Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Observations on travel

1)  London cabbies love to listen to talk radio.  They love it.  Football, politics, recipes, world news; it's all good, dawg. 

Know why? 

So they can then retail that information to their passengers over the course of the day.  It's like instant conversation magic dust...sprinkle some into a cab and there will be some conversation.  The cabbie I met yesterday, however, wins the award for Telling Me Something That Will Give Me Nightmares.  Outright.

Cabbie:  (as we pass some roadworks) Lots of building work going on in the City at the moment, love.  Lots.

Me:  (dicking about with my phone, not really listening) Oh yes?

Cabbie:  Yeerrrrrs.  They've been demolishing this big building.  Right in the City.  Right in the middle.  Can't use dynamite on it though.  Too many buildings around.  Too crowded.

Me:  No?  Tsk tsk tsk.

Cabbie:  (warming to his theme)  Yeah...know what they used to demolish it?  Instead of dynamite?

Me:  Um.  No.  (expectant pause)  What? 

Cabbie:  A giant machine that ATE it.  Like a huge dinosaur, with HUGE jaws.  Just ate all the way down the building till it was gone.  (Makes "giant machine eating a building" gestures with both hands - luckily we are stopped at a traffic light for this.)

Me:  (Listening properly now)  What?  A machine that eats buildings?  That sounds terrifying!

Cabbie:  Yeah, like a giant dinosaur.  The pressure in those jaws must be immense.  Immense.  Can you imagine?  Eating the whole building, concrete, steel, the lot.

Me: (imagining all too clearly)  Christ, yes.

So thanks for that, Mr steel-jaw dinosaur man. 

2)  Many people are no respectors of an injured woman's slowness.  I am trying to walk further now, but I am still struggling, particularly at the end of the day when my ankle has swollen up like a fleshy grapefruit, and I am limping like some sort of unconvincing ham actor auditioning for the Hunchback of Notre Dame.  And, I have discovered, when you are limping along slowly, for example across the concourse at Waterloo Station, heading for your train, people are really rude. 


So far this week I have been tutted at, jostled and asked to "step aside please" to allow a fat sweaty man with too many bags to waddle down the platform three steps ahead of me.  I had the last laugh, however.  Being a wily long-term commuter, I simply hopped onto the other end of the carriage he was aiming for and made my way quickly to the prime spot in the middle, leaving him to take the scabby seat by the door where everyone whacks you with their luggage as they come in and out.  Ha.

3)  People have no idea how to dress for the weather at the moment.  Today, for example, I have seen people wearing the following:

t shirts
fleecy jackets
opaque woollen tights
summer dresses
formal suits

Many of the people wearing those outfits were also carrying umbrellas.  Either the weather or our fashion sense is playing cruel tricks on us. 

Tomorrow is a work at home day for me.  I intend to listen to Planet Rock, limp around the house as slowly as I please, and wear pyjamas all day. 

Take that, society.

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