The summer has caused the city to swell with tourists. It’s not hard to see why. After all, London is a pretty neat city. I don’t recall there being so many the year I was here as a student, perhaps because my hours were flexible and I never had anywhere I really needed to be, but boy do I notice them now. I notice them during my morning commute, I notice them during my evening commute, and I can’t fail to notice anything but throngs of foreigners on the weekend.
Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate all the money being pumped into the city. I love that people come from all over the world to see it, prompting the creation of numerous special events that I too may enjoy. The fact that London draws such a crowd means that it’s a city worth visiting. If it didn’t attract tourists, then it would probably be a boring place no one would visit: somewhere dull and flavourless. You know, somewhere ‘white bread-ish’ like Mississauga, Ontario, or all those states in the middle of the USA (I mean, come on! nobody goes to Ohio unless they have to).
But the fact that I’m pretty sure our population has just doubled in the last week means that I spend a lot of time getting annoyed. It’s not that I’m deliberately mean, it’s just that I have a schedule. I have places to be, and things to do, because I am very busy and important. And if you insist on taking up the entire sidewalk while trying to figure out that your map is upside down, I will force you to move out of my way. I have pointy elbows and I am not afraid to use them.
I also take a kind of perverse pleasure in cutting people off and jumping the queue when they’re not looking. Also, sometimes I look like I’m pressing the ‘door open’ button of the lift, when really I’m pressing the ‘door close’ button. Then I make sure to give them a sympathetic ‘sorry you didn’t make it’ look as the doors close before they can dive in. And then I may or may not cackle gleefully… I’ll leave that to your imagination.
Unfortunately, I’m married to a man with a conscience who forces me to be a nice person once in a while. Also, my parents raised me to have manners, so occasionally I do help people out when I have the time. I figure it balances my karma and makes up for all the times I’ve sighed and loudly proclaimed ‘keep moving, please!’ when faced with people who don’t understand that one side of the escalator is for standing, and the other for moving. And that’s just it, isn’t it? They don’t have a clue, and I, as a fellow traveller ought to be more patient and understanding, but I’m in a hurry and exasperation takes over.
My fellow commuters know where I’m coming from. They would surely have empathized with me as I stood in the queue for bison burgers on Canada Day. I was about to develop an eye twitch. The Canadian in front of me was content to create a large gap in the queue, letting everyone pass through, just to be nice. I would have barged in front of him if I hadn’t been prevented from doing so by my husband’s strong grip on my arm (how does he always know my evil plan?). Standing in that line, muttering about how
spineless nice my countrymen were, I felt the exact opposite of homesick. What can I say? I’ve turned into a Londoner… so please do me a favour and get out of my way.