Weow! A full month in the Cobblestone City. And not to detract from my love of compiling lists–I’ve made a special v 1.0 and added “On” in front of everything. I think it gives it a little something academic. And British.
Ah! Traffic. It’s not so (shudder) bad if you’ve got a sense of where you’re going. A friend said it perfectly a few days ago, “Street names in London are about a block long, and then they’re called something else.” It takes about 40 minutes to get anywhere, and I’m working on this theory that at the end of this year, I will spend equal parts asleep and riding the tube. I’ve only been honked at twice– once for teetering early into the road and the other for mixing up my lefts and rights. It’s not so bad, but when I turn to shake my fist at the person behind the wheel, I automatically look to the passenger side, leaving the driver to laugh at my mistake and me left to choke on London dust/exhaust.
On London dust/exhaust:
The rate of my sneezing has increased by 1300% in the last month. My Kleenexes are black. My eyes runny. But, there is something serene about coming home after a long day of holding escalator handles and watching the grey water swirl down the drain. No wonder the Thames has the opacity of concrete. But, on the flip side, hand sanitizer provides a lovely cooling/stinging sensation–which comes in handy on the tube.
On the tube:
Ooo. Wordplay. Anyway, the tube is pretty swell. The colour coding is great and the names are great–my favourite stop is Tooting Broadway–but I can’t come up with a good enough reason to go there. Um, the only bummer is how sweaty everyone gets. But what I really mean is how sweaty I get. It’s like puberty, without the forgiveness.
As the saying goes (more or less), never judge a word by its phonetic, logical breakdown. You will probably pronounce it incorrectly. Thus, “Southwark” becomes “Suffvick” or “Suth-ick” and “Borough” becomes “Burrah.” I haven’t yet attempted/embraced British words/slang. So for now, I’ll continue to take the elevator, instead of the the lift. But when you think about it–lift is such a better word. Elevator sounds completely prudish, made up and robotic. It’s almost embarrassingly dated, like those weird exercise machines in the 1950s.
On the little things:
1. No drip coffee. Only americanos, espressos and lattes.
2. A two pence coin! As if pennies weren’t enough!
3. The amazing newspaper stands with handwritten headlines on sandwich boards, all decreeing the end of the world, at least for that day.
4. Tipping is not customary. So strange.
5. A4 paper. Makes 8.5 x 11 look like a chubby cousin.