London Commuting

“There’s nowt as funny as folk.” That’s a phrase my grandfather used a lot and he’s right. London is definitely the place to be if people-watching is your thing. London seems to be a magnet to such a variety of people and lots of the interesting ones you encounter on the buses.

I was inspired to write this post yesterday. Whilst waiting for a bus on the Strand, I was approached by a chap whose hand was smeared in blood. He innocently asked me directions to Waterloo, as if nothing was unusual. The blood made this a bit scarier than the sleeping smelly old tramp who, one day on the bus ride home, I turned around to discover had woken up and was looking through my shopping bags. The homeless guy at Vauxhall who threatened people with his dog “he’ll tear off yer face he will” was a bit worrying until noticing that the dog in question was the soppiest looking golden retriever ever. The smokers you can smell a mile away and the guy who sat next to me one day in very short football shorts revealing prickly shaved thighs was just disturbing.

These people all have one thing in common. I encountered them all on (or around) London buses. There are plenty of ‘characters’ across the Tube network too though. I prefer to get the bus as you pay less to travel, almost always get a seat, you don’t have to commute in someone else’s armpit and you also get to see a bit of the city.

There are some passengers who frankly we could all do without: dirty gropers, school-going teens shrieking and playing music out loud on their phones, passengers whose iPods are audible even over your own and the pushers and shovers. Those who don’t offer their seats to heavily pregnant women or disabled people, you know who you are.

And yet, there are glimpses of community spirit. Look how people rallied together during the 7 / 7 terrorist attacks in London. It’s a weird place London. It’s not always super friendly, but it’s interesting.

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