So after being in London for almost two weeks, I’ve undoubtedly crossed hundreds of streets (no exaggeration—I do a lot of walking here). However, each time I see the curb recede before me I find myself overwhelmed by a barrage of impulses, contradictory instincts, and well, cars. So allow me to give you an exclusive look into the inner workings of my mind as I approach and attempt to cross a British intersection:
Scene: Chloe walking to a pub near campus to meet writers and editors for the LSE newspaper, The Beaver.
Chloe’s inner dialogue: Brrrr, this has to be the coldest day since I’ve been in London. It’s really a shame that the “Indian Summer” is over. I wonder where the term “Indian Summer” even came from (ponders this for .3 seconds). So. Cold. Where is this pub?! The email said that it’s only like five minutes from campus but they were probably just trying to get people to come. Grr. LIARS. Maybe I won’t go. THAT’LL SHOW THEM! No, wait, I should go. I want to meet more Brits. (Five seconds pass) Maybe I’ll just walk in, yell “YOU LIAR” in a British accent like Harry Potter to Voldemort in the first movie and then walk out (see clip).
No. Wait. That won’t even give me enough time to get warm before going back out to the cold. Yeah, that won’t do. If it was warm, I so would. Maybe. Probably…not. Oh my god, I think I see it, The Knights Templar (pub name)! Alas! Okay, I just need to cross the street. The crosswalk thingy says no walking, but hey, this isn’t LA and I don’t see any clear and present danger. I’m cold and I’m going. (Takes four steps off the curb looking straight ahead with eyes on the prize—the pub) Wait did I look left, or was I supposed to look right? Crap. Oh, it says on the ground by the curb which way to look (turns around in the middle of street while staring at the ground)! Oh, okay, it was right (looks right to see taxi barreling down the street with no intention of slowing down, and scurries back to the sidewalk). Hmm. I guess I should keep my head up when I want to cross the street. This isn’t New York where pedestrians have the right of way.
Alright, let’s try this again. Look right (looks right). Check. Maybe I’ll look left, just to be extra safe this time (looks left). Check. Actually, I should probably look right one more time before I cross because that is the way the curb said to look (looks right again). Should I look left one more time? No, people will probably stop anyway because I look as if I’m convulsing at this point. Okay time to go! (Begins crossing the street) Yes, I’ve made it past where I was before. I’m almost there. Just a couple more st—(HONNNNNNNNNKKKKKKK).
Shit. Where did this car come from!? Oh wait. I didn’t take into account the turn lane. Okay, I’ll just wave to the driver and give him a cute smile to apologize (waves and smiles to the passenger staring blankly out of the window. Not being the driver nor paying much attention, the man looks out of the window very confused why this girl is standing in the middle of street smiling and waving at him. He narrows his eyes to try to figure out if he knows her somehow).
Why is the driver looking at me so weird? Wait, he’s not the driver, he’s the passenger. Damn. Why is the passenger waving at me now? He probably thinks that I think we know each other. Great. Do I wave back? Or is that an ironic wave? How long have I been standing in the middle of the street? Maybe he is waving me to get out of the street. Wow, I’m such a foreigner. Just pretend you don’t speak English! Wait, no one is talking, that won’t work. Just get out of the road (walks and finally reaches sidewalk). Yes, I’ve made it! I need a drink.