Never thought I'd have to do research before visiting London...|
I live just under forty miles (one and a half hours) from London, the capital city of the country I've lived in all my life.
By pure chance this morning I spotted a tweet from London Transport that said "Remember, London buses no longer take cash". Huh?
Someone suggested that I could use a contactless debit card - not sure I've got one of those, or at least not for an account with any money in it - or buy a travel card.
Which is where the research comes in.
I haven't the faintest idea where I would go in London to buy a "travel card" for going on a bus in London. I mean, if you want to buy a train ticket, you go to the railway station. Or if you can trust the websites and have worked out what you want to do about three weeks in advance, you can buy a ticket online. But does London even have a bus station? And how would you get there to buy your bus ticket given that you can't actually, er, buy a ticket, without going there first?
I'm sure all of this is actually very simple, but my point is: even though I don't do it very often nowadays I have always been perfectly comfortable with getting on a train to spend a day in London. But now it seems that things have moved on and no-one told me, to the extent that next time I go, I'm going to have to spend an hour or so the day before I go looking at some "London for stupids" website to find out how to use the local bus service!
Perhaps it's all part of getting older, although it's more likely part of not having caught a bus anywhere, let alone in London, in about twenty years. But the getting older part is beginning to creep me out anyway: this morning, for the second time in a month, the twenty-something person at the other end of the phone called me "dear".
The first time it happened I was annoyed with the bloke anyway (can't remember why, but sadly nowadays nearly everybody on the other end of the phone annoys me, be they cold callers, accounts departments or just customer "service" people who couldn't give a shit) and I got very angry with him. I told him I was not his "dear" and he'd better stop being so patronising otherwise I would report him the next time. He sounded quite surprised but I put the phone down on him during what I sincerely hope - but doubt - was an apology.
This morning I'd had a reasonably intelligent, adult conversation with a bank. I'd asked my question, she'd given me an answer I found plausible quickly and without fuss. So then I said something like thank you very much, you've been very helpful and she said "You're welcome, dear". I was already putting the phone down by this point and didn't cotton on till I'd hung up what she'd actually said, otherwise she'd have got an earful too.
I mean, I don't mind Northerners calling me "loov", because that's just what they do - it's friendly. Likewise with West Country people calling everyone "maid" or "moi lover" - I used to do it myself in certain circumstances.
But it is no part of southern English polite-speak to equals, to call them "dear". It is patronising to the extent of being positively rude.
And I utterly hate - and fear - the idea that I might suddenly sound eighty years old on the phone.
Tags: is_this_for_real, ramblings, rant