The coconut oil crush crisis
Uptown Girl Abroad
The worst part wasn't even when he sniffed my hair.
There I was, minding my own business as I made my way from platform to platform in the hallowed halls of the Underground, when my journey was stymied by a commuter gridlock.
One of the fastest learning curves during life in London is adapting to the "stay on the right OR ELSE" rule locals abide by on the escalators.
Possibly the most efficient method of spotting a tourist - aside from the fact that 90 per cent of them believe baseball caps constitute appropriate travel attire - is to just watch the swarms of people as they traverse the Tube.
(FYI, I'm about to start talking in an Attenborough voice, so adjust yourselves accordingly. Here goes.)
When they're not staring, mouths agape, at the electrical-circuit- inspired Tube map, you can find the tourist taking up all the space on the escalator, content in their oblivion to the major shade thrown their way, by Luhndaners whose scurrying is seriously impinged by the melange of bum bags and general stench of vulnerability.
Sometimes the locals go all Darwinian and school the weak by trampling them, a la the stampede scene in the The Lion King.
(Also, Attenborough voice over now.)
As I was saying, I found myself trapped on the escalator by a group of tourists. Resigned to my fate and too exhausted from a long day to put up a fight, I slotted into a gap in the non-moving side as we wove deeper underground.
All of a sudden, my spidey sense started to tingle.
The place was busy - it was 6pm after all - but even in London most people know that it's considered impolite to climb on board a stranger's back for a piggy back.
At least without asking. So I engaged in the subtle dance of reminding somebody, wordlessly, to step off.
I half-turned, coughed a little.
But my peripheral vision sensed a man was looking directly at me.
I don't know how much you guys know about London, but that's just not cricket.
Intrigued, I turned a little more: just in time to see him smile, close his eyes . . . and take a big, blatant whiff.
He then opened his eyes and - maybe stoked his lungs were now full of life-sustaining coconut- scented oxygen - smirked at me.
That was the worst part right there.
I've mentioned before that casual swearing isn't as much the norm here, as it is back home. But if ever there was a time to dole out a big dose of concrete to the Brits, this was it.
Words usually reserved for very serious occasions, like during the rugby, were required.
Out of my mouth came a torrid stream of nouns, verbs and adjectives most unbecoming of a lady.
An F-bomb was dropped, and yes, a "pervert" thrown in for good measure, but also a v. v. bad word that starts with a C and is followed by three asterisks that fail to disguise the not-fit-for-print contents.
Even the suited-and-booted dude further behind in the queue, himself the issuer of a very gruff warning in the direction of the ick, maintained more decorum than I.
I think I managed to shock everybody around me into submission, with the exception of a few.
A busker, performing a rather sad rendition of Hotel California, made like the musicians aboard the HMS Titanic and played on, the wee trooper.
Also unaware of my plight?
The tourists, of course.
Their unwitting blockage of the escalator meant I was forced to remain at a standstill, with Ol' Creepy right behind me - nice and close - for the remainder of the trip downstairs.
London, sometimes you are really hard to love.
I'm never using coconut oil again.
If you enjoy this blog, please vote for it in the NetGuide Web Awards here by copy/pasting in this URL as your vote - http://www.stuff.co.nz/southland-times/opinion/blogs/uptown-girl-abroad
- © Fairfax NZ News