Hi. My name's Georgina and I'm an angry Londoner. I've been angry for nearly a decade. My anger has led to some dark places, making me hate tourists, scream at complete strangers on the tube, and harbour some seriously sinister thoughts about certain TFL employees. Sometimes it escalates into episodic rage, when something as innocuous as a person standing on the wrong side of an escalator, or towing one of those miniature wheelie bags in rush hour can turn me into the Exorcist's Regan Macneil.
Like any good junkie, I have learned to control the effects of my habit; I maintain an outwardly normal life, hold down a job, live with it. Recently though, my rage has taken on a new, and quite terrifying, dimension. Last Wednesday en route to a dance class in the evening rush hour on the Northern line I pushed my way past a family, knocking a child to the ground. It cried. Rather, she cried. Yes, I made a five year old girl shed actual tears. After repeated profuse apologies to both child and family I continued on my journey to the disapproving glares, and several very audible tuts of a dozen other commuters. I felt like the wicked witch of N7.
Before you judge, picture the scene. It's approximately 6.45 pm. I've just finished an epically long day. Dragging my tired soles through hordes of late night shoppers (brandishing at least 5 Primark bags in each hand) and uncooperative tourists taking pictures of tube signs/buses/their feet, I reach the station. Walking up the stairs I hear the train approaching. I quicken my pace, ready to leap on the first carriage in sight. But a large group has congregated, blocking the exit. I can see past them to empty carriages. 'Excuse me', I say loudly, then again, voice becoming shriller, 'EXCUSE ME! I need to get on that train'. On the third request, I hear the door alarms beeping, realise I'm going to miss the train and push past the family with a little too much...zeal than is perhaps necessary.
Was this rude and petty? Am I a self-important schmooze who needs to chill out and do some Hatha Yoga? Maybe. But I'm also a Londoner and as such, my tolerance for these things is lower than what might be deemed average. Put it this way; when you pay in excess of £100 a month to travel to work in rush hour with your head stuck in someone's armpit, balancing your 'chi' isn't exactly on the top of your to-do list.
Below is an unapologetically angry list of some of the little things that rattle us Londoners' proverbial cage. If you identify with any of it, you too are an angry Londoner.
Power-hungry bus drivers: Have you noticed how difficult it is to board a bus these days? I mean really, really difficult? Are the drivers channelling Keanu Reeves in Speed? Have they been playing too much Grand Theft Auto? Perhaps they just don't like us. I have had doors slammed in my face, refused entry for no particular reason - once, during a particularly harsh December's day, I witnessed an old lady thrown off a bus for being ten pence short of her fare. If you're lucky enough to actually get on, under no circumstances must you attempt to communicate with your driver - not even to ask why you're suddenly on diversion or terminating at Euston instead of Paddington.
Escalator Deviants: Altogether now: We stand on the right and walk on the left. Got that? Not if you're an escalator deviant you haven't. For me these are some of the worst public offenders. Whether out of pure ignorance, or in a bizarre attempt to infuriate you when you are in a rush, these people disregard the rules and stand on the left. Worse, they walk on the left but, for some reason known only unto God, choose to move slower than a sedated snail.
Tube-Carriage-Hoggers: TFL, conscious of the fact that staff announcements urging people to move down the carriage to create space for people trying to board go largely unnoticed, recently published cartoon posters depicting 'good' and 'bad' tube etiquette. Like the one with a lady standing by the doors reading her kindle oblivious to the fifteen people squished inhumanely into about 10 inches of space behind her. Above, a jaunty caption reads: 'we really don't mean to chide but try to move along inside.' Surely basic common sense dictates that when there's space and 15 other people are trying to get on, you just MOVE?
The Spatially Unaware: Don't we all have the same objective when in central London? Get in, get out and try not to step on anyone's vital organs in the process. Some, however, don't share this particular belief. I'm referring to those people who walk into you without stopping. Nothing will stand in their way - not another human, not flash floods, not a ten foot Gorilla with a machete. If you are in their path, you're basically road kill. Are they so self-absorbed they don't notice oncoming objects or do they just take issue with common courtesy?
The weirdest part of my rage? I thrive on it, it helps me get through the day. And you know what? Angry or not, there is no city on earth where I'd rather live.