Saturday, July 09, 2005

London Calling

I’m sure it goes without saying, but I’m glad I went 0 for 3 this week in terms of experiencing events of world importance.

The bombs went off about 15 hours after I was last on the underground during rush hour, marvelling at the efficiency of metropolitan rapid transit. I remember walking with the lines of men and women in suits, carrying briefcases, as they quickly weaved through the stations in near silence. I was surprised that few people talked. Beside the tapping of dress shoes on metal escalator stairs, there wasn’t much human noise, as if talking would somehow introduce an unacceptable level of friction into the near perfect integration of man and machine.

All I could think about today was how the explosions disintegrated those perfect lines of people waiting on tube platforms, those people focusing on getting from here to there, and on getting something done once they got there, whatever that something was. What I admired most about my trip through the underground yesterday was that everyone walked with a purpose.

Most of the UC kids here have accepted the casualties with the emotional distance of the 7,000 miles between Brighton and California, not the 50 miles between Brighton and London. Most have also neglected that almost the entire sussex summer school staff is from London. Accordingly, the students’ first questions to the porters concerned how they could manage travel this weekend in and out of the country. Some student also changed the channel away from the BBC in the lounge, to the further shock of some of the porters.

However, this is not to say I wasn’t concerned with my weekend travel plans too, I guess I just had the sense to keep it to myself and figure out my own shit without bothering the staff who were busy trying to reach family and friends. That said, I’m still heading to Pamplona tomorrow, I’ll just have to walk between Liverpool and London Bridge train stations instead of taking the tube. Unfortunately, I have to traverse the center of London where everything went down today.

Thanks to everyone who checked up on me today, if all goes to plan, I’ll post again Monday night (your monday morning) and have one wicked story about the running of the bulls.


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