So I was thinking, the other day, about things that used to be normal to me back home, in my tiny countryside town and how the way I acted would not be acceptable where I live now, in London. I thought they were amusing and that people might relate to them so here they are:
- I don’t react to sirens. Back home, when I heard a siren I would turn around and look. I’d want to know where the noise was coming from and would be surprised by it’s sudden wailing. Here, in London, I hear sirens so often that it never surprises me, I barely notice and I never look up anymore.
- I no longer hear nor gawp at planes. At home, a plane in the sky would have been a strange sight. They never flew low enough to be seen- our skies were littered only with their little cloud trail. When I first moved here, I was right under a flight path and planes flew so low to and from the airports nearby. At first, the sound of constant planes was really irritating and loud and strange to me but now this is another thing I barely notice. If I stopped in the street here to gawp at a plane, I’d attract some funny looks.
- I no longer make eye contact and smile at strangers. There were so many familiar faces back home because it was a small town and smiling at people, whether you know them or not, on the street was just normal. Here, in London, no one has time for your happiness. People walk with heads down, always on their way to or from something and smiling at people on the tube is considered weird and creepy. Not only do I not smile at other people but I would be seriously concerned if someone ever smiled at me.
- What are bus times? Back home, transport was terrible. The nearest bus stop to me that ever went anywhere was literally a 25 minute walk away. Buses were few and far between and I genuinely had to check times before I left the house. As transport here is a huge part of London life, I never have to schedule anything. My nearest bus stop is a 5 minute walk away and I know that a bus will be there every few minutes. It’s the same for the tube and the trains, they just keep on coming all day, every day.
- It’s not acceptable to drink at 10am? People drink all the time in London, regardless of what time of day it is. This would seem a little absurd back home but in London, if you want a cocktail for breakfast then you can have a cocktail for breakfast. And this no longer shocks me. And neither do the drunk people stumbling around London like they’re crazy.
- I am no longer capable of a leisurely stroll. My body no longer has that setting. I can walk at a fast pace or a really fast pace. I groan and get angry at slow walkers because, really, what are they doing? Don’t they have somewhere to be? I slow down only for places such as Oxford Street, when huge tourist parties decide to dilly dally in front of me. Which leads me to the last sure sign that I am now a Londoner:
- I hate tourists. I spent my first year still in awe at London and took my rucksack to central London simply to marvel at it. Now, tourists are the worst thing that has happened to me. They are slow, they never know where they are going, they always block the underground entrances by queuing up disorderly at the stupid ticket machine! They carry ridiculously large cameras around their necks and, no it gets worse, they wear their backpacks ON THEIR FRONT! As if we are going to steal their museum tickets and sandwiches!
I am officially one of those people. Those slightly snobby, always impatient, expressionless, tourist hating Londoners.
And I like it,