Today was an auspicious day for me, as it marked the first day of my summer-long internship in London. I don't know if it's the drastic contrast from my student life in sleepy Lancaster, but my brain has been buzzing with thoughts and observations from the moment I woke up. I have resurrected Captainfuntimes from her prolonged, largely alcohol-induced, slumber to act as a capsule for my thoughts on London life...
My first thought as I stumbled to the bathroom at 7am was how long I would be able to maintain a routine. For someone who prides themself on being able to get up 35 minutes before a lecture starts and make it to campus on the bus, washed and dressed, this whole planning ahead thing seems somewhat alien. My first hurdle of the day came when I had to try and fit the shower head into its holder, somewhat above my arm's reach, resulting in a daring display of gymnastics as I stood on the edge of the bath, bollock naked, on one leg, my last ounce of dignity vanishing down the plug hole with the foam from my shampoo.
Quandry number two came when deciding what to wear for my first day. Because, seriously, what in the name of God comprises 'smart-casual'? A blazer and my M&S Christmas pyjamas? A pencil skirt and baked-bean-stained T shirt? Trainers and a ball gown? I'm fucked if I know. Settling on a dress and blazer, I packed up my case and donned my glasses, wondering if I'd get called a briefcase wanker today, or whether proffeshunalz are more refined than university students.
Next up came commuting. I accidentally made eye contact with someone, which is apparently not a common practice in London. Neither, it seems, is smiling. Or looking out of the train window. Or any form of human contact.
On my short walk across the road to the office, I learned that traffic lights are purely decorative on the streets, like floral hanging baskets or community support officers. I encountered only one crackhead and three drug dealers as I wandered around looking for where I was supposed to work, which I decided was my fair share for the morning.
I ate lunch alone, a soulless affair involving edamame beans, black barley, and a cup of green tea in an attempt to look sophisticated and healthy, when in fact all I wanted was a pint and a Happy Meal.
Coming home I learnt what manspreading was, as I was walled in by two middle aged blokes airing their bollocks between Blackfriars and Herne Hill while I tried to ignore them and admire the view from the window. Delightful. I eventually arrived back at the flat, and after dragging my shopping bags up numerous flights of stairs I tried my keys in the lock. They didn't work. I examined them and pushed the door, trying each one in turn, while a man coming out of the opposite flat watched me, bemused. It turns out I was on the wrong floor, and was in fact trying to break into an unsuspecting couple's flat. Poor Trudi and Michael, whoever they may be.
And now, to bed. I ate my dinner whilst watching the sunset over a panoramic view of the city from the balcony. The sky turned pink and yellow and orange above the skyline, and I watched trains snaking their way between buildings, and cranes towering high above them, like birds scouring the ground for worms. It is breathtakingly beautiful, and accompanied by the faint notes of a child's music practice. Shame they were playing a squeaky fucking plastic recorder. Despite being the largest, busiest city in the country, and despite having been surrounded by people all day, I am struck by how lonely it can feel. My friends, even those in the city, are miles away today, and somehow a phonecall doesn't alleviate the feeling of being separated. Tomorrow brings a new adventure, though, and hopefully fewer social hiccups.