So there’s the quote that “When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life”. Maybe I am. After all I’m Marvin’s [from THHGTG] proconsul on this planet Earth so don’t talk to me about life. That aside it’s one of the odd moments when I don’t feel like my life is a complete waste of time ahead of me.
When in 2007 I decided to leave Budapest for the UK, things were very different. I was unemployed, living w/ my parents who pretty much overloved (and -annoyed) me, I disliked the country, I didn’t have anything I personally felt responsible for (in terms of achievement) and I didn’t have much of a future plan. Then of course there was a female friend of mine that moved to the UK and in hopes that we’d get together I moved a year later. Funny thing is, I never told her about my hopes and by the time I ended up in the UK she was already gone to Spain or Malaysia or Japan or some other country. (She kept country-hopping for a while, I don’t recall the details any more). Life is a bit different now but not too much different.
Why do I want to leave London then? A few years ago, when I was very actively pondering on breaking up w/ my then-girlfriend, a good friend of mine suggested that I should use paper and pen to jot down a list of things I like and dislike about her and our relationship. The list came to be rather interesting. The dislike part was long and full of specifics, the like part was short and full of generic things (cute smile etc.) – I feel that my relationship with London is much the same. I’ve been here for 8-9 years (nine in the UK, eight in London) and I feel that if I haven’t yet started to feel at home in this city then it’s very unlikely that I ever would.
|Friends.||Size of the city (indirectly affects some of the ones below).|
|Variety of jobs.||Number of people (way too many).|
|River Thames.||Commute times (way too long).|
|Some of the parks.||Lack of sensible opening hours.|
|Meetups.||Lack of cafés with decent outdoor seating areas.|
|Standardisation. *||The Tube – It’s old, hot, crammed and shit. Oxford Circus by itself is a reason for dark thoughts.|
|The unions – Bane of every Londoner’s life. Mostly the RMT but the rest are equivalently evil.|
|London is dirty.|
* standardisation: this is more of a UK thing than a London thing but I realised I came to like it quite a lot. See the brain tries to find links to what’s familiar to it in general until it learns the details – and the British are good at standardising stuff in terms of people knowing what to expect. Small things like classifying microwave ovens (Class E is 900W+, don’t need to search online for a manual to find out what you’re looking at in the kitchen), or making sure that road signage is consistent, where you can park, where you can’t park, all that stuff. At least in Central Europe, such standardisation is non-existent. I’ll be curious to see how much of it is around in NZ.
Note that most of the things above are super-superficial. They’re largely just excuses. Maybe I’m trying to escape from myself, maybe I’m bored. Matters not. I’ll be there wherever I go, there’s little escape from that. So I might as well try an adventure.
I was thinking though, now that the idea of not being here anymore is taking shape of sorts I start to wonder if there’s anything left in London that I really want to do. Visit the Parliament? Tea at the Ritz? Unsure. I still have a few weeks – I’m away to Hungary in most of September.