A girl I know vaguely posted recently on FB: ‘I have a visitor, who wants me to show her the things I love in London. Help! I can’t think of anything.’
This post has irritated me for the last 3 days. Who can’t think of things they love? I can, this very moment, think of 400 things I mildly like. Let’s say ‘love’ is 8.5 and above. I can tell you 50 things, without even pausing to think, that are a 5.5. These aren’t even things I particularly care about. In fact, they are things like being able to eat an avocado on the one day it is ripe, or managing to put the clothes drier up without it falling on my poor toe. These are things I am too emotionally lazy to muster any real feelings about. But love? Things I love in London, and would want to share with a visiting friend? Here, without any sort of thought at all, are some of the things I would suggest to this girl, if I were the sort of person who suggested things helpfully, rather than ranting about people’s inadequacies behind their back. (The two are naturally mutually exclusive).
1. The absolute terror when a mildly fat woman is standing near you on the tube, and you’re not sure if she’s pregnant or not, and whether you should offer her your seat.
2. The smell of fresh bread when you walk into a big Sainsburys,
3. The £10 tickets at the National Theatre, where I once went on a date, only to bump into the parents of one of my closest friends. The play had a simulated sex scene.
4. The free food samples in Selfridges Food Hall. If possible, wear several layers when going to Selfridges, then effect a number of cunning disguises to get more free samples.
Lounging on the deckchairs provided in any of the Royal Parks until the deckchair money collector approaches menacingly, at which point it is imperative to feign total incomprehension and a lack of English, luxuriating in your final stolen moments of comfort.
6. Pub quizzes. Because I haven’t even properly got going.