Column from last week. Allyuh, sorry for the late post. And this was a real half ass attempt at a column too because these days my time - and my brain - is not my own. So, forgive me.
I’m bored today and as usual, a bit cold, so I thought up a fun activity to occupy my brain while doing the work I’m paid for occupies my hands. If I left England tomorrow, what would I miss? I know the more cynical among you (mainly those of you who read my column every week waiting to email me ancient death curses if I say anything bad about jolly old England) will be sarcastically muttering, “Not one blasted thing.” Not true. Despite my moanings there are a number of things about this country that I like that I would miss if I were magically transported back to my mother’s house, kind of like what may happen in a cheesy Disneyworld movie staring a young Haylie Mills or a well rested Lindsey Lohan. So what exactly would I miss?
Well, firstly, the shopping. Having been rechristened “Centipede” by my mother, I’ve exceeded her expectations and have managed to accumulate over four boxes of shoes since I’ve been here. I’ve been here for less than two years. I’m trying my hardest to prove that Sex and the City stereotype true, especially since I can’t prove true any of the others. Sigh. Oh to be like Samantha Jones, the originator of that classic quote, “Sex with an ex can be depressing. If it's good, you don't have it anymore; if it's bad, you just had sex with an ex.” It takes a special kind of woman to see two negatives in an all out positive situation. But that’s another column. And it’s not just shoes. There’s all the fabulous clothes that caters for so many different tastes. “So, madam, you’re looking for a dress constructed completely from magenta feather boas you say. I’m afraid our store no longer carries that design. However, you may check our competitor in Camden Town.”
I’d also miss the fact that nobody minds your business. It’s a nice change coming from a place like Trinidad where, if you gain one pound of premenstrual bloat, sprangers who spend their days begging outside your office will ask if you’re pregnant. The company I work for currently has three women pregnant out of wedlock for men of dubious existence. Nobody cares. Or if they do, they hide it well. They save the macoing for outside work hours, which is just as fine. The fact is, everybody’s so busy worrying about their own business that they really don’t give a fig about yours. I guess being macocious is a luxury and a side effect of a relatively easy life. I mean, think about it. If half your salary goes towards paying your rent and the majority of the rest goes towards transport, clothes and food, you really couldn’t give a flying fig who the neighbour’s daughter went out with last night. London is a place where you cannot afford to not mind your business. It’s kind of like the army – or prelims at Skinner park – you either shape up or ship out.
I’d miss autumn too. I would, really. On the one side you have the increasing depressing realization that autumn signals the impending arrival of winter. But the approaching cold weather makes for some spectacular sightseeing. A tree whose leaves are changing can be a beautiful thing. The drier the weather, the more spectacular the colours. It can be a somewhat hit and miss situation, the way some women get more beautiful with age – like Phylicia Rashad (Claire Huxtable) while others look like cast extras from The Rocky Horror Picture Show. You don’t really get to see it being in London but you can during a drive through the country side – or even some of the more residential areas, especially on a sunny day when the sky is that special, crisp blue you get only in autumn and winter. You almost don’t mind the cold. Almost.
I guess what I’d miss most of all though is the variety. From food to theatre to music, London proves itself to be the great metropole in that it somehow, someway, always manages to shift across and make a little space for almost everything and everyone. And despite the constant moanings about the vast numbers of immigrants flooding the country and the complaints against the huge strains on its resources, it still flings opens it’s arms and embraces new things more readily than the majority of other big cities. Or, at the very least, turns away and pretends it hasn’t seen.