So, you’ve decided to give London a visit, see what’s the big fuzz? Congrats on your choice. In my personal belief every person should live at least a couple of months in his lifetime in this city. It has everything you can wish for – a rich cultural diversity, ethnicities from all around the globe, all kind of cuisines, overpopulation, big sporting and musical events, air contamination, angry drivers, mad men shouting gibberish on the streets, everything. London also contains a lot of deep hate for people that don’t follow the city rules. There are things you simply never do in London. I’m not talking about some generic guidelines every life form that evolved above a primate should follow. I’m talking about odd and specific commandments like …
Never stand on the left side of an escalator
That’s the official invite to get murdered. You might have the false notion of escalators as a “convenient invention that transports you up/down the floors” but for Londoners it’s simply an accelerator. They don’t stop walking when they set foot on it and if you’re in their way … well, let’s say British people are not that polite all the time. And while we are the topic of standing insomeone’s way …
Never walk too slowly
Or too fast. Actually, better stay out of the pavement. If you walk even slightly different than the city’s accustomed tempo you risk being stabbed, stomped, beaten, or even worse – tutted at. And don’t even think of thinking to stop in the middle of the sidewalk to sight see. You’ll earn your place in London’s Most Wretched just above Jack the Ripper for this one.
Never barge on the train
Etiquette is what separates us human beings from animals. Without it we would only be some really smart monkeys who throw feces at each other for recreation. With that in mind it is only polite to let others get off the train before you try to squeeze in. Don’t be that asshole that pushes everyone just so he can grab a seat to reach Covent Garden from Leicester Square.
Never leave your bag on the seat next to you
During the three-hour morning peak, some 100,000 people enter and leave an average tube station. And your bag DOES NOT COUNT as human. So, naturally, it shouldn’t take a human’s rightful place on the seat. It is really bad manners.
Never take the tube from Leicester Square to Covent Garden and visa versa
This is the shortest line there is in the whole tube system. It is 260m long and it will take you more time to go down the stairs, wait for the crowded train, and then get out of it, instead of just walking. It also costs £4.30, making this one of the dumbest decision a person can take in their lifetime, right next to planning your day to match your horoscope. Regardless of this, the Leicester Square – Covent Garden is one of the most famous tourist destinations in the tube.
Never talk to strangers on public transport
If you think talking to a stranger might get you in trouble, looking him in the eyes is a certain ticket to Awkward-ville. It is simply a thing London commuters do not enjoy. When you are out there just pretend everyone is an inanimate object and play with your phone like nothing else exists. It helps you fit in.
Never do your own house chores
Let’s be honest, London is kinda snobbish. If your neighbor sees you doing domestic work like cleaning your carpet or fixing your own car he’ll point at you. Nobody likes being pointed at. The social stigma will crush you. Just book your gutter cleaning like the rest of your neighbors and be part of the elite community of London’s Snob Finest.
Never go shopping at Oxford Street
Especially if it’s mid morning on a Saturday. I don’t know what your personal image of Hell is, but mine is of an atrocious place of suffering and torment, a bit nicer than Oxford Street. It’s simply too full of people and traffic. It’s like a zombie-infested overpopulated mall in the open, with the extra bikers and cars flying through, trying to help you get rid of life’s worries for good. The average shop assistant, with his basic-to-intermediate speaking abilities and a seasoned can’t-do attitude heightens the experience.
Never touch the Queen’s Guards
You can mess with them all you want, just don’t make any physical contact. Believe it or not, but they are trained military and not just random people in fuzzy hats. Touch them and be ready to enter aworld of pain. After all, they protect the Queen, not a cheese warehouse.