The Parson’s Head was one of London’s oldest public houses, famous for their cellar—and their practice of only hiring travelers.
The Brits would rather be drinking the pints, rather than pouring them.
The staff, whom they housed in a dormitory above the bar, was like a less reputable version of the United Nations. There were Kiwis, Aussies, Canucks, Turks and a few of us Yanks.
Somehow, we got the short end of the international-nickname-stick.
They filled their last job opening—and bed in the Boy’s living quarters with Stan.
I had to beg and plead my way onto the staff agreeing to sleep in the common room until a bed opened up.
The common room consisted of an old stained couch, a shelf full of tattered paperbacks left from past travelers who had moved on to new adventures, and an old TV that picked up three BBC channels and little else. It was rarely turned on.
It was where the staff spent their shift breaks, furiously chain-smoking before they had to go back down and pour more pints, and now, it was my home.
I tried to sleep on the couch the first night, but it was so shallow, I could only lay on my side, and every time I drifted to sleep I would invariably roll over, finding myself on the floor.
I had never lived without a bed. My parent’s house, my dorm, my apartment—they all provided me with a soft place to lay my head—and privacy, something I had sorely taken for granted.
I realized this after a month of sleeping on the floor and living out of a backpack.
I was just one step above homeless, but it was different than crashing on a friend’s couch back home—I was flirting with international vagrancy.
It was somehow more romantic. Everything was.