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London logic

June 8, 2009
A commuter takes some time out.

A commuter takes some time out.

Believe it or not, I’m actually a fan of the London tube. Well in theory anyway. It travels far and wide, runs frequently and has lots of character. It’s like being in a dysfunctional relationship where your partner will do you the favour of taking you to work but will make sure you suffer every inch of the way.

The other morning when I got on to the Northern line, a crowd of people packed into my carriage so tightly that I was knocked over. Except I was still standing upright and my feet weren’t touching the floor – I was freaking levitating.  A few stops later I made my way out of the sardine tin and started to walk up the stairs to the Jubilee line. A person behind me stepped on my foot making me trip up the stairs and causing my shoe to fall off. But don’t worry, I didn’t annoy the crowd behind me because the person who had tripped me, kept pushing my back so as not to break stride – phew! Who knows what could have happened if the morning commuters had to stop for a few seconds for a girl to find her ballet flat.

This image of the merciless London commuter isn’t necessarily a new one,  but don’t you think it clashes with the stereotype of the over polite, over apologetic Brit?

Exhibit A – Poms love to open doors for you. I mean, not just for common courtesy but in a freaky–OTT-kind of way. From the front door of my office building until I get to my desk there are five doors. If someone walks through the first one and sees me there ten steps behind them, they will patiently wait those few extra seconds with the door open, saving me from having to open it myself. Then I’ll smile and say, ‘thanks’ and they’ll walk off just a tad in front of me so they can open the door for me again. And the whole thing will be repeated until I’m finally at my desk. Can you believe that these patient door openers are the same people who push and shove during the tube war? It’s absolute crazy London logic!

Thanks, Cheers, Nice One, Great, On ya Gov.

Thanks, Cheers, Nice One, Great, On ya Gov.

Plus it’s just as irritating if you open the door for them, because they won’t just say the one thank you but will have to say thank you after all five doors, making me want to scream, “enough with the good manners, just one thanks will suffice”. In fact I find the British door etiquette so trying, that if I see someone walking into my work, I try and hold back pretending as though I’m not going to walk in through the door at all. When the coast is clear I make a dash and open all my own doors, making sure not to thank myself. Ah, bliss!

If you’re new to London and want to understand more on underground etiquette (do not cough on the tube, make eye contact or carry a bag etc) and tips on how to muscle your way past people to get a seat, visit this blog.

Em

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. June 20, 2009 4:13 pm

    Now I’m scared about my taking myself and my luggage between the airport and your place via public transport!

    Btw that is a fantastic photo of Martin on the About page. Actually he looks like that it almost any photo I’ve seen of him 😀

    –Christine

    P.S. Less than 2 weeks til I’m in ‘the motherland’ with youse, woot!

    • June 22, 2009 12:39 pm

      Yay – get here as fast as you can
      And don’t forget all the half naked people you’ll see at the birthday drinks which are in a pub smack-bang in the middle of the Common – woohoo …

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