Hello there, you brilliant creature. Are you enjoying your Thursday so far?
When Ash and I were living in Southgate, we got a lot of stick from our friends about not “really” living in London, even though Zone 4 is still a zone. Now that I am snug, smug and central in Zone 2, I reckon I should have grasped some of the finer points of the London lifestyle…but I definitely haven’t. I’ve lived in and around London for most of my life, but there are some Londoner trademarks that I just don’t have. I’m sure some of them will creep up on me over time, but for a lot of capital-dwellers there are some expected characteristics that we may never obtain. Here is how you can tell if you’re not a “real” Londoner (yet):
You wait for the green man before crossing a busy road
I have friends who are, in most situations, sensible and sane human beings. Give them a hectic junction in central London, however, and they will sail across the road without even glancing at the traffic. I just can’t do that. I might take thirty seconds longer to reach my destination, but I will definitely get there alive.
You still (secretly) like the tourist attractions
I know they’re full of tourists who don’t know where they’re going, and I know they’re mostly overpriced and cheesy, but I still love London’s tourist traps. The London Eye is pretty darn cool, and Piccadilly is just fun. Give me a day of museum hopping in South Kensington over an obscure art gallery any day of the week.
The buses baffle you
I am very glad that my London friends can speak so knowledgeably and confidently about the buses in their local areas, but it takes some time to get that savvy. I’m still working the tube map out, for heaven’s sake.
You don’t get annoyed appropriately
Yesterday morning I woke up to find two foxes and a squirrel asleep at the end of my garden. Instead of getting irate about urban vermin and fearing for my bins, I immediately got excited at the possibility of The Animals of Farthing Wood becoming a reality. That’s not really a Londoner way of thinking, is it?
You don’t understand how Boris bikes work
Seriously, no idea.
You don’t go to the right pubs – sorry, bars
In my heart of hearts I still feel like a student, which means that I automatically gravitate towards the nearest Wetherspoons or Nicholsons pub, even though this fabulous city is chock full of interesting and weirdly themed bars. Even when I do find an independent pub I quite like, I can never remember what it’s called. Whenever my friends and I are trying to think of somewhere to go, no one listens to me because I end up suggesting “that place we went to when it was cold”, “the pub that looks like the hanging gardens of Babylon” or “the bar that had lots of beers”. Not helpful.
You can’t always give tourists directions
I try. I really do. I want to be helpful, and I’m flattered that I look enough like a Londoner to be asked for directions, but I very rarely know where I’m going. I’d been working in the area for two months before I found out that you can walk from Leicester Square to Covent Garden.
You forget that it’s not ok to skip in public
Looking happy is strongly discouraged, and demonstrating joy is a definite no no. (By the way, I do realise that the skipping thing might just be me, but what’s life for if not a bit of occasional silliness?)
Have a brilliant day.