ManofLondon was recently visited my MotherofManofLondon (That’s Mum to you and me) and she was shocked at how unfriendly other people are on London’s transport network. “It’s just not like this in Scotland” she told me, forgetting I spent the first 21 years of my life there too.
I told her it’s just the way it is. People are plugged into their IPads’, Kindles’, their edition of the Metro/Evening Standard (Dependent on time of day) or are just plain asleep. She wasn’t convinced.
“it’s just rude. I would always smile at the person sitting across from me”. My mother is one stubborn woman, and, when she sets her mind to it, nothing will stop her (That’s where I get it from! Sorry Dad!), so she decided to strike up a conversation with everyone she was near on the tube, and on the bus.
Her efforts varied from a nice German Ex-Pat who spoke to her for around fifteen minutes to some sinister looks from everyone on a bus.
So what is the reasoning for this? One theory I suggested to my mother is that, after a long hard day in London (ManofLondon has survived an unusually high number of these, after only living here for eight weeks) most Londoners simply don’t have the energy. The tube, with its lack of mobile service for much of the line, offers a place of solitude, where the office can’t reach you, where you don’t always need to be ‘on’. You can chill and catch up on the world, which, for the past seven hours or so, has been a blur as you move through it.
Should it change?
In a word, Yes. We should all be more sociable. It’s a hard time for everyone right now. Our economy is weaker than the houses of the three little piggies. Those who are lucky enough to be in a job are having to choose between food and heat. If we offered each other a warm smile, and a friendly hello, wouldn’t it put a silver lining on the cloud that seems to constantly be hanging over our heads? What do you think? ManofLondon has taken the initiative from this experience and makes sure he smiles at one person randomly a day.