the hostel said they were going to check out the ceremony I had decided to tag along only because the plan had presented itself quickly, sooner than the commencement of the aimless wandering I had been thinking of doing that day.
When we got there, the ceremony had already begun and a crowd had already formed so that poor short me had to summon that lost ballerina of my past and dance on tip toe just to see what was going on--and there wasn't much, just a bunch of guards standing stock-still in formation.
I really didn't see the point of staying, and had wanted to leave within the first five minutes of being there, perhaps head to Abbey Road or Platform 9 3/4 on King's Cross (which I eventually did--photos to follow!). I was only half-involved in the goings-on that when a carriage passed by, and ripple of excitement went through the crowd, but I didn't even notice that it was Her Majesty the Queen inside, (or at least that's what she looked like in the photos that the others took).
Cold, bored, and with jetlag beginning to kick in, I was feeling--for the first time since arriving in the country I had wanted to see since I was eight years old--unhappy. I didn't even know that was possible, and the realization of it dampened my mood even more.
Then, just like that, the marching band started to play a familiar tune and I by impulse, I found myself singing the words. Tonight, gonna have myself a real good time...
"Don't Stop Me Now" by Queen! I could hardly believe it! I had been hearing the song over and over again in the days before I left home, and had even played it on loop on the plane.
At the exact same moment, the sun broke through the clouds, blessing my cheeks with some much-appreciated warmth. At the same time, a group of Filipina tourists beside me started making jokes about "Mareng Lizzy" in that patently irreverent Pinoy way, and I couldn't help but laugh along, not only at their wisecracks, but at the whole situation.
As if staunchly forbidding me to be unhappy for even a minute, London had told me in masterful arrangement that I was exactly where I needed to be.
Well-played, London, I thought. Well-played.