Never before did I deem it necessary to blend into the background, but upon moving to London I find myself desperate to fit in. Now, I’m not saying that I’ve finally decided to install that ‘filter’ I so famously lack and become a shrinking wallflower but rather I’m trying to adapt the skin of a chameleon to fit in.
For example, transport. I don’t have a clue what I’m doing or where I’m supposed to be going, so when thrust into a sea of suits in the rush hour commute I’m desperate to not appear ‘clueless’. So, like any good chameleon you adapt to survive and I find myself floating through stations in a crowd of people casually ‘tapping out’ like it’s the most natural manoeuvre. The truth is, inside I’m panicking ‘is this the right station?’, ‘why aren’t they using that machine?’, ‘am I meant to be going West?’ and then God forbid when anything goes wrong. I almost had a melt down when my Oyster card refused to ‘tap out’ causing a giant angry looking queue behind me. Turns out the machine was at fault but I can swear the guy behind me could smell my fear, like an angry dog.
I’m pleased to announce that there is light at the end of the tunnel for all you newbie London dwellers. Even the pro’s are glued to their Citymapper app (a navigational must) and after a few journeys you are tutting, pushing and staring at your feet like the best of them (did I mention, every Londoner stares aimlessly either at their feet or at the ceiling when squashed into a tube carriage, my curious wandering eyes got many a filthy glare).
And the good news is, when you don’t want to be a London chameleon, you can stand out, and admit ‘I just moved here’ people can actually be really friendly.