“Mind the gap”

Instructions for visiting the UK:

Upon arriving to the UK after having being interrogated by UKBA at Heathrow or Gatwick I think the next natural step should be a short seminar on getting on in London Town.  American tourists, Japanese tourists….actually ALL tourists take heed of this free but practical seminar. The first seminar while you wait for your luggage while watching the luggage belt bring you nothing- take a few minutes to consider lesson number one.

The Underground.  Actually, you’re in London now…we call it The Tube.  Amazing to think that the tube is 150 years old this year.  Amazing to think that during the war that people actually sheltered here. They brought their blankets, pillows and tea urns and just waited for the horror to end. 

Once in the tube there are certain rules you must obey. There are no reasons for not obeying them as they are signposted everywhere.  Stand on the right and walk on the left. This simple instructions should alleviate any problems on the escalators. We hope.  Find your correct platform. Go left or go right. Just go. If you stand still you will interrupt the flow. So go. Once on the platform a myriad of voices will be telling you what to do. ‘Mind the gap’. ‘Stand below the yellow line’.  ‘Move down the platform’. ‘Good service on the Victoria line’. Listen to these voices. They know what they are saying.

Once inside your carriage or capsule like container, find your seat or place where you want to stand immediately.  Do not under any circumstance make eye contact with anyone. If you must look, look at a tube map.  Don’t even look at the homeless man asleep with his dirty navel protruding from his ill-fitting jumper. Look at your shoes. Look at your hands just don’t look at anyone. And don’t even think about talking to someone. Even if you ask ‘does this go to Charing Cross?’ . The person you ask will not know, they only know where they are going.  And that is all you need to know.

After you reach your stop, you will go on some escalators-be sure to stand on the right. You will then ascend to ground level and you can now breathe non recycled air. Congrats, you just survived the underground. Er…the tube.

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