The rental bike is dead as a doornail - evidently the somethingsomething popped off the gearsomething and it's because it is a cheap piece of shit and the B&B guy says I should get my money back. More likely, they'll charge me for repairing it - they've got a 100 pound deposit. I hope this doesn't get ugly.
Further, the B&B guy refused when I asked if he'd get me and the bike as far as the station because evidently that would be too much trouble. He demonstrated how I could scoot the bike along like a scooter. Thanks!
Then he and I got into one whale of a dispute because they keep the house at 16.5 celsius overnight (about 61 degrees). I had a thermostat for my radiator until they took it away. I had a room heater, but he decided that would cause a housefire. I have heard about the prior guest who caused a house fire about four times now. He told me that it was unhealthy to have the room warmer than 18 or so and that I had to keep the window of the bedroom open because I was making the room sick. He insisted on this. I am not shitting you. I have a terrible cold (probably from being so goddamn chilled all the time - my poor immune system is getting the short end of the sick when all my body heat is just going to staving off hypothermia) and he says I am going to make the room sick by not ventilating the air to the outside while I am sleeping. I said that there was no way that was happening and blocked him when he reached to open my bedroom windows. He had brought some kind of piece of wood with screws that would keep it open. NO WAY. The window stays shut. I told him that extreme cold - say for example a difference of more than 35 degrees Fahrenheit between your ambient temperature and your body temperature - stresses your thermoregulation significantly enough to impair your immune system and that this was a fact. If they get sick during the winter, they might want to think about keeping the house warmer. I told him that a) having the window open would not cause the virus to JUMP OUT OF THE WINDOW and that b) the ambient air would bear a very low virus load in any event unless I was constantly sneezing and coughing which I was not; and that c) it would be counter-productive to getting better to continue to stress the body with extreme cold. He protested and said not only was I making the room sick, I was making it damp by refusing to sleep with the windows open, and it was bad for the new carpet.
I indicated that English beliefs about condensation were against every law of physics and rational thought, and that they had it so cold in the house that it was harder for moisture to evaporate. Heat dries faster. Dry heat evaporates moisture. Bringing cold wet air to the inside? Damp and damper. The interior surfaces so cold that you can make your doorknob bead with condensation by breathing on it. RIDICULOUS! Opening the windows so more cold and damp could get in was quite silly, really, if you thought about it scientifically. But, I said generously, that it was totally understandable because every culture has its own beliefs about electrical appliances and air. I gave the example of Korea, where it is believed that a room fan steals oxygen and will suffocate you if you leave it on overnight, so they only sell room fans that are equipped with timers so your fan doesn't suffocate you in the middle of the night while you are sleeping. So you don't die of fan death!
Trans: “Do not use to generate a strong wind close to you in a sealed room. There is a high risk of death if used while sleeping."
His mouth dropped open. "What you think is just like that," I said. "There's no scientific basis for your beliefs about immunology or condensation at all. If you kept the house warm and dry by heating it and keeping the windows closed so the surface of the glass inside would be warmer, and the air next to the glass not so terribly cold, and it wouldn't happen. And if you kept the house warmer, you wouldn't spend the winters being so sick. Your bedsheets wouldn't always feel so cold and clammy, as they do here. It's really not necessary. In the States people think it's very strange to get more than a cold or two a year. More than that and we start looking at immune system problems as a possible culprit. Here, it's these interesting folkways!" He spluttered. He turned purple. He looked really mad. I smiled benignly, enjoying the magnanimity of sharing my imperializing wisdoms with the inferior culture. And a lot of passive-aggressive revenge-having, as I'd been feeling fairly vexed by how unhelpful and peremptory they've both been. I sallied off one last "Travel in Europe is so interesting because you get to find out about so many quaint Old World beliefs and customs! England is an especially interesting European country because our cultures seem so much alike in other ways! So little things like this are especially fun, aren't they!" He did not seem to agree but was speechless. Oh well!
I'm an ugly, ugly American. I was pretty sure that calling England "a European country" would be like "wound, meet salt! salt, meet wound!"
But HAHAHAHA! That's what you get for being a jerk! I will mock you openly under the guise of being nothing more than an intolerable pedant.
If I could have found a hotel that I could afford with openings for the rest of the week, I'd pack all my shit up and call some insane expensive country taxi to take my ass to the train station tomorrow.