London, Travel

Locali’s’ing

If you asked me to doodle what a typical Londoner looks like, I couldn’t. Seriously, there is no standard fashion, age, skin color, facial structure, accent (I’ll get back to this), and contrary to what I’ve been told… no one really cares what you look like. People can’t be bothered to be judge you, they’ve got something else to do and somewhere else to be.

I must hear at least three different languages on The Tube a day. Other than gym shoes, snappy digi cams and Americans in their Northface jacekts, it’s pretty tough to separate locals from the rest. We’ve got every kind of brown and caucasian skin color her. No Mexicans though… no where, not-a-one in sight.

I am remembering how Annamarie described her sister’s time abroad. When you are in a city where no one knows you, she said she felt like she just floated through the streets. Not a care in the world, minding to herself.

In someways, my time here is like that. But conversely, everyone is plugging through not minding one another that, you feel no one really knows anyone else. Or, wherever they are traveling to must be so wonderful, because they are in such a hurry to get there. I’m guilty as charged of slipping through the gaps in crowds to get somewhere faster and ‘forgetting’ to pardon myself as I zip along the street. The occasional (rare) smile with a stranger is refreshing and humanising.

I was discussing with some British friends here, what makes you a Londoner? One friend said he was born here but moved away quite some time ago. Another was born outside of the city and just got a place here recently. And I said, well.. I’m only here till April. We decided, if you are here for at least one night: that night you are a Londoner.

As for the accents, obviously locals sound British. But, there are so many accents in London alone, that there is no way I could even pick one up. However, I’m getting comfortable with the lingo. Instead of asking how’s it going? the phrase is you all right?pronounced yo’allri-gh? and cheers! is used in place of thanks, no problem, goodbye, and klinking your drink of course.

I think there is a girl in my office secretly practicing American slang. She started saying see ya and me how it was going.

Nina Mehta is a writer and product design leader in Brooklyn, New York. She began her design career in journalism and has been writing online for 20+ years. Nina is from outside Chicago has since lived and worked in San Francisco, Berlin, London, and Tokyo. Learn about her work at ninamehta.com.

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