The stereotype of grumpy Londoners on the tube that would rather die than talk to you is well known. When I moved down to London last May, I realised I will once again have to understand the new people I'm surrounded with. Yesterday, I had a lesson in London communication...
On my way from my first to my second job I was waiting in line to buy a tube ticket. Suddenly a Londoner (as I soon found out) cut right in front of me.
In previous encounters of rudeness I -in my tourist manner- grinned sheepishly and thought: "Pssh, Londoners." (Anybody who knows my mild manner understands...)
Not yesterday. I was late. I was stressed. I needed that ticket, quick! Therefore I took all that bottled annoyance and vented it in saying: "Aehm, excuse me..."
5'5" of London East-End British Bulldog turned around, fletched it's teeth and barked:
"...well... you know you're cutting in line..."
"Well, you shouldn'a left so much space then, should'ya?"
Furious (and bewilderedly amused) at the gall of this half-pint I heard myself exclaiming:
"You know, you're the reason everybody thinks Londoners are Dickheads!"
I was stunned. His last comment is like saying "Yo momma." (Brits: "Your mum.")
There was no comeback.
But then I realised that for the first time I had joined the bickering between Londoners.
In a city where a girl can throw up at a tube station and nobody cares (true story), this man had just decided to bother with me and thus treat me as an equal! It was his way of saying: "Welcome to London, and have a nice day!"
As he was leaving I greeted his scowl with a chuckle and walked up to the ticket booth. Behind the counter was a stunning 6 and a half foot black man who -looking a little embarrassed- said: "Sorry 'bout 'im, mate."
...pssh, Londoners! Head of bricks, heart of gold...
Got any good big city stories? let me hear them!