Monday 18 December 2017

London is no place for a chatty, barefoot Irish visitor like me

By Justine O'Mahony

I've just returned from a weekend in London and I reckon I have jet lag! I've never used so many modes of public transport in my life-trains, tubes, buses, even bikes. it will take me a fortnight to get over the sheer speed at which Londoners live their lives when I usually operate at a snails pace.

My first big mistake was packing six pairs of high heels and wearing them on the underground. No-one wears high heels on the tube and there is a reason for this-because you're running here there and everywhere changing lines, catching your next connection, you'd want to be off your rocker to wear anything other than a pair runners.

But of course we all know I AM off my rocker and insisted on wearing my new six inch purple velvet shoe boots to the West End last Thursday night to see a show. Himself warned me but of course I didn't listen. Why break the habit of a lifetime?

'You're feet will be in bits. We have 15 tube stops and two changes and we may have to run. I'm not waiting for you!' Yada Yada Yada.

Obviously I didn't listen and ended up having to take the aforementioned shoes off by the time we got to Hyde Park Corner whilst Himself stormed ahead, pretending he didn't know me. I can tell you walking barefoot in the London Underground is not something I would advise!

My second big mistake was trying to befriend my fellow travellers on the tube! I know, I know-you're not supposed to make eye contact or talk to strangers but seriously? How can you spend that much of your daily life in close contact with other people and not talk to them?

I started just smiling at random people sitting close to me, they ignored me. Then I targeted any babies in the vicinity, talking to them and trying to make them laugh. That worked to a certain extent but their mothers weren't impressed and moved away from me as if I was some sort of baby abductor.

'Will you STOP it! People are going to think you're a psychopath!'

'I'm only trying to be friendly. I can't sit here for an hour and not communicate with anyone,' I grumbled. 'That's what phones are for!' He retorted.

I tried this approach once more when I went outside a restaurant for a quick puff and tried to strike up conversation with a very handsome man in a pin striped suit. 'Do you mind if I sit here?' I enquired, plonking my arse down on the seat opposite him before he could say no. He shrugged and went back to his phone.

'It's getting a bit chilly isn't it?' I tried.

He didn't look up from his phone.

'I'm from Ireland. We've just been to see The Book of Mormon. Have you seen it? I thought it was a bit graphic...' My friend sighs, gathers his cigarettes and phone, gets up and walks off.

I don't think I'm cut out to be a Londoner.

Wexford People

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