People in their environment have always intrigued me. While meeting them on my travels and taking part in festivals and cultural events form the highlights of most of my trips, I also take a lot of time people watching, observing behaviours and actions as the inhabitants of a place go about their daily routine.
And I think I almost have the Londoners figured out – almost.
The average Londoner has some what a comical approach to daily life. They can be ridiculous polite and obnoxiously rude at the same time. Meet a Londoner in their natural environment – the pub – they are as friendly as a curious cat: wanting to know all about you, talk to you and laugh with you over a pint of beer, but will always keep a safe distance from being approachable, but meet them else where on the road or at a train station and watch them growl with their cold staring eyes….
Londoners Can Be Scarily Patient
Patience is something that can be measured in the length of queue versus the hostility of those in the queue.
Now, a ‘queue’ anywhere else in the world for longer than two meters with a wait of more than ten minutes can arouse tension among the queuing inhabitants. They’ll start to make obscene comments, point fingers, track down ‘those responsible’ and chew at each other’s ears.
In London, queuing seems to have become a sport, where Londoners will patiently take their place in the queue, even armed with a book or phone as if they already anticipated some kind of queue in their daily lives. If anyone dared to trespass the peaceful line, they are often only ‘gently’ reminded, or not be noticed at all.
Yet, Londoners Will Mow You Down If You stand In Their Way (or, On the Left)
Now, keep this image in mind and get to a train station during peak commuting hour, when the friendly outlook suddenly become savages. Have you tried to stand on the left going up and down the escalators at the stations? Have you stood still while trying to get your bearing just as you step out of the doors of a tube?
Put a Londoner in front of a tube/train and it is like waiting for Primark to open their doors to the annual sale. Get in their way and they will mow you down.
Londoners Are So Scared They’ll Miss The Train
It is a rather comical sight when the tube pulls into the station and watching all the Londoners panic and run, as if getting on that tube is the definition of crossing between life and death.
Guys, you do know the next one is just a minute or two away, yes?
They’ll run, scramble, push and elbow anything and anyone in their way, enable to get on the train before you, with absolute disregard to pregnant women, disabled passengers or the elderly.
The number of times I have watched a pregnant woman having to beg for a seat, or simply stood the entire journey because no one is willing to give up their hard earned seat (and are pretending they are so engrossed in their phone/tablet/book that they ‘haven’t noticed’) is just amazing, leaving me unable to believe these are the same people who can otherwise be so nice when you meet them in a social situation!
Londoners Are Severely Pessimistic Of The Weather
Even though weather really hadn’t been all that bad, Londoners are really quite pessimistic of the weather, It’s one thing to expect rain when told, but even if the forecast says it’ll be a dry sunny day, you’ll hear a Londoner say “yeah, but it still might rain”.
Ok sure, it isn’t the best place for sunny weather, but it could be worse Londoners! You could be living in Stornoway, or Siberia, in winter.
Londoners Are Suspicious Of Nice Strangers
Have you tried to just smile at someone while walking down the street in London, or just start a conversation with someone on public transport sitting next to you? You should try it, it produces the most hilarious result.
Londoners are specifically suspicious of nice strangers. Smile at them and watch them do a double take, as if it was a miracle that someone in London is actually being nice. Try to chat to someone on the train and watch them move ever so slowly away from you, and heavens forbid should you try to offer them a bit of your packet of chips, they’ll run away in horror in the opposite direction as if they’ve just witnessed a murder!
Obviously this post is not to be taken too seriously, but if you are ever in London, spend a day to observe the city’s natives in their natural habitat. See how many of these observations you pick up!