wonderlanded: (Lizzie - oh really?)
[personal profile] wonderlanded
I had two separate memorable experiences between work and the Tube tonight.

First, I was waiting for the lights to change on Parliament Square outside the Abbey. I just missed the lights, and so I was reading the "upcoming events" board inside the Abbey fence.
Two young American women -- clearly tourists -- approached me really politely. The fact that they weren't demanding I stop disrupting their photo opportunity by committing the cardinal sin of walking along the footpath to or from my office was unsettling to start with.

Polite American Tourist 1: 'Excuse me, I'm really sorry to bother you, but do you live in London?'
Alice: [removes earbuds, waits for question about what time Prince William goes to church]: 'Um, yes?'
Polite American Tourist 1: 'I hope this isn't an inappropriate question...'
Alice's Brain: Oh, crap.
Polite American Tourist 1: 'Is it ok for people who aren't from London to go to Mass at Westminster Abbey? I mean, is it considered rude?'
Polite American Tourist 2: 'We're Catholic, too. Would that be okay, or would it be better not to go?'
Alice's Brain: Careful, it might be a trap.
Alice: Um, yes, no, that's perfectly all right. That's fine. There's the Cathedral, too, you know. It's Catholic. It's just up the street.
Alice's Brain: Why are you speaking on behalf of the Church of England?
Polite American Tourist 2: 'We thought it would be nice to see how they use Westminster Abbey for its intended purpose, but we don't want to offend anybody.
Alice: Oh, no, you wouldn't do that. There's a separate entrance for going to services near the shop. Don't line up with the tourists. I think.
Polite American Tourist 1: 'Thank you so much, we're so sorry to have bothered you.'
Alice: [in shock] Oh, that's quite all right. You didn't at all. Um, enjoy London, won't you? dashes across the road before the Polite Tourists turn into demons or winged monkeys or something SLIGHTLY LESS MYTHICAL THAN POLITE TOURISTS AT WESTMINSTER.

Then I stopped at WH Smith at Westminster Tube to buy a Diet Coke and some fruit pastilles, in an effort to banish my hangover once and for all. The woman at the counter patiently explained to me twice that if I bought the Daily Telegraph for 65p, I would get my drink for free. Otherwise it would cost me 1.29.

Turned out I couldn't pretend to buy the Telegraph to get my drink for free. She insisted on me taking the paper with me. Which is how I became the kind of person who carries the freaking Telegraph on my Tube journey home.
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February 2010

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