My bags were packed as I entered Montpellier airport one early September morning last year. Despite the darkness’ shift declining, the Mediterranean heat still proved mild, while the air remained fresh and crisp. Destined for my native London, the take-off of my Ryanair flight symbolised a premature end to my adventure working abroad. On arrival at Luton, the sky was grey, the temperature low and the mood down. At this point it dawned upon me, I was home.
Startled and disorientated, I soon blagged work as a chugger. A recurring trend was the obvious lack of humanity and tolerance among the commuting crowd towards other human beings. Appearing as a militia of identical robots, they march briskly to the same beat of the mass consumerist drum. To them quality of life is determined not by happy memories and tall tales, but by the acquisition of pointless gadgetry and the never-ending quest to upstage Dave in accounts.
Anyone or anything that breaks the mould, causing a barricade will be met with a tirade of terrible excuses and an extreme urgency to avoid social interaction. While such a peculiar lack of honesty and general rudeness will shock outsiders, the lack of originality among the sprinting suits offends me. Consequently, my compilation of the three most common variations of the word ‘no’ in London begins.
1. ‘I have one/do that already’ – Really? Not only are you unaware of my proposition towards you, but it remains semantically impossible to already have or do anything in response to ‘Hello Sir, how are you today?’ Therefore by verbalising this utterly ridiculous phrase, you also admit to possessing the comprehension and communicative skills of a blindfolded parrot. Other variations include declarations that their company ‘does that already’.
2. ‘I don’t have enough money’ – Most who proclaim this on a day-to-day basis often do have enough money. Surely if you don’t have £3 to spare monthly, then owning an iPhone, designer clothes and a BMW seems ridiculous. The fact of the matter is that you can afford it; rather you choose to spend that money elsewhere. In which case, why beat around the bush?
3. ‘I don’t have time’ – Maybe so. After all, London is a busy metropolis housing millions of people. So this excuse proves adequate and reasonable when the speaker is sprinting faster than Usain Bolt toward Charing Cross station. However when the aforementioned person decides to play this ace, before immediately veering off into Starbucks for a coffee, clearly this phrase actually carries little meaning.
If you have little time to smile and say you’re not interested politely, then god help you in your personal life. Just imagine what else you won’t have time for…
Image by Marc Falardeau courtesy of Flickr