Monday, January 10, 2011

Street Etiquette

Today, at my women's club meeting, one of the ladies said, 'I've seen you out and about and was thinking, I know you!'

My reply: 'Oh really? Was I behaving myself?' We laughed and she said I was but who knows if I really was the picture of respectability. The things you do when you don't think you're being watched....(see photo of Her Majesty above.)

In New York City being anonymous is expected - in a city of 11 million it's easy to get lost in a crowd, most don't even know their neighbours. In my old 'hood I knew the neighbours but once you got out of a three block radius you pretty much didn't know a soul. (In fact, I met a former Brooklyn neighbour here in London - we were members of the same clubs, same play spaces, parks, etc. She looked familiar but we didn't say a word to each other until we ended up at the same women's club meeting here in London).

So when I walk, and I walk  A LOT, I have a tendency to let my mind drift. I often practice phone pitches, run dialog over in my head, think about work, strategize, and such. I've been known to make a bed and talk out loud: quoting dialog and reworking it, trying out a pitch for a book, rerunning a conversation I had the day before. It's not that I'm nuts, I'm just lost in my head which is filled with stuff - which, apparently, is spilling out of my mouth.

Fen and I have had a disagreement or two while walking down the street - not screaming matches or dramatic outburst, but disagreements on which way to go, the small couple stuff you do. I've also been known to reprimand Cate while walking, as you're wont to do with a three year old.

I'm usually pushing a pram (uphill both ways - this is Hampstead after all) and I know I've huffed and puffed on occasion (like today, and yesterday...okay every day), and I am certainly guilty of window shopping and lallygagging on the sidewalks of the high street.

And don't get me started if I'm on my own with my iPod plugged in - I'll sing. It ain't pretty, trust me, but I can't hear me - so it's all good on my end. I'd like to formally apologize to all the dogs of Hampstead, Belsize park, West Hampstead, Swiss Cottage and South End Green for my lack of talent and for subjecting them to it.

I like to think I'm fairly normal (dont' we all) but when I don't think I'm being watched I guess I can be a little weird (can't we all). Former UCLA basketball coach, the late, great John Wooden said, 'The true test of a man's character is what he does when no one is watching.'

If so, I'm pretty harmless and I like to think that Shakespeare is onto something with 'To thine own self be true.'

But my favourite quote regarding being alone - even if you're out in the world is from Charles Evans Hughes: 'A man has to live with himself, and he should see to it that he always has good company.'  I certainly do amuse myself!


  1. You sound just like me. I often have whole conversations about things without realising I'm talking out loud. Mind you, at least I'm having a decent conversation!

  2. Poor Her Maj - never thought she would do anything infra-dig.

  3. Most of the stuff I write has been drafted and revised in my head - by dint of saying it out loud to myself a lot. Sometimes my 7 year old catches me and says "Mom who are you talking to?" Gulp.

  4. Interesting picture of the Queen. My mother used to say you're not crazy if you talk to yourself, as long as you don't answer yourself.

  5. The Turks don't know about street etiquette. There's a lot of spitting and clearing of noses going on seems to be a cultural thing. Not pleasant when you first experience it..but like most things you get used to it.

  6. This is why we have a very strict "only at home or in South America" nose picking policy at the Fancies...

  7. Hilarious, I can imagine it all, the pram pushing, the soliloquy and monologue conversations.

    Do you remember the 90's when there seemed to be an over-abundance of nutters talking to themselves in the street? I soon discovered it was the fault of some lesser pirate called Bluetooth.

  8. Im safe unless Im in my car. My driving is safe enough, it's my behaviour. I rehearse lines I shoulda said to him or what would have sounded better to that woman in the shop or whatever. Facial expressions included. Weirdo.

  9. At least you let your mind drift when you are walking around on your own and not mid conversation like I have been known to do. I am often thinking of lists to write down on my lists. Gets very tiring xx


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