My I-spy game is considerably A-game lately, so much so that I’ve decided to log the things I’m spotting on the tube. Without a doubt, I can attribute my creeper-peeper tenacity to my father, who has instilled in me, through a mix of genetics and life-long habit, a love for people watching. After a week of paying close attention however, I feel as though my practice has real damage capacity, and for the good of those most beloved rose-tinted glasses through which I choose to observe London, this exercise might have to live just the one week. I’ve seen too much! My eyes!
I’m finding myself wondering why it is that we clearly choose to be be gross and human in the ways that we’d normally reserve for times locked behind bathroom doors in the presence of our fellow commuters and city-slickers. Is travel-anonymity a good enough excuse to brazenly pick a wedgie? Or a nose? Do we nonchalantly suppose that the tube is naturally phase two of our readying-regime, and depend upon the time we’ll spend there as time we’d have spent in our closets, deciphering which shade of lipstick goes best with this shirt… And which pair of shoes goes best with this lipstick? (No really, the other day I watched a girl pull three pairs of shoes out of her bag and try each with her un-finished outfit.)
Certainly, I’ve found myself negotiating the laws of my alarm clock early in the morning. If I brush my teeth as I walk and do my makeup on the tube… And I could probably just put these tights on in my cubicle at work… I could sleep an extra thirteen and a quarter minutes. I don’t know exactly when those thirteen and a quarter minutes became so important…
So here it is: a mere week in headlines, for your amusement or empathetic-chagrin.
MAN WITH HAIRY HANDS
How hairy? I thought he was wearing gloves. The more disturbing thing, however, is that for a moment my observation of said hands went a little like this: (to self) “Oh they’re cool gloves… they’d go well with that one coat of mine… wonder where he got ’em… what’s that, like a peachy undertone?… fleshy… ah, OK I see.”
MAN WITH UN-MATCHING TRAINERS
How, how, how does this happen? The lame thing is that I know at least one of you reading this will say “Woah there Holl, remember that time you were late meeting me because you had to return home and correct your own un-matching shoe situation.” Which is why it’s important to stress that this guys shoes were SO different, like, florescently.
GRANDMA’S LEARNING TO TEXT. AND SHE’S WEARING SPANDEX.
I’d put her at 85, and she was sporting the flashiest, largest cell phone I’ve ever seen. She held it at arms length, squinting behind shiny father-Christmas spectacles balancing at the end of her nose. Every time she punched a letter key she exclaimed a victorious, “Oh!” and a satisfied, self-proud smile emerged as quickly as it evaporated when she returned to the letter-hunt. The record should also state that the spectacles were the only classical-looking item on her person. She was kitted out in lycra everything and her leggings somehow shone. Essentially, I’d like to be her one day.
WOMAN IN WHITE PETRIFIED BY WORLDS BEST NANNY(?)
Summer in London, on the heels of Wimbledon no less, is invitation enough for the all-white angel wardroble. I for one am hopping on this train as style dictates. Here was a woman who, after an entire workday had successfully remained all pristine white (something I rarely accomplish thanks to- including but not limited to- dirt, dust, grime, oil, makeup, food, drink, nature). She chose her seat on the tube carefully- no neighbours; she brushed off the seat and carefully cradled her also-white purse. As the doors swooshed open at the next stop a nanny with a double pushchair ambled on and swung the pram aggressively to sidle up to the white-woman. As the tube pulled forward, she dug around in the push-chair’s basket and plopped two sketch books in front of the twins, who were scrapping with each other. I watched in disbelief as the nanny then unscrewed a pot of fingerpaint and dumped out generous blobs on each of the children’s sketchbooks.
You’ve probably read that last big a couple of times, so to clarify: yes, fingerpaint.
White-woman swiftly- and in horror- removed herself from the proximity of chaos that was likely to ensue. I almost considered staying on the tube longer than I needed to, just to see how the whole paint thing shook out- but that would have been very un-London of me. I had places to be.
Number of accidental boob-grazes: 1
Number of un-accidental boob grazes: 1
Number of fake designer purses: 6