life in London


It’s been a weird day. First I was taking the tube today and someone with mental difficulties (perhaps some kind of autism) sat two seats away from me. He was listening to music with headphones and whatever challenges he has manifested themselves in fairly wild gesticulations by which he hit seats around him and the floor in time to the beat. He had a companion who tried to restrain him but still several times his movements came within centimeters of me. I knew he meant me no harm; he was just into the music. But nonetheless it made me skittish.

Adding to the weird day: I was on a bus later and someone walked on with a cat. Highly strange and I barely held it together every time it meowed, which was a lot in my twenty minute ride.

Weird thing #3: I was at a cafe, writing. A woman sat down in front of me at a larger round table than mine but a table nonetheless for one person or two people who were together. A few minutes later, two older women asked the older woman already sitting at the table if they can sit down there as well. This seemed utterly odd to me so I looked around. Maybe the restaurant had filled up in the 30 seconds I’d managed to focus on my dissertation. It hadn’t. There were plenty of open tables. There wasn’t anything particularly desirable about that table other than it being right next to the coffee making area. Very strange. Then these two (Iranian, it turned out) women exchanged pleasantries with the woman whose table they had poached. Conversation topics included that flu in Mexico “where everybody dies” and the Iranian diaspora in the US West.

Thing #4: I’m watching Newsnight now, an hourlong special on Obama’s 100 days. The background music keeps coming back to an acoustic guitar strumming the first two lines of “Hallelujah” but now, for some reason, the Jurassic Park theme music is introducing another segment. Very weird.

All in a day’s living in London.


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