It seems the writing bug has re-inhabited itself within me and it is telling me to write about London – The city where I work and play. With a bit of a ranty side to it!
I can’t make my mind up about this city. Sometimes I find myself in love with its history, architecture and atmosphere and then other times I find myself absolutely loathing it. I suppose that is very much like any city; they will always have their good points and their lows.
London is a city full of history, attractions, pubs, theatre, and green parks. If you look one way in London, there are beautifully designed buildings and then look the other way and you are surrounded by greenery and deers in a park. The food and drink scene in London is buzzing and continuously evolving and growing. The theatre shows are award winning and memorable. There are endless places to indulge in numerous shopping sprees and the lights in Oxford Street are the tell-tale sign that Christmas is coming! The amount of attractions available are immense, you have art galleries, museums, London Dungeons, aquariums, Tower Bridge, The Eye and the Shard where you can see across London and all that it has to offer. And my favourite part of London – you’re constantly surrounded by history. No matter where you go in London there will always be a piece of History in which to lose yourself in.
See, I do love London, and it will always be a place that I will be fond of, want to continue to explore and enjoy. But, working in the city every day really does have an impact on how you view London when you’re not seeing it through a tourist’s eyes. I have begun to hate it. And that’s a tough thing to come to terms with when you know you’ve got another 30 years at least of working in this place. (That’s if I don’t become a millionaire, or I don’t move abroad, or I don’t have kiddies, or I don’t start my own company… please can one of them at least happen, another 30 years in London working is terrifying!)
Where do I start with my complaints?! The dirtiness? The public transport? The people? The prices? There’s so much, I might develop verbal diarrhea with this listy rant.
Firstly, the dirtiness. I know, this seems a bit of a picky one and one you’d expect from a city with that many people, but where I work it is unsightly! I have a seven minute walk (yes, very precise, that’s just the kind of person I am) and the amount of repulsive things I see are astonishing. God, I am sounding like a right snob, I’m really not, I promise but just on the walk to work I feel like I need to have another shower. The pavement is covered in stains, and there’s an awful lot of wet patches (even when it is sunny out and there hasn’t be rain in weeks (okay more like days as we do live in England after all)) , the rubbish is everywhere. Every couple of steps you are hopping to the other side of the pavement to avoid a dirty napkin, a piece of food, a bag, even a trainer once! There’s also a certain smell around the area. It is a mix between sewers, pollution, eggs and waste. Pop that in a bottle and stick a fancy label on it and there you have your new fragrance 😉
It isn’t just the pavements. The air is disgusting. I have noticed I get ill a lot more now working in the city and I never feel like the air I am breathing in is particularly good for me.
Not only the air on the streets but the air on the tubes – just don’t even get me started on how filthy they are. The chairs are smothered with, I don’t even know and I don’t think I do want to know. The poles are always covered in slime and grease and in the morning you have a whole array of paper headlines to pick from, and if you’re lucky a couple of coffee choices too! You’ll be guaranteed a sniffy, a sneezy, a coughy, a non deodorant user, and a Maccy or a pasty eater. I can cope with this for the most part – coughing and sneezing can’t be helped but It would be nice if they covered their mouths as they did it. With sniffing that can be easily resolved with a tissue and those that don’t use deodorant, that’s their choice and their life and if they don’t want to wear it they don’t have to! But eating on the train at times I can deal with but not first thing in the morning. One woman was eating a pasty right in front of me and I have been off pasties ever since I was a kid and had a bad throwing up experience with one. I can deal with Maccy D’s late at night as well with those who have been out drinking or when the poor sods have had to work late and only just on their way home, but not at 8 in the morning.
Since I am talking about tube travels, I might as well lead on to my next gripe: delays. I don’t think a single week goes by where I have at least one full journey (to work, and back home from work) that doesn’t have some sort of delay affecting it
More often than not it is due to: SIGNAL FAILURE. I get it. It is hard work processing all the different routes and tracks and ensuring it all runs smoothly, but the amount of times that signal failure happens, I wonder if it is a real thing or just an excuse when they have no excuse for why the trains are running terribly. Mind you, I am always pleased when they give a reason for the delay, but more often than not, they don’t even address the issue of why you’re stuck in a metal tube, god knows how many feet underground, with your face smooshed into the back of someone’s back with their hair all in your face with the temperatures rising and the will to live slowly being lost.
It isn’t just the tubes. The rail services can be even worse. Here I am rather fortunate, and my rail line in the mornings, is rather efficient, which seems unheard of for train companies, and the most I have had to wait is 5 minutes in the cold on the platform, so I really can’t complain. However, recently there seems to be a common occurrence of the earlier train being cancelled, so everyone gets on my time train and so there’s an obscene amount of crowding and shoving. This is where the animal in people become released! It’s like feeding time at the zoo. Despite there being another train a mere two and a half minutes later, everyone must crowd and push onto this one train. You always get that one, how to politely put it, conceited and superior individual, who squeezes in just before the doors are shutting, despite those all stood on the platform awaiting to board the train and clearly not boarding it because there isn’t room. But no, this one individual, wedges themselves on and as they do, they realise there isn’t room to move. Instead of backing off the train and waiting for the next one, they shout down the train for everyone to move along and make room! Oh how silly of us, why didn’t we think to move along and make space instead of cramming in together and standing on top of each other. Oh wait, because there is no room! Everyone, anyway, tries to shuffle along and make room for this one individual because we’re all to polite to tell them otherwise.
People. I am not great with people at the best of times, thanks to my fabulous mental health, but London is a whole other ball game! It’s like anyone that lives in London, or works in London has been built with this really rude and uncaring personality and full of aggression, ready to be released at the slightest thing: whether that be at someone trying to get off a train when they incorrectly try to squeeze on (We all know that’s not the rule, the rule is, you wait for others to get off the train first!) or not being able to cross the road because there’s a red man showing and cars going. People get angry about the most ridiculous things. They also have very little to no manners. No one apologises. I don’t think the word sorry even exists in Londoner’s dictionaries. Bash in to someone? Keep walking. Tread on someone’s foot whilst standing in the queue? Pretend it didn’t happen. Hit someone with your bag as you walk past them? What bag? I mean, we can’t all say sorry all the time because there are crowds and everyone is continuously in a rush, I understand that. But sometimes, there is a chance to apologise, but rarely does anyone take that opportunity. Men, I am sorry to say this, have lost all chivalry and gentlemanly behaviour in the city. They rarely hold a door open anymore, They are normally the ones racing for the chairs when they become available on the tube, and will barge part others who are in need of a seat. These are young men. Yes, some people need to sit down and it isn’t always obvious, blah blah blah, but for the majority of people, it is just pure greediness and selfishness. The amount of times I have been on the tube and seen a pregnant lady or an elderly person get on and the dedicated sea for them is taken. The individual in said seat just looks the other way and hopes no one notices. So yes, Londoners, they are a breed of their own. Even those that aren’t born and bred in London and simply work there become part of the breed that Londoner’s are: rude, selfish, abrupt, and complaining.
However, the one thing Londoner’s don’t really complain about? The price of things, in particular, Drink. I know in a city you always pay a lot more than you would in other areas. But in London, some of the prices you pay are extortionate, yet those that work in London, go out drinking so often it is as if it is going out of fashion! £11.95 I once paid for a double gin and lemonade. That is half the price of a full bottle of gin. Yet, Londoners happily keep buying multiples of these in one sitting and think nothing of it. Yet, 60p for an apple or £1.10 for a cereal bar is so very expensive for them. The one good thing is that I never really get drunk when I go out in London, unless it is a very special occasion, because I simply can’t afford it! Yet, I do splurge on cocktails, but to me £7.50 isn’t expensive for a mix of drink in one glass really? Well that’s the way I try to rationalise it. But prices for food and drink are just ridiculous in some places and I can’t fathom paying that amount half the time, yet for a Londoner, it is standard and acceptable
Londoners aren’t all bad. I know I have painted them in a bit of a bad light, but maybe we all are like that on our commute to and from work. We all have places to go and I think we all just want the same thing at the end of the day: have a clear journey without hassles and get home in the evening to relax. So, I do apolgise Londoners, you all aren’t that bad, all the time. (You can clearly see I am not a Londoner, I apologise far too much to be counted as one!)
I have one final word: London, despite your cigarette butt littered streets, your questionable stained tube chairs and your impertinent people, I still love you for all your beauty of the history, the sights and the atmosphere, even if there is always a questionable odor in the air. You’ve stolen my heart along with the rest of us, and for that London, we salute you – you really are a bad habit that one would hate to lose!
Not Quite Made Girl