After nearly a decade of living in London, I think its safe to call myself a Londoner now.
I make that rude and fed-up-sounding ‘tsk’ noise as I try to pass people who are walking too slowly in front of me – with the matching aggressive body language and irritated exhalation as I march past.
There’s the ‘don’t mess with me’ face as I walk down the street – to be fair I think I’ve always had that one.
I can also hold my own in the usual rugby scrum to get into the tube as it pulls alongside the platform.
Then there’s the commuter cross. That’s what I call when two or more commuters appear as if they’re set for a head on collision, but without adjusting pace or losing nerve, they glide past each other with precision perfect timing. With a slight hesitation of even half a second, there would be a bashing of arms or catching of feet followed by the domino effect of the commuters behind all crashing into each other. But true London commuters never make such a rookie tourist error.
If you want to see the commuter cross at its glorious ballet-like apex, make a rush hour visit to the interchange at Bank Station where the Waterloo & City Line travelator connects with the commuting tunnel leading from the London Underground gates towards exits 8 & 9. (Stop at the snack bar for one of their giant glazed donuts – I’m pretty sure they’re a million calories and fried in lard.) Its actually almost beautiful, as the dozens of commuters heading to the exits simultaneously diagonally criss-cross paths with the commuters exiting the travelator in the opposite direction – all gliding past each other – rushed but calm.
And then some salesman from Ipswich ploughs in with their wheelie suitcase and screws the whole thing up.