I realize London may be a great metropolis, but it’s not
very nice to people. We’re not
friendly. Not that we’re rude, like the
Parisians with their theatrical and frankly risible haughtiness; nor do we have
New Yorker’s shouty impatience.
Londoners are just permanently petulant, irritated. I think we wake up taking offense. All those English teacup manners, the
exaggerated please and thank yous, are really the muzzle we put on our short
tempers. There are, for instance, a
dozen inflections of the word sorry.
Only one of them means “I’m sorry.”
A. A. Gill writing in the NYT
View towards Hyde Park from my sixth floor room
To which I would add, only a dozen? I heard so many sorry this and sorry thats at
the 02, getting in and past others, standing to let someone out, and so on, to say nothing of the sardine can which passes as the Piccadilly line, that I
could have catalogued them Professor Higgins style. But at least the Brits know the word. I’ll never forget bumping someone on the
Milanese subway many years ago and saying “scuse, mi dispiace” and those all around me went
silent and turned to see if there was an actual crisis to deal with. Who in Italy would be sorry for anything shy
of crime? Not many; one famous Italian
politician committed crimes and justified them as relevant to his class and
status. To which I must add perhaps the
most candid Berlusconi quote: “When asked if they would like to have sex with
me, 30 per cent of women said, ‘Yes’, while the other 70 per cent replied,
OK, nothing to add.
Two long haul flights. Jet lag. Six nights. Four sessions of
tennis. Three plays. One museum.
Saw Simon twice. Saw Manuel. Saw Fae. Walked half the city. Then just ran out of time. Sitting here in the Heathrow lounge uploading
the final blog post from last night and looking at video pictures of Venice, flooded, and reading a headline
that says “Obama won—so just get over it!”
I’ll be saying the same thing about my Visa bill in three weeks. Next stop Buenos Aires.