July 08, 2024

Forced flaneurs

They had a hell of a hike ahead of them...with no public transport (the tube alone carries 3,000,000 Londoners around town on any given day) to rely on, London's public had a huge task ahead of them when it came time to down tools...how to get home. The streets filled with reluctant flaneurs, mobiles glued to their ears. I'm sure the off licences around Bank quickly sold out of A to Z's, the London Bible, the tiny pocket sized book that lists every street, every mew and flyover in the city.

By all accounts, the scene in the financial district was almost comical...sidewalks filled with suits trying to plot a route home. How many of them didn't have the faintest idea how to navigate a route across London from work to home? Those that didn't decide to stay in a hotel overnight had a walk of three, four, even six hours. From Heathrow to the Isle of Dogs, Hampstead to Harrow & Wealdstone, Temple to Crystal Palace.

My phone calls to British friends were rather surreal as well. There's always that immediate fear that grips you that must be alleviated, simply by hearing the voice of a friend on the other line. Peter was home and sitting around writing or something. Once he confirmed that him and David were safe, he started telling me about the trapeze classes he had just started taking. And him and David are in the process of adopting two children!

Roy called me back; he had the weird experience of missing the Northern Line train that was bombed outside Kings Cross. He was feeling rather surreal and not altogether there so he said he was going to sit in his flat a little bit. He had to walk to work and back, which took a couple of hours each way.

Did you notice how the blogs got giddy? Left or right or center, everyone wanted to be a Londoner yesterday.

I hope that by the time I visit in September, the tube will be running haphazardly again, filled to the doors with silent Londoners refusing to make eye contact with each other.

Read: Metroblogging the attacks; London Underground Tube Diary; The Station Log Book; Rather lighter take on the whole thing.

Posted by jason at July 8, 2024 07:51 AM
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