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Friday, September 24, 2004 

Barely Crossing the Streets

I wrote this earlier in an email to Steve (shout out, shout out!) and thought it was rather funny so I'm putting it here as well:

1. approach street
2. subconsciously look left
3. step towards curb
4. realize that is wrong as I am nearly swiped out of existence by
maniac cabbie
5. scream at self in head, "look right! look right! look right!
come on Monica, it's been (X number of) days!"
6. look to right
7. hustle to median
8. look right
9. realize that is wrong as I am nearly swiped out of existence by
maniac cabbie
10. look left
11. sigh
12. hustle to other side of the street

If and when I master this I think I will just move here permantly, because my tiny brain won't be able to handle switching back.

That is rather funny! But try not to get squashed by the oncoming traffic or else they'll be picking up your juicy bits off the side of the road!

Seriously though, glad to hear your transition is going smoothly! and that you're having a great time so far! and i look forward to reading about many more of your adventures in London!

--Dan (from NC, you know the other "lab rat")

Yep, that happens to me too every time I go to the continent. Except on the continent, and in the rest of the UK in fact, taxi drivers and drivers in general aren't nearly as aggressive as they are in London...

I think the best rule is to look both ways, both times. Or read the "look right", "look left" messages that the various London councils helpfully paint on the pavement for all the dour Brits, that spend their lives looking downwards, to see.

I've just bought my bike to London, and biking in amongst the traffic of London is probably the scariest thing I've done in my life.

Ollie (SE1)

I really appreciate this blog, and I wish I had found it sooner. I am an American here in London on the last day of a one-week "holiday", and I simply cannot get into the habit of looking in the correct direction before I cross the street. At this point, I usually wait for a local to come by, and I cross alongside them, as if I were an old lady or a little kid. Also, has anyone else noticed that pedestrians usually wait for the "walk" signal? In America, they usually cross whenever they feel like it. Cars here in London will come close to hitting you, as if to punish you for crossing at the wrong time. In America, we would take the hit, sue the driver and take his house. (Although, in defense of America, it also jams up the traffic less if you cross as soon as the traffic is clear, regardless of what the signal says--and traffic is a big deal in the U.S.).

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