The Yokel Under Tubes


Here’s the story of London, my foot, and home.

Is it bad etiquette to blow your nose in a dining room full of people enjoying a lovely typical British hearty breakfast? You see, it’s a lose-lose situation. Because if I blow, it’s disgusting, if I don’t blow, it’s disgusting as my nose runs all over my bacon, but if I do not have breakfast, then I’ll have to go hungry all because of some ‘social unpleasantness’. You see, if I’d been home this week, I’d have been fine. Nobody bats an eyelid when it comes to ‘social unpleasantness’. They understand, they’ve been in the same situation, they know the hell I’m going through and they will put up with it. But in London, it is so fancy you don’t know what to do. It’s a different country compared to the north. The gulf in class is mind-blowing. Incomprehensible. People looked at me with such disdain I was frightened I’d put a foot wrong and I would not even know it. So I sat there in that dining room, contemplating whether or not to blow. In the end, I thought a bit of northern can-do was in order. Blow to your heart’s content! And that’s a message for everyone. If you’re ever in doubt, be yourself. Go forth and blow like you’ve never blowed before!

The elevator was a bad one, too. Full of people, desperately trying not to blow because it’s not nice. People like it when you don’t sniff around them, although London is so full of people, it’s hard to understand why they don’t tolerate it. Honestly, I was on the underground and the looks I was getting as I sniffed merrily away were unbelievable. These are people who’ve spent their entire lives travelling on the under tubes. And little old me, well, who cares, let’s make him feel more awful. I’ve been on the New York subway, full of hobos singing, old crazy ladies with cats, mad evangelists and young boys packed with guns, visible under their clothing. Not one New Yorker paid any attention to any of this. Yet in London, ‘Sniff’, and you get looks of, ‘Oh my God, that is so wrong, get out you rapscallion, you awful thug’. All I’m asking for is a sense of perspective.

“I died in Vietnam! I was restored to life, amen, by the Lord’s holy grace! Oh, hallelujah! He saved me! He brought be back to life and I’m here as his one true messenger to say to all you dirty disgusting sinners, to say that I can save you, too! I can save everyone! I am Jesus! Oh, amen, brothers!” He went on for some considerable amount of time thereafter. Now if that typical New York subway passenger appeared on a London underground, I’d hate to imagine to sheer amount of people fainting. Usually going down saying, ‘Well, I never’. It’s awful.

Of course, all this equates to one thing. I have a cold. I had a cough last week. And the week before. And now I have a cold. I mean, you can’t help it, but I am starting to forget what it was like being healthy. Maybe I’ll never be healthy again. Oh, man, I like being well. Events this week have hardly helped. Walking all over London, a good six or seven miles each day, with a chest infection then a cold. Hot weather, until the last few days, triggering my hayfever. Tiredness. That’s been awful. No sleep because something has been rattling on the roof. Aches and pains in my legs and back. Pain I can’t even describe it’s so intense. And the icing on the cake? Well, I had a shower in my room. One where you have to turn the bath taps on and push that thing down to activate the shower above. Yes? Well, I had my back to it to raise my feet up to wash the soles, which needed washing to sooth the million and one blisters they’re covered in. Yeah. Kinda forgot about the tap. Which my foot slammed into as I raised it. On the plus side, the huge chunk I took out of my foot stopped bleeding within ten minutes, because otherwise, I can only imagine the maid’s horror next time she cleaned my room.

“ARRRRGH! There’s been a murder!”

Of course, it’s probably fairly obvious by this point that I really don’t like London. It creates a false image of Britain, which is great if you live in London or are visiting, but really doesn’t represent the UK. Londoners are very rude people. Just listen to all the ‘hellos’ and ‘thank-yous’ you get next time you’re there. All foreign. Not a single London accent among them. They barge past you on the street, somewhat by necessity because there’s no room to move, but they should still ask. They dress all fancy or quirky, they talk in language from a Dickens novel, or like it’s still the 19th century. It’s ridiculously posh. A million and one opulent buildings full of a million and one opulent people. Everything is so perfect and expensive. You couldn’t realistically live there. Police sirens going off every five minutes. The toughest security you could imagine. You just can’t enjoy it. 90% of London is like this. It may have been Britain a hundred years ago, but nowadays, it just isn’t.

No, I missed home. Every single person says hello and thank you, smile and are friendly. They never barge passed you. They are sincere. The landscapes are far superior. It’s modern, and the old is properly old, not some shadow of a former glory being kept alive for some yokels. And things are cheap. Living is a daily struggle and you can barely afford to put food on your table. Full of crappy ‘60s eyesores. The government has abandoned us. Of course, this is the north of England, where we don’t have much, but we have each other. In my hometown, and this is true for many towns across the north, there are hundreds of families that go days without a meal. The only food the children get is free school meals. It’s not pretty, but it’s real, honest Britain. All London is to me is a plastic jewel in a rusty crown. But would I leave my hometown? Nope. It’s difficult but at least it’s real. I like that it isn’t perfect because that imperfection, to me, is perfect.

I only went to London for a few days. My nephew, brother and his wife from Australia were in London for a week. Only the second time I’ve seen my baby nephew, and a year since I last saw him. And it’ll be another two years until I see him again. It’s very hard. I had a good cry when they left. Sometimes you wonder if life is meant to be this hard. That baby is so unbelievably adorable, cute and so very funny. I had a great time with him this week, he actually made London bearable. And now he’s gone for another few years, my only nephew (no niece’s), and I can’t help but wonder what’ll fill that void. It really shouldn’t be this hard, readers. Ah, who said love will tear us apart? They may have been on to something…

Well, I have to go now to recover. That’s my next thing to do. Four weeks of illness just isn’t great. I’ve barely got through this post, but I’ll get there in the end. At least I’m home. Safe and sound.

And, honestly, that’s all that matters at the end of the day.

American author, Jarod Kintz (b. 1982), once said: “Love is like war, except without all the blood and death and stuff.”

Peace Out :|:

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this post. You can leave a comment and/or like this post below, or by clicking the title on the top of this post if you are on the archives page. Likes and follows greatly appreciated. Thanks.

Please feel free check out the latest posts from my other two blogs:

To Contrive & Jive
New Posts Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday
Click Here to Read the Latest Post

Hark Around the Words
New Posts Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday
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