Friday, 11 July 2014
I have seen so many people since stepping off the plane at Heathrow terminal 3..
And by ‘people’ I don’t mean it was crowded (which it was). I mean diligent, hard-working people. The ones that keep one of the busiest airports in the world functioning not only properly, but efficiently. The ones at border control..in uniform, seemingly unperturbed by the lack of air flow and increasing number of screaming children. The ones holding the signs, patiently waiting for their passengers to present themselves bumbling with luggage. The ones leading large groups, such as ours, of wide-eyed college kids with a diminished sense of awareness. The ones driving the coaches who ensure that we arrive to our final destination because, let’s face it, just because the airplane lands does not mean you’ve made it yet.
*Side note: I’ve been reading a book called Londoners by Craig Taylor, which is basically a compilation of stories from a variety of people who have experience with life in London..”those who live it, love it, left it, and long for it” as he puts it. Taylor spent quite some time interviewing with people and discussing their view of London and how they define a ‘Londoner.’ He and the editor have arranged these short snippets to tell all kinds of stories about the people who call this place home. (It’s a fantastic book that I highly recommend to anyone interested in people, London, or just travel writing, in general.)
Now, as I gaze out the window on this pleasant coach ride from Heathrow to Hampstead, I see the ones in yellow rain coats and hard hats who, like those at border control, seem unperturbed by the drizzle. Then it occurs to me. These people have stories. Someone grew up in those houses. Those buildings have history. I don’t much of anything about these people other than their occupations, but I do know one thing. They’re the ones I’ve been reading about. They are Londoners.
So here I am, typing this out on my iPhone so I can somehow make it stick to my memory, I shift my focus back and forth between the raindrops on the window and the quintessentially english houses we’re beginning to pass (for those who speak film: I was rack-focusing with my eyes)..they always remind me of Stuart Little..the one with Hugh Laurie..and baby Tom Felton..the iron gates..the peeling paint..the green spaces..
Out on the green at the King’s College Hampstead Residence
edited/published: Monday 14 July 2014