Tuesday, December 19, 2006

I love you, that's why I need to leave you!

The great thing about living London is leaving it. I can’t figure out why over the past few weeks I’ve been feeling so, well, despondent and aggressive. Everything has been pissing me off. Be it the tiniest little thing like running out of bread or someone starting a fight in the tube. No matter what has been happening, I’ve been able to find issue with it and get myself down. For example, last week I left work and went straight home on Monday night. Meeting my flatmates Gill (yes Gill you finally got a mention) the conversation went like this:

Bart: "It's Monday night and I'm at home ironing my shirts instead of out. I'm such a loser."
Gill: "What are you doing for the rest of the week?"

Bart: "I'm out every night all week and next. I wish I could stay at home."

This is the calamity I'm in right now, I'm just not satisfied.

But now I know why. I have been in London for three months straight – the longest time spent here. And it does have an effect. When it gets dark at 4pm and light at 8am and the only thing to do is work and go out - it starts to add up. In fact there is even a condition that effects 300,000 people in London alone called SAD (seasonal affective disorder). This disorder strikes sufferers in the winter months and brings with it sleeping problems, despair, stomach pains and lower resistance to infection. Unfortunately so does my average weekend so I’m not sure if I’m a sufferer or not. You can buy SAD light therapy kits that give you a dose of UV, or chemists sell special vitamin packs to boost your wellbeing.

Think I just need to get me one of these to protect myself.

But at the end of the day, when it’s all dark outside there is a little game that I like to play. A little game called ‘Waterloo Dodgem Cars’. You can play this game no matter where you are in the world. For those in London the best places are Kings Cross, Victoria, Charing Cross and Oxford Street on a weekend.

There is one simple survival rule on the tube. Walk straight and don’t deviate. If you come off your line, you will be cleaned up. Watch a swarm of ants running around and notice that they successfully avoid each other without bumping into the next one. Get them drunk and that’s what people at crowded stations look like. It is so crowded at many of these stations that you will hit - quite hard in fact - at least 27 people in the space of 10 metres. Everyone is looking for a gap, so everyone is running in to open space, but here’s the tricky thing – there is no open space. However, there is a strategy you can apply. Don’t move. Don’t deviate. Put your head down and keep going, people will move out of the way. If you try to be sneaky and pick the gap, you will be collected by someone else. Like a rugby game, if you move off your line, you will be collected.

Every couple of metres you will hit someone, but it’s a small price to pay for missing the other 20 on the way. Also, there are only two times you ever apologise. When the person you hit is elderly, or when the person you hit is hot. Also, never confuse the two or you might end up waking up next to an 81 year-old geriatric with a bad hip (Hi Agnus, thanks for the cookies).

Once cordoned off in to a smaller part of the station, either moving towards the trains or the turnstiles, this is where your strategy of sheer power needs to change. Where moving though the station is all about the shoulders and driving forward in to a hit with your hips; fancy footwork is the game in the smaller areas. And, for you privileged few, I’m about to give you all the steps that will save your lives:
Bulldozer: Never give up ground. People will push and push to get in front of you and come in from the side. Always push forward and stick exactly 3 mm behind the person in front of you so no one can get in.

Duck walk: Position assumed when walking very close behind someone (bulldozing) and you need to place your feet at 45 degree angles (walking like a duck) to avoid kicking their heels.

Heel tap: When someone behind you stuffs up the duck walk, kicks your heel and you trip forward.

Fred Astaire: When you spot a gap and move for it; however, several people do the same and you end up bouncing around on your heels and toes like a tap dancer trying to get your space back.

Who’s your Daddy: When someone’s ticket/Oyster card is rejected and the ticketing gates shut in front of them, causing you to slam in to the back of them as they hit the gate. Very awkward moment, but will happen to you at least three times a week.

At least buy me a drink: When someone gives you a Who’s your Daddy. More enjoyable than awkward.

Snakes and Ladders: When two walkways meet in a cross road fashion and you need to get to the other side, causing you to take three steps forward, one back, two sidesway, etc.

Slamming on the brakes: When someone picks the space in front of you because you haven’t bulldozed correctly when doing snakes and ladders, Fred Astaires over causing you to stop suddenly, duck walk and get heel taped. Closely followed by a 'for fucks sake' coming out your mouth.

These are just a few ways to survive your trip to and from work. Spread the love and I’ll see you in the New Year.


At 2:39 AM, Blogger LaLa said...

Merry Christmas my little duck.

Get out of London for a week or so before it makes you bald with big tits like all English people, I blame the antibiotics in the chicken, when have you ever seen drumsticks that big?

At 2:01 PM, Blogger Bart said...

Drum sticks - huge. Chicken breast - tiny? Are they putting those little suckers on treadmills?

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