A shout out to my London folks – can I ask for an ‘advance’ forgiveness? (angel face mode). I promise this will be short….here goes!
WHAT I DON’T MISS ABOUT LONDON:
ATTTTTCHOOOOOOOO!!! The loudest and wettest type of sneeze landing straight in your face or other body parts with the typical British excuse ‘Better Out Than In’ whilst on the Underground/Tube or Rail. Two choices: (1) Wipe your face/other body parts with tissue, roll your eyes and look away (2)Hope and pray to God that you have already caught the ‘flu’ bug your Tube standing neighbour is spreading and so you will not be on the next ‘flu’ journey in the next couple of days.
(1) RUSH HOUR TRAVEL ON LONDON TRAIN OR TUBE:
There are quite few things that I DO NOT miss about London and travelling peak time on the tube or rail tops. Most jobs are either in the city or far out the other side of London so either you move house to be near work or you grin and bear the 0605 or 0615 train out from whichever ‘woods’ you live in London or the outskirts to begin your morning grind to work. The passengers’ journey usually is ‘fair’ in the early mornings. Come 0630 or 0645 or worse still 0700 and you are in for it! God help you if the train or tube workers decides to go on a strike and you can be rest assured you aren’t getting anywhere close to work or home (you are usually half-way through the journey most times when that happens!) Travelling and getting a seat during rush hour is so notorious that some creative bloggers actually provided tips on how to ‘target’ the next available seat when it becomes available! No kidding. Don’t believe me? Click on this link to read. To be honest, if you grew up/schooled/worked in Lagos/Nigeria, that is child’s play :).
A lot of aggression, drama and exchange of stereotype words can start anytime on the tube/train. The one I can never ever forget was a trip I took coming home after a long day. I was standing besides a white woman and her little girl (around 4 or 5 years old) and next to them was a Sikh (turban wearing) gentleman wearing a suit and a backpack (which is very typical of Londoners). The little girl innocently looked up at the turban wearing gentleman and asked ‘ Are you a terrorist’? OMGodmother!!!! You need to see the face of the girl’s mother go red with embarrassment – notwithstanding the reactions from EVERYONE inside that tube coach. Someone pulled the emergency lever, half of the folks sitting and reading their Metro (free Newspaper)/novels/ ipads jumped up and aimed for the doors – the poor suited Sikh almost died of embarrassment. Why? Stereotyped mindset passed on to the young generation and spreading like wild-fire. I will save details on stereotyping for another day. God help us. Well I look back on that – today its funny but mehhhhhnnn not that day ooo. That was the day I understood that saying in Pidgin English that says’chicken dey sweat – na feather cover am’! With that panic? I was sweating like a Christmas chicken. Phew!
2. NEIGHBOURS FROM H@LL:
Well not exactly your next door neighbours – London is not exactly the friendliest place on earth. EVERYONE is in a hurry to get to the next bus or train stop and if you are looking for a friendly smile, look out for the ‘Johns and Marys’ (the Oldies/Pensioners walking hand-in-hand) because they can spend a few minutes catching up the ‘weather’ with you. Not the smartly dressed gentlemen on his mobile phone or the ‘bank babes’ punching on their laptops or ipads on the train. You are even lucky when you need help with travel – if there isn’t a policeman/woman close by you are better off checking out the bus stop maps than asking someone on the street! Nah – I don’t miss that aspect of London
Now, I am not talking about the upper class English Aristocrats or the typical Cockney/East London accent, neither am I referring to the South East ‘polished’ African-Black accent (oh yeah – that one is sweet to the ears. I missed those and honestly, my very good friend Sola is afraid ‘on my behalf ‘that my own children will miss out on those :)).
I am talking about the ‘forced’ African-Nigerian-Yoruba-Ibo-Ghana-Zambian-London ‘innit’ accent you are subjected to when a ‘Sister’ or ‘Brother’ gets on the phone in public. Or when you meet at parties or church or other social gathering. Especially when they have got to be ‘seen or heard’. I think Seyi Law’s ‘are you from innit’ cracker explains my point better. Well, as a proud Nigerian-Ijebusite that I am, I rocked my ‘Lagos Chick’ accent – better safe than sorry. Not that I pronounce ‘Husband’ as ‘Ozzband’ though :))
4. FASHION DISASTERS:
Maybe I should excuse the ladies (and men too!) for this faux pax. You ask why? Tons of African stores that stock make-up, hair, body and fashion accessories. There are also a thousand and one hairdressers (oh sorry beauticians), nail parlours, dressmakers (oh sorry fashion designers) and Brazillian/Morrocoan/Peruvian/Italian/European/Sodom and Gomorrah hair types in London. Combine all these together and what do you get? The ‘mobile-colours’of-the-rainbows! It can be scary and disappointing. I would rather let you see some ‘modest’ example of the fashion disasters you can come across in London than talk about it. I am an advocate of ‘See, hear and talk no EVIL’
5. THE DATING/RELATIONSHIP SCENE
A very sensitive topic this one -however, truth be told! I am a little bit ‘reserved’ about this but if there is a place in the UK that relationships amongst Africans-Nigerians hang on a wing and prayer, its London. Religion regardless! You would think that the relationships/courtship started and mentored by Pastors in the Church will be immune from emotional disasters but it is even worse with the ‘Sistrens and Brethrens’. Taking the context of church out, you have the reckless, uncaring and self-centred cases of relationships. Extra-marital affairs? Oh Lord have mercy! Heartbreaks, cheating and other reckless behaviour? It is well. To be fair, it isn’t all gloom – some relationships and marriages survived and are still surviving in the City and I give those involved credits. It’s hard work!