No, this is not about those four cute British boys who drive teenagers (and maybe a few 30-somethings) absolutely “mental” these days. Though, I must say, they’ve been in the news a bunch lately. Specifically Zayn Malik, whose pretty sleeping face made the “Splash” (front page) of the Sun on Sunday because he had a romp with an Aussie blond that wasn’t his girlfriend. (It’s juicy stuff. I won’t get offended if you take a detour to read it.)
But rather I’m actually talking about navigation.
See, back home, I am lucky enough to live in a relatively central part of the West Village. I’m a hop and a skip away from several train lines — the B/D/F/V at W. 4th, the F/V at 14th, 1 at Christopher, the 2/3 at 14th, the A/C/E at 14th and W. 4th….OK you get the point. Depending on which train I take home, I know the blocks to walk down to get home in a timely and safe manner. Every so often I take a detour. A detour that I know will get me home. In once piece.
Here in London, as you recall, I am living in Way-the-F Wapping, which is waaaaaaay far from nearly any other neighborhood, but at least relatively near a major tube station (Tower Hill.) To be fair, I’m told no matter where you live in London you should expect to travel at least 40 minutes to get anywhere else, so at least I’m not alone here. And at least — sorry La-La friends — I don’t have to drive.
In trekking to and from the tube these past two weeks (it’s about a 10 minute walk), I’ve become less afraid of the Big Bad Intersection that I have to cross to get to said station. (Seriously, it’s no joke. I’ve crossed at many-a-maze-like intersections in my life — Bangkok, Istanbul, that spot where Bedford, Houston and Sixth Ave. meet — but this one is insane. It doesn’t help that the cars are coming from the, ahem, one direction I’m NOT trained to look.
Still, if I can avoid it, I can and will, and have been trying out new routes every time I go to, or arrive back at, Tower Hill.
One time, discovered I could cross a block before it, and avoid a whole section. Another day, I realized if I took a set of steps from the exit of the tube station, it’d take me to the opposite side of the street, avoiding two whole other sections, leaving me with just one or two to courageously cross. But yesterday was the piece de resistance. I took the same steps down, but instead of going back up on that side of the road, I noticed a sign for the “Wall Walk.” Intrigued, I decided to follow it. And lo! Look at the view I had while walking in the direction I needed to go:
No cars. No buses. No “look right, look left” precautions on the streets. No BBI! I felt like I had stepped back in time. And I sorta had — to the medieval times! I’ll spare you the history lesson, but I psyched that my “commute” could now take me off the modern, busy streets, through the one-time moats and tunnels of latter day London! Sigh. And THAT’S what makes you beautiful, London.
(For the record, I just listened to that song. Twice. Don’t judge.)