I am a Londoner. Being a Londoner, I don’t feel the need to qualify that statement, but I was on the tube today (further qualifying my statement) and I thought up a few things to prove my Londonosity, so I’m going to list them.
For starters, I was born in London, albeit in zone 5, but London nonetheless. I’ve also lived in this glorious city for an enormous two and a bit decades. Furthermore, I can’t remember a time when I didn’t have an Oyster card and recently I signed up to the Boris Bike Scheme (actually Ken came up with it, but always choose alliteration before accuracy). Although it’s mandatory to wear a helmet when cruising the mean streets of London on one of those pimped out bikes complete with a blue ‘Barclays’ vinyl and three speeds, as a Londoner, I choose to ignore the law and obvious health risk. Why, I hear you ask? Because I am that much of a Londoner.
In case even more evidence was required, I obey the unwritten laws of the Underground. I never make eye contact with my brethren in commuterism, and view conversation with strangers whilst in transit as nothing short of contemptible. I’ve never bought The Big Issue (ok, maybe once, but at the time I thought it was actually written by homeless people, and I was curious) and finally, my excuse for being late is always ‘delays on the Met line’. So there you have it, I’m a Londoner.
It dawned upon me just the other day that the Olympics are nearing. As the city readies itself for ‘A Summer Like No Other’, all I can think to myself is… “Really?”
Adverts are appearing everywhere, desperately attempting to coax the public into euphoria at the thought that this over-populated home to congestion and under-capacity will see all its problems exacerbated. Eventually, like four fat men at a door, it will have to stop, glance around uneasily and mutter “well isn’t this awkward”. How do we avoid that moment? Well we know we won, so we could now graciously hand the boiling hot water bottle that is the Olympics to a very unprepared Paris, sit back behind a copy of the Evening Standard and snigger.
Instead, works are being carried out on the London Underground more often than far too frequently, just so that we can enjoy being even more cramped than usual. I implore you, my fellow commuters, to practice the following: sleeping whilst standing, sandwiched between dozens of melancholonious locals (I made that word up, but rather like it) through daily Underground delays with the added pleasure of thousands of foreigners, excited to cheer on their genetically superior countrymen. They’ll be speaking their foreign tongues, they’ll be happy and giddy with all the joy of being abroad, and they’ll even, God forbid, think it acceptable to talk to us. All the while, we will have to apologise for stuttering in surprise and may even instinctively stand up or hand over a newspaper, naturally assuming that any communication is either an older citizen offering us the opportunity to be kind to their aged legs or a noncommittal request for a stray and neglected free paper.
Also, the Olympics themselves escape my understanding. When my mother used to take me to the park with some friends, we’d do many things. We’d frolic and frenzy, but most seriously and importantly, we’d compete. Everything was a competition; who can run the fastest, who can throw the furthest, jump the highest, and so on. It was fun as a kid and I’m sure my mum enjoyed watching our youthful boisterousness, but as a grown adult, I’ve never sought pleasure in taking part or watching athletics. I’ve actually suspected it of being quite immature. Words cannot do justice to my passion for real sports, but the appeal of the Olympics has simply eluded me.
To be perfectly honest, I’m not completely against the Olympics. For the most part, I’m fairly indifferent, but what really perturbs me is when the media attempt to arouse excitement about Games which are nothing more than that: games. I’d as readily watch four people engage in a game of Monopoly as I would a group of people competing to out-jump each other. Anyone in their right mind would agree with me, and if not….well they’re just simply not a true Londoner.
Image from: http://www.e-forwards.com/2012/01/london-summer-olympics-2012-jokes-humor-and-funny-quotes/
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