So much has happened in the last ten (gulp) years since I moved to London. I have learned to move around town like a cabbie, cycle to work and ask people to take off their shoes when they enter my flat. Most crucially, as I have recorded several times in this blog, I got to observe, and of course, make some fun of my fellow Londoners. Inspired by a recent article of the glorious Garance Dore’ about New York, here is my list of best (and worst) habits, shared, acquired and fought.
Things Londoners do that I do:
Go to the trendy restaurant/ brunch place. Not getting a table and wait for it while sipping a £10 quid drink at the bar. Get that damn table, which I will need to give back in 75 minutes, and pay £ 25 quid for eggs Benedict, realising that the cost of that drink has inflated the bill significantly.
Saying “we need to get together and have a coffee” and never get in touch.
Plan a very ambitious social week, and cancelling all plans because you have underestimated your workload for that week.
Similar to the above, meet a friend by chance, agree to meet up, then look at your diary and the only slot available is in three weeks. Put the get together in the diary and then get an epic cold/ headache on the day, cancelling at the last minute.
Drink coffee in a paper cup, and feeling like I mean business just because of that.
Catching a syndrome that I call londonite. The symptoms are guilt for not fitting in your week a new exhibition, a concert, a newly released movie, Pilates and some development courses, such as coding, pottery or Portuguese. The guilt is immense if you spend your weekend watching several episodes of your favourite series or if you find yourself napping during the afternoon during the weekend.
Talk about the newest doctor on the scene specialised in food intolerances and diets, the magician who enabled so and so to loose tons of weight. The conversation usually happens while you are grabbing salted peanuts and have a glass of wine in your hands.
Feeling like people from other countries are superior creatures, who can play a sport on a regular basis before work and have a level of stamina that you never had, even when you were 12.
Feel like you are never doing enough. Socialising Enough, creative work, self development, work.
Keep my shoes at work. Walk in flats and get into power shoes at work, keeping a selection of several pairs in the locker or under the desk.
Things Londoners do that I cannot get myself to do:
Queue. The queue at the bus stop. Queue because it is Open House week, London Design Festival, the opening of a new shop, the launch of the Marni collection for H & M. Life is too short, and my calves get stiffed very quickly.
Be excited about a picnic. I do not get the appeal of eating cold finger food sitting on the ground in precarious hygienic conditions, getting stuffed on crisps and olives. Bring on table cloths and real food, with my legs under a table. And metal cutlery please.
The tube. It is a wonderful mode of transport and overall it does a pretty good job for such a large city. But do not get me on the tube at peak time. I can just tolerate the Circle and District line. My idea of hell is a journey from Heathrow to Canary Wharf, trying to get there before 9 am on a Tuesday.
Work crazy hours. Life is too short and no one, on their death bed, ever said “I wish I worked longer hours”.
Do my make up or eat on public transport or at my desk. What would you say if your male colleague was using his electric razor at the desk?