Thursday 15 March 2012

...after all this, won't you give me a smile?

We were in London this time last week enjoying a delicious Korean meal in Soho and the company of a dear friend.  As we made our way back through the backstreets around Shaftesbury Avenue, I was rather taken by this particular 'stop' sign:

Ah, you crazy, creative, bohemian urbanites!

As I paused to take a quick photo from the pavement, a rickshaw driver pedalled behind us on the road.  In passing us, he shouted out -  rather disdainfully, I felt -  "TOURISTS!"

Look: I realise that rickshaws, often passed from father to son,  have been part of the fabric of London's streets since their invention in Islington during the early Victorian period.  I also know that these honest, hard-working guys get the vast majority of their trade from locals and barely get so much as a glance from visitors to the world's greatest capital city.... but really, there's no call for that, is there?

It would be a terrible shame if one bad apple robbed Londoners of their well-earned reputation as some of the warmest, friendliest folk in the world.  Before you know where you are, you soon won't be able to make eye-contact with a stranger on the Tube, exchanging warm smiles and friendly greetings at the start of what could be a beautiful friendship.

Think how much less enjoyable rush hour would be once that little pleasure is really would be just you with your face in a stranger's armpit.  A rude stranger.

O tempora! O mores!

1 comment:

  1. When I was at Euston Station waiting for my train, I went to the local shop. Because i was taking too long to decide on something, I was laughed at by the woman behind the counter.

    Different visit, I actually made the mistake of establishing eye contact with an attractive woman. She laughed at me with some amount of disdain.

    The majority of people I deal with from London are impolite and plain rude. No need for it.

    Would it be too much to ask for London to slow down and look what's around them??