Chronicles of one girl's journey to London - from conception to eventual migration.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

CULLING THE CYNIC

London makes you distrust people. It's true. Londoners watch others warily, belongings and children hugged protectively to themselves.  Cynicism is everywhere.

On the tube, people sigh in exasperation at the gall of other commuters - ones who take up too much room with a bag at rush hour, ones who over-extend their use of the arm rest, ones who don't know to move further down the carriage and, worst of all, ones who try to get on the train before everyone has gotten off.

This same cynicism exists when people stop you in the street for directions. Do you know that most Londoners think that people stop you so that their accomplice can quietly steal the belongings you may not be guarding now that you're in a conversation? That's probably not the case at all. London is a confusing place, even natives sometimes need a moment to figure out where to go!

This morning on the tube, I noticed a woman doing that sigh, eyebrows furrowed in a frown, mouth turned down. Why? Because she was being jostled a little as someone else tried to get on the carriage after her. My thought was how I would love to tell her to just get off the damn train and not travel during rush hour because that's how this works at this time of the day lady!

And then I realized . . . London, you are making me cynical. What I would have normally thought was that this little lady was just having a bad morning. Or maybe she'd been jostled around for so many weeks and months on this same tube that she just didn't feel like it today. I know I feel like that a lot on the tube!

You'll see cynicism everywhere in London but the little angry lady on my tube today made me realize that I am falling into their trap. I do not want to. I'm Canadian in nature: trusting, polite and maybe even a little naive. But I will take that over jaded and bitter any day!

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