Wednesday, October 8, 2008

being too friendly at the library

The internet's been a bit finicky lately at home, so last night I decided that if it was working this morning then I'd go for a quick walk in the morning and explore a nearby park and then come back home to work. If it wasn't working, I'd load up for the day and head to the cafe the church I'm going to runs during the week.

It wasn't working.

To the cafe I went. I'd heard the church was in walking distance from where I'm living and figured this was a good day to test that information: a day that I didn't have to be there by a certain time. So I pulled out my new best friend, a very handy A-Z London map, and found my way there. After crossing a couple busy roads and passing some appealing London row houses, that have probably been smiling onto their streets for a hundred years or more, I found Deptford High Street.

Quick side note here: there are High Streets everywhere here. What's so important about this street and why is it called that? I mean, it's got some sort of poetic appeal for me, but why? I finally asked someone about it and eventually discovered that it's apparently the equivalent of our Main Street. So you know when someone talks about something that's true of all the ordinary folks in a given place and uses a phrase along the lines of Main Street, USA. Well, in England, you'd insert High Street, or it THE High Street, into that phrase (they seem to put a "the" in front sometimes). And they do seem to use it similarly as a generic term.

So, anyway, I arrived on Deptford High Street and wandered past lots of interesting shops that included a number of seafood shops with fish on ice laid out to be purchased. Interesting. And smelly. I wouldn't want to work in the shop next door. Eventually I made it to The Bear Cafe, after 35 minutes or so of walking, and was greeted by a not-so-lovely-for-me sign that said they were closed today. What! After 30 minutes of walking? Grrr.... And I don't know yet what other places with tables and internet access are nearby. The only other place I know of is the library that's in the opposite direction.

Well, I started walking in that direction, not knowing what else to do. And I happened to walk down the road that took me past a different library. Yippee! And it's part of the same library system as the other one, so I can log on there. Great! I settled into an afternoon of work but was eventually interrupted by an old Irish man who probably just wanted someone to chat with. Irish accents are harder to understand, by the way. Eventually he moved on. Then later, while trying to work away, I was interrupted by a Nigerian man who's been in England for a long time now. Once we started chatting he was even more persistent than the Irishman. I'm sure he's a very nice man, but I needed to work not talk. And then he started offering to show me around London. And I'm so horrible at not being nice and friendly, which is a funny thing to say but it can really work against you now and then. And this was one of those times. Some problems follow you from one continent to another.

I eventually left and headed home for tea (aka: supper with no tea involved whatsoever). I took a slightly different route home and walked down Friendly Street. Wouldn't it be fun to live on such a street? Alas, no one greeted me as I walked past their homes.

So, that's that. A lesson in the potential downsides of walking most everywhere you go: it's really disappointing to arrive at your destination and have things not be as you'd anticipated. It took a lot of effort to get there, after all. And now I have to shake a persistent man from my trail.

1 comment:

Its Lainee said...

gotta smile . .. i have a conversation question for you, next time you're on a "friendly" walk: are the English really biased against "gingers"(redheads)?