I love London, I’ve lived here since I went to university and now I am a grown up lawyer with a job and a reason to commute, it’s very exciting. I thought I would share with you the benefit of my 15 years as a Londoner just so you can make sure you understand the rules, whether you live here or just visit:
1. Don’t dawdle, dither or hesitate – this applies particularly if you are stood at the top of an escalator; getting into a lift or entering the platform of a tube station. If you stop I will walk into you. I won’t apologise because it was your fault (just so you know).
2. Everyone is important – if you are in London, particularly if you live there, you clearly have important business to attend to. It is important, if you find yourself in London without important business to attend to, that you behave in a manner which indicates that in fact you do have important business to attend to. We are in London, we are not here to enjoy ourselves, we are busy, act like it.
3. Hand accessories are essential – please don’t allow yourself to be seen empty handed, it isn’t a good look. If you really can’t bring yourself to be engrossed in a paper, your phone/tablet/kindle or a book then please buy a coffee. It is essential that your hands are occupied at all times (please don’t slow down your pace – you are in London, you should be able to multitask). If you do resort to coffee kindly make sure that the brand adequately reflects your personality – if we see you with Starbucks in hand we will understand that you are a ruthless tax avoidance approving business shark, if you have a cup with an advert for ethically sourced organic beans we know you are likely to stop for Chuggers and can use early avoidance strategies for the moment that you start to hesitate towards them for a chat.
4. If you need a taxi please only use black cabs. These should be flagged down in as dramatic a fashion as you can muster. If you don’t flag with a flourish then the cab driver will know you are not a true Londoner and probably won’t stop. Please ensure that you remortgage your property in good time to pay for the aforementioned cab rides.
5. People standing on the street should be avoided at all costs – Chuggers, people handing out samples/religious literature/free papers or big issue sellers. It really doesn’t matter, you are busy, you are a Londoner, please avoid eye contact and take early evasive action.
6. Your food should be branded – please don’t bring along food from the supermarket, you won’t be allowed to mix with real Londoners. All lunchtime food should be extortionate and from a reputable and accepted luncheon supplier. Don’t bring lunch to your desk, you saved sufficient time from avoiding Chuggers and Big Issue sellers to ensure that you can take an adequate lunch break.
7. Pay no attention to other road users – this applies whatever your method of travel. Cyclists and pedestrians should pay no heed to traffic lights, they aren’t for you, cross whenever you see fit. Pedestrians should particularly aim for the ‘halfway run’ [the process by which a pedestrian runs into the middle of the road to demonstrate that they do understand the rules of the road – but then walks the remainder of the distance to the pavement to indicate that they don’t care]
8. Children don’t belong in London – London is for grown ups and should remain that way. If you do fall pregnant please do not expect other Londoners to treat you any differently, the stairs at tube stations are there for a reason – to make it more difficult for preggies to carry wheely bags onto trains. Similarly they serve to dissuade buggies from entering the public transport system. If you feel you must
waddle walk slower than normal please don’t leave the house.
9. Work friends are not real friends – whilst it may be fun to laugh and joke with your colleagues, please don’t try and take this further by discussing meeting up at the weekend and please remove all former colleagues from your Facebook page when you leave a job, you will need the space for your new work friends.
10. Customer service is generally unnecessary – for those of you who work in the service industry please remember that in London we don’t value customer service. Please reflect this in your approach and ensure that you delay serving Londoners for as long as possible – if you are able to arrange it so that you are engaging in a conversation with a co-worker instead of serving us in a timely manner that would be appreciated. Don’t worry we will still leave a tip on top of the added service charge, we are Londoners, that’s just what we do.