Lee Rotbart

Posts Tagged ‘London’

Location based small talk

In Second time lucky on September 7, 2010 at 5:55 pm

Someone once told me that you can tell you’re a Londoner by the fact that you can have a one hour discussion on how to get from Wembley to Notting Hill by public transport during rush hour, yet you can’t point out Dorset on a map. When I first read that I laughed in recognition, not a shamed bone in my body, completely conforming to the stereotypical view of a Londoner.

It’s crazy to think that there are entire parts of the UK that don’t talk about tubes, that don’t care how you got to work, and that don’t spend hours of their time working out where (to the nearest mm) to stand on the platform so that you get off the train opposite the exit.

Today there is a tube strike and London has been thrown into chaos. The hundreds of thousands of people that exist below ground from 6am through to 8pm are now above it, blocking up buses, hailing taxis, and cycling around on bikes they found at the back of their garden (if they have a garden).

Danny and I have been exchanging texts all day about living a life that doesn’t involve tubes and hordes of people, and it makes me laugh to think that I’m going to be engaged in a whole new type of small talk.

Instead of talking about tubes am I going to be talking about tides?

Instead of moaning about traffic am I going to be moaning about tractors?

Instead of discussing smog am I going to be discussing sea air and rust?

So much conversation is ‘location / situation based’, it’s inevitably why we are drawn to people that have had similar experiences to us. It’s the human need to belong and in London we are pulled together by the universal subjects of rain, smog, public transport, the price of public transport, the time it takes to travel across London by public transport (you could get to Birmingham quicker!) noise at night, and new bar / restaurant openings.

What is in store for us now? What discussions are going to keep us up at night? Are we going to get fed up with the fact that we can see our (new) friends by walking 10 minutes down the road, or are we going to be popping round for tea and village gossip every day?

Whatever it is, it will certainly be different.

There are some constants though, it’s 2 more sleeps till our property weekend (we are up to 5 viewings) so it’s not so hard to guess what we’ll be talking about for the next week or so.