Running, Learning, and Bathrooms

Lindsey in London || Day 23

London is an adventure in every way. This place totally and completely has my heart. I am learning and growing, and good grief it is so good.

However, coming to London knowing I have a slight issue of doing embarrassing things made me a little nervous to leave my bed seeing as a whole new level of faux pas come with a new country.

Never fear, not nervous enough to actually not leave my bed. I get out of bed.  I’m simply aware there are a myriad of new possibilities for this quality to shine.

And shine it does. 

Every single time, and I mean every time I see a runner coming towards me, I panic. I know how to walk on the left side. I consistently remind myself to be British, but I lose all confidence when I see a runner coming towards me. More than once, I have literally stopped someone in their tracks because they couldn’t pass. All because I couldn’t make up my mind what side to walk on. And if you've ever been to London, you know everyone, literally EVERYONE (and their dog) runs. Rain or shine, you’d think it was a queen mandate to put on your spandex and disrupt the birds and panic the Americans at the nearest park. I tried it once, put my little beanie on and everything, but I ended up sitting on one of the pretty benches longer than I ran. My transformation to be British is a work in progress. (Small steps if you will, hahahaha what a pun.)

And eye contact. Nothing scares a Brit more than eye contact with someone walking towards them. And if you smile during that eye contact it is literally the funniest thing in the whole entire world. I have gotten everything from confusion to pure fright.

One of my favorite things about this place is the incredibly charming accents. However, when it comes to meeting classmates it is practically mission impossibly to understand their names. I got to class my first day and there were a whopping two people there early. So, I introduced myself. One of the guys said, “Hi, I’m Collar.” Knowing no one in their right mind would name their kid collar I said, “Oh, nice to meet you, Collin!” He shook his head, “No no no, it’s Collar.” Totally shocked and slightly horrified his name was literally collar, I tried to conceal my facial expressions. “Oh, Collar, right, nice to meet you!” His buddy started laughing. Finally he saved me, “It’s not collar. It’s CONNER.” That’s when I lost it because my brother’s name is Conner and out of missing him and relief the poor guy’s name wasn’t collar, I spewed out a long string of words about the name Conner. Realizing I was totally scaring my new friends, I hurried and finished up that speech and ended with, “Well then, it’s nice to meet you.” For the third time.

For a girl whose bladder is the size of a pea (yes, that's a very witty pun) London is not the ideal city. You actually have to pay to go to the bathroom. Thankfully, I'm also addicted to coffee and sweet Costa will let you use their facilities without charge. Well, I was wandering around, desperately needing to pee, when I found that magical coffee chain storefront. I bee lined straight for the bathroom where I got so excited because, well, this was free, and that bathroom had one of the fancy cords from the ceiling you pull to flush. The most wondrous thing. Like a little kid, I pulled it, totally thrilled. But in a tragic moment, I realized the cord was not a flushing thing. Not even close. A horrible alarm went off that you could hear in the entire coffee shop. It was a non-stop, high-pitched, steady beeping noise. Panic stricken, I realized the cord was a nice shade of bright red for a reason, and upon further inspection I found the words “Pull for emergency service.”

So I stood there not at all sure what the protocol was for this kind of thing.  Dumbfounded, I waited for someone to bang down the door. I pulled the string again hoping to turn it off. Not so. By now I was talking out loud to myself. “Oh no, oh no, I didn’t mean to! Read, Lindsey. READ.” Then I remembered the lady in line behind me and realized she could probably hear me. And hear that I needed emergency assistance. That’s when I found the blessed answer. There was a nice little button near the door that said “Cancel Service,” and out of pure hope, I pressed that little diddy. The alarm ended and I put on my total innocence face. I opened that door to see the line had five new and slightly concerned people waiting. And about twenty judgment stares from the rest of the coffee shop followed.

Welcome to London, Lindsey.