Wednesday, October 26, 2005

You Know You've Been in London Too Long When...

Prudential insurance company recently estimated that a lifetime spent living in London will cost the average person 2 million pounds (over 3.7 million dollars). While admittedly, I love to collect factoids like this to bolster my case for getting back to NYC sooner rather than later, there are in fact many warning signs that it may be time to go home. And while I've only been living back here four months this time around, sadly, most of the below already, or in some cases, STILL apply. (These came courtesy of an e-mail forwarded by a fellow expat.)

1. You say "the City" and expect everyone to know which one.

2. You've taken so many relatives, friends and long-lost acquaintances that have mysteriously emerged out of the woodwork on The Original London Bus Tour that you can recite the 'live-guided' commentary by heart, in your sleep.

3. You can get into a four-hour argument about the fastest way to get from "the City" to Gatwick at 3:30 on the Friday before a bank holiday weekend but still can't find Dorset on a map.

4. The last time you witnessed a full day of sunshine was in June...of 2001. And in a cruel twist of irony, you’ve experienced--and now empathize with--the lobster-like condition of the same vacationing Brits you used to gleefully make fun of at the beach.

5. You’ve found yourself wearing a scarf, boots or both…in August.

6. You've briefly considered the merits of stabbing someone.

7. Anything outside of Zone 1 on the Tube is the "suburbs" or "countryside" and the UK west of Heathrow is still entirely theoretical to you.

8. You’ve given up on determining which side of the street or stairwell is actually the “right” side to walk on but take personal affront at foreigners who are ignorant of the “stand on the right/walk on the left” rule on escalators.

9. You now consider eye contact an act of overt aggression.

10. You’ve resorted to threats of legal action to get desired results with your bank, cell phone company, Sky Digital, British Telecom, or in extreme cases, all of the above.

11. Popping out for "a curry" or kebabs have replaced "grabbing a slice" in your late-night food repretoire.

12. You can identify the names and ‘claim to fame’ of more than three B-list British ‘celebrities’, such as Jordan, Jade Goody or Cheryl Tweedy.

13. You refer to an 8' x 10' plot of patchy grass or even cement as a garden.

14. You're paying £1,000 a week for a flat the size of a walk-in wardrobe and you think it's a "bargain".

15. You pay £3 pounds without blinking for a pint of beer that cost the bar 28p.

16. You see a crowd of people and automatically find yourself queing up.

17. £50 worth of groceries easily fits in one plastic bag.

18. You've mentally blocked out all thoughts of the city's air/water quality and what it's likely doing to your insides.

19. You roll your eyes and say 'tsk' at the news that someone has thrown himself under a tube train, again.

20. The phrases “severe delays”, “it’s not ready yet”, or “our next available appointment is in three weeks” no longer elicit a visceral anger reaction from you.


Anonymous Sir John the Brewer said...

You know, if it weren't for the odd locations and pound/pence symbols, I could have assumed you were talking about NY...weird

1:55 PM  
Blogger The Reluctant Anglophile said...

This is true--there are a lot of uncanny simliarities--it seems the more things change, the more they remain the same! Though I will say that the weather, prices, crime and customer service here are exponentially more abysmal.(Of course as though to prove me wrong, yesterday it was 69 degrees while NY has been having torrential Wilma-induced downpours). So much for blanket stereotypes.

6:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a British Expat living in the US I have to say I enjoy your blog. Makes me feel quite homesick in a 'sadistic sort of, do I really miss all that' kind of way. Thanks!

11:01 PM  
Blogger The Reluctant Anglophile said...

That's an interesting and counterintuitive point, thanks! Perhaps I similarly need to locate a Brit-expat's blog of their travails in America--if you know of any good ones, let me know.


4:50 PM  

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