If you’re a Londoner you might think, what the heck am I talking about?! But hey, it is a big deal! Street crossing in London is an art that every new Londoner needs to learn. Everyone who’s not from a left-hand traffic country knows what I’m talking about. We’re fighting for our lives here, mate!
We’ve all seen the signs on the street that sais “look left” or “look right”. Those signs are not meant for Londoners obviously. They all know where to look when crossing the street, especially when they don’t even give a damn what colour is on.
Those “look left of right” signs are meant for the rest of us. I appreciate the fact that the British government deeply cares for us… or maybe it’s their way of saying, “hey, we warned you” in case you get hit by a car. The important thing is, I don’t know about you guys, but I’ve been here for a month now, and I still follow my very strong instincts (that I developed growing up in whatever place in the world, other than left-hand traffic countries). I still look in the opposite direction and start confidently crossing the street, and the next thing you hear is a giant double-decker’s horn. And then you realise, “o shit, I forgot I’m in England”.
I still subconsciously check the opposite direction though. I don’t know why I do that. Maybe because I don’t trust my instincts on this anymore. Or maybe I just wanna make sure no driver has his head messed up like I do.
Another thing that surprised me, people just don’t care what colour the traffic light is. And if you are like me, you’re just gonna end up standing there alone with no one around you. At the beginning, I used to stand there like “oh yeah, I’m not gonna just follow the crowd, like other people do. I’ll just stand here and wait for the green light”. But one day something strange happened. I was on my way to Marylebone station. I was standing with my attitude, while everybody has already crossed the street. Suddenly, two policemen just walked by me (having a fire conversation) like nothing happened. They crossed the street on a red light.
And I thought about it… They left me standing there with a lot of questions in my mind. They made me question the status quo. I stood there thinking about the philosophy of life. It made me realize that this is how my life is going to be here! Struggling to maintain my core personality, but I’ll need to adapt to learn and adapt to develop my thinking. I discovered that that’s exactly why London is the center of innovation and inspiration. I’ll talk about that more in the next posts.
So I’m not saying that crossing the street on the red light is right. I’m saying that it’s obvious who the tourists in the city are 🙂