Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Dear London

Dear London,

I've known you since I was very young. Ever since I can remember, my parents have brought me to see you, to stay with you and to get to know you and I have. I've gone from being a geographically challenged child constantly having to call her mummy to say she's lost to blossom into a geographically challenged 20 year old who has finally managed to refine her navigation skills around the big city...with a little help from a handy app or two (thank you CityMapper and London Transport - I'd probably be somewhere in Pimlico right now if it wasn't for you).

However, you do have your problems London. Those little niggly things that just wind me up. It's not just me though. Oh no. You see, when I decided I wanted to write to you with a few of my complains, I realised, who's going to listen to just one silly old blogger windging about city life? Having a little rant. So what did I do? I got back-up. Oh yes! Not only have my parents contributed to my list but, last night at choir, you were the conversation point both around the table at the pub and during the warm-up at the start of rehearsal. So you'd better listen.

Now, don't get me wrong. I love you very much and I'm very happy where I am but, you know what they say, there's nothing wrong with a little constructive criticism. So here goes.

Transport related Troubles
  1. People who try and cut corners and cheat the system in those one-way passages in the underground - You know, when they have those No Entry signs or just simply a barrier up to separate those coming and going to and from platforms...then someone decides to try and skip ahead and next thing you know...BAM! Two people are on the floor...or something. Keep to your sides people!
  2. Rucksacks and Wheely suitcases on tubes and buses - It's particularly the rucksacks for me. I mean, you make one split-second decision to face the other way and you've knocked two people out and squashed another up into a corner
  3. Queue-jumping for a busy bus or train - You know, when it's a bright and early sunny (with a chance of showers) morning and a bunch of suited and booted important looking people are standing at the bus stop or on the platform, neatly lined up in an orderly queue. Yet when the bus pulls in, that random newbie who has appeared from nowhere decides they have the right to push onto the bus, excuse me? 
  4. A separate but related point - When you get off the train at a stop before your own in order to let others behind you off and then everyone on the platform starts pushing past you to pile on...the doors close and damn! You've missed your train.
  5. You have to wait a whole 2 minutes for the next train! How on earth shall you survive - Sarcasm. If you read it incorrectly, I suggest you go back and try again putting on the appropriate tone. I am aware it's not the case for every line but, for many, the trains are practically every minute, every 2 at worst. There really is no need to rush. So take your time, sip you coffee, grab a sandwich. It's cool.
  6. Sniffers - Pretty self-explanatory but, just in case, they're those people who sniff. Repeatedly. Over and over. Non-Stop. For your entire journey. Just blow your nose!
  7. Loud music - So, you see those plastic, things you've got over/in your ears? Those were designed so you could listen to your own weird and wacky choice of tunes without us having to attend your private concert. Now that you've turned the volume up to full and you're imagining your future without your hearing intact, you might as well unplug the headphones and let us all have a proper listen. Although, if you're going to have it loud enough for us to slightly hear, I'd rather hear the words themselves than just that throbbing bass sound dimly from across the carriage.
  8. People who don't allow others with prams and buggies to get through when on a bus, or just simply going down the street - I mean, I can see you have quite a large rucksack but this lady who just got on the bus has a full blown Pram 360 with a rotating something or other (it will happen, just you wait) and she needs that space a lot more than you do! 
  9. People who smoke e-cigarettes on public transport... - It's in the name. They still count.
  10. Man Spreaders - You know who I mean. Those people who think they have the right to take up double the space on the underground just because they can. Seriously! Just close your legs!
  11. Slow people (with oyster cards) - Often newbies to the city...or 'tourists' but, honestly, haven't you read up on this stuff before hand! Have your oyster card ready when you get to the ticket barrier! It's not hard! (Although, just so you know 'excuse me, please stop telling my friends and family to hurry up, they're new to London, they have an excuse')
  12. People who eat food on public transport - We get it, you overslept your alarm and missed breakfast but that doesn't mean we all need to share in your mouthwatering experience of eating a Maccy D's breakfast benanza...or whatever they're called...on our commute!
  13. Drunk people falling asleep on you on public transport - You may not have experienced it yourself but you've probably seen it happen to someone else. Just take a deep breath and inch slowly, bum shuffle by bum shuffle, away. 
  14. Cyclists who think the traffic lights don't apply to them - They do, my friend. I'm afraid, they do. just skipped a red light and knocked over an old lady. Well done.
  15. Realising there's a cute dog in your carriage just as you reach your stop - No explanation needed. Just cry.
  16. Buses - Now, there's two main issues here: when someone presses a red button to get off the bus, the driver takes note and the screen on board informs people it is stopping. There is therefore no need to press the button again. Once it has stopped, it has stopped for everyone. You can, and may, get off. No need to keep Dinging. On the flip side, when someone has waved at the bus so that they can get on, and it has started to indicate, there is now no need for another person to step to the edge of the pavement, stick their hand out and wave like a maniac. See that orange flashing light? That's called an indicator. The bus is stopping. CALM DOWN!
  17. People not returning smiles on the tube - I mean, I know stiff-upper-lip and all that jazz but I'm actually in a good mood this morning and your child is singing adorably so I'm going to smile, at least have the courtesy to return the favour...Ooh, is that a turned up corner of the mouth I can see...oh no, you were just about to sneeze, whoops.
  18. People who wait for the barriers to close before tapping their Oyster Card on the card reader - It will work. You don't need to wait. If everyone did that, no one would ever get anywhere.
  19. And while we're on the topic - Those barriers, they won't work if you stand that close. Step Back!
  20. Commutes are looong - It may be just one city but some of those commutes really take an age. 2 buses, 3 tube changes and one Boris Bike ride later and finally, you're sitting at your desk. Damn, it's 17:00 already. Oh well, try again tomorrow. 
  21. Finally, a message to the mad drivers who choose cars over buses in this crazy city - Stop being sneaky and slipping into the correct lane at the last minute, I'm not letting you in. 
People related Problems:
  1. Left and right rules - It's very straight-forward. You stand on the right and you walk on the left. Simples. 
  2. Heathrow is still London - I know it's an international zone with people coming in and out from who knows where but you're still in London, still in England so please stick to the rules stated above. You want to chill on the escalator and just go with the flow, stand on the right. Feel like mixing it up a bit and having a skip down the moving stairs, fine but do it on the left. Got it?
  3. Small flats - I mean...this was specific to an individual who has a...small flat but it's still a complaint.
  4. It's expensive - It? what is 'It' exactly I hear you ask? Everything. Everything is expensive. Transport, food, shelter, life. 
  5. Creates a suspicious attitude towards kindness elsewhere - I liked this one. I'd never thought about it before but it's true. You become so used to people not talking to you on public transport...or anywhere that when you go somewhere else (up North for example) and they do - someone spoke to me for a whole train journey once and the bus driver called me 'Love' in Yorkshire - you are instantly on your guard. Who are you? Were did you come from? What do you want? Just take my money!
  6. Slow people at cash machines - It really isn't that hard. Here, I'll explain. Put your card in the little slotty thing that flashes. Type in pin (hint: remember pin before you reach machine) Select what you want to do with said card e.g. remove cash. Select amount of cash. Remove card. Wait for cash. Remove cash. Ta da! 20 seconds max. Sort yourself out!
  7. People who stop in front of you - This is especially true when someone pushes past you in the street then a few steps later just stops. Meanwhile you're in the zone, striding along and next thing you know, you're having to go through the whole 'english' pa lava of apologising profusely for something that wasn't your fault. It's not your fault their caramel frappuccino, no cream please, is now all down their new suit. 
  8. People not looking when they cross the road - Remember the hedgehog ad? With the little song? No? Have a little reminder.
  9. People who refuse to cross the road just because the little man is still red - He's not your dictator, we're not in America, there aren't rules on Jaywalking. If you can't see a car or you can see the lights are red, just walk!
  10. People who try to look like they're busy and important by power-walking...really slowly - You know, with the arms pumping and the knitted eyebrows but really they're still just sauntering along. 
  11. Chewing gum - Need I say more? It's everywhere!
  12. "Cheer up love, it may never happen" or similar - True, but you know what else may never happen? You may never reach your destination with the same perfect teeth as you started out with. Or maybe I'll just lightly step in this puddle right by you and dirty your bright white shirt. 
  13. When you're so small for your age that you're mistaken for part of a school group and told to find a partner... - I mean, this is very specific but she said it happened and apparently she did find a least for a bit, until she could escape. 
  14. Dirt in collars and cuffs - You get home, you're pulling off your tie and Bam! dirt and dust everywhere...actually, I really don't know...This was given to me by a man I do choir with and, having very little experience of collars and cuffs and the subsequent dirt build up, makes it hard for me to describe but for those who are put through this, I am very sorry.
  15. Finally, other people - By the end of our discussion in choir, I think we'd all concluded that life in London would just be a lot easier and less stressful if there weren't all those people. Oh well, I suppose it can't be helped.
So that's my little list for you London. Just a few issues. An area or two in need of improvement. But apart from that you're fab and I wouldn't have you any other way.

You'll have to thank the fabulous Forte, my parents and Bobby for contributions made to this. Anymore that I hear and I'll let you know. See, it's not a personal problem I have with you. Nobody's perfect. Just give it time. 

Much Love to you Lovely London (I do mean it, I promise),

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