Swedish Girl In London

London Life: Bright Lights, Big City. Now what's on TV?

Friday, November 11, 2005

Commuter Gauntlet

On my way to work today, I was approached by the following people:

A) A jovial guy at Aldgate Station was trying to hand out flyers from a nearby gym to the grey-faced somnambulists passing through the tube gates (also known as commuters). He seemed quite resigned to the hopelessness of this preposterous task, and had taken to entertaining himself by shouting "free day at the gym, free da-a-a-y at the gym" in an operatic voice*.

B) A shifty-looking fellow adorned with three-day stubble was mumbling "Marlboro Lights, Marlboro Lights" in people's ears by Farringdon Station.

C) At Farringdon, various aggressively upbeat people also lay in ambush, armed with clipboards and the question if I had a moment for the blind. When I shook my head and dove into a coffee shop instead, I could feel the hate vibes tickling off my back. Poor things, really. Next time I'll stop.

D) That sweet little man is still offering people free copies of City A.M. in Canary Wharf, but looking more and more forlorn with each day passing. His mantra of "Free for you, sir" has turned into a puppy-eyed silence, imploring people to accept a copy. I hope they do.

And last, but not least:

E) The Scientologists have set up camp by Tower Gateway, cheerily offering to test your stress levels. They must operate according to the theory that these would be relatively high at eight o’clock on yet another November morning, as we Londoners set forth to hustle the city and earn our daily take-aways.
Well, thay may be so, but this is one soul that they won’t snare - because before ten o’clock my pulse is still around the Olympic Swimmer mark and nothing, but nothing, can set it racing.

(Clearance sale at Waterstones, did you say? Half-price offers at Reiss? Stella at H&M? No, kids, you have to do better than that. Give me a time-machine and teleport me away to fin-de-siècle Paris, and then we’re talking. But I digress…)

*This must be false marketing. Free day at the gym? There's no such thing. You'll pay for your ardour later, folks.


At 1:51 PM, Blogger josephknecht said...

I love the tube :-)

Except when it's rubbish.

Actually? I hate the tube. What am I talking about?

At 2:14 PM, Blogger Brian Kunath said...

Nice post! Commuting in London isn't so different than in New York, except that I've never seen any Scientologists. I think they stick to the West Coast.

At 3:41 PM, Anonymous Tonårsmorsa said...

Bara en liten påhälsning från Sverige! Trevlig helg & Kram!

At 5:57 PM, Blogger The Pale Green Woman said...

Aaw London! Gotta love it!

At 5:47 PM, Blogger shellz said...

LOL! You crack me up!

We were approached by a man playing the saxaphone on the street, "Excuse me, miss. Could you spare some change? I'm trying to get my medication."

And the line outside H&M for Stella on the 10th was ridiculous!

At 5:16 AM, Anonymous Nothing But Bonfires said...

Ah, you make me miss London. Didn't the Scientologists used to have a place on Tottenham Court Road, right near Goodge Street tube station? I seem to remember they did, as people were always asking me if I wanted to take a personality test. Right after the people outside Sainsburys had asked me if I could spare a moment to talk about Greenpeace. Which, sadly, I never could.

At 4:36 PM, Blogger Swedish Girl said...

I think Hare Krishna must have turfed out the Scientologists from Tottenham Court Rd. I’ve seen them jingling about there a couple of times now. When they tried to take a detour into Virgin Megastore (?), a security guard nicely but firmly made them rotate 90 degrees and jingle out again.


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