Eight million individual, unique people in Greater London, each with their own thoughts, desires, and dreams. Yet every single one of them does the same things. All of us - I'm not excepting myself from this grouping, and I don't really want to, because to do these things is to be a Londoner.
1. The first thing that comes to mind is queue. Londoners queue, all the time, for everything - cash machines, buses, the Oyster top ups, in the supermarket - it's hardly an original observation but the sheer truth of it means it rockets into first place. H1 and I have found that we've started queuing for things when we don't know what we're queuing for. It makes us sound like we're a bit simple, but that's simply what London's done to us. See queue, join queue - it becomes a way of life, a complete philosophy. Queuego, ergo sum. I queue, therefore I am.
2. Revel in drama. We can't get enough. A good day is one where you see a couple fighting in the street. Or an argument between Tesco cashier and customer. Or a road rage situation, a car accident, or even a nearly car accident (if there's nothing better going). We're so crowded in, our emotions are so held in check through every single moment, that seeing someone let loose is sweet sweet honey for the eyes. Because we're Londoners, we try to pretend that we're not listening or watching avidly - but we'll linger, we'll hover, we'll slow down our frenzied pace, trying to achieve the holy grail of seeing someone totally lose it.
3. Ignore sirens. Despite the above, the police, ambulances, and fire engines can wail as loudly as they like, but if we're in a car, we will not pull over. Doesn't matter how much drama could be in the works, this traffic is in a queue, dammit, and you will not push in front of us, and we don't care that you have lights and a siren and people leaning out the windows, yelling and waving frantically. We all know that there is no emergency - there is never an emergency - you've just tired of the queue (chuh, call yourself a Londoner) and you want out.
4. Get cross. Everyone's always in a hurry, but the individual always comes first, and that individual is always you, never the other person. And so crossness is the order of the day, demonstrated by frowns, glares, occasionally death stares, and tsks (tsks are my favourite. It makes my day when I get tsked.) Crossness can come on at any time, but is particularly prevalent in the mornings, when travelling, and when others step out of line - accidentally bump into you, grab the last avocado chicken sandwich in Pret, queue jump - all little annoyances that can be dealt with sufficiently with a drawing together of the eyebrows or a small mouth noise. Crossness should not be mixed up with anger - anger is for other people, and is an exciting, fun activity (see point 2).
5. Apologise profusely, when it's not your fault, even when you know it's not, especially if you've just shown a bit of crossness. If two people accidentally bump into each other, normally both parties will blurt out sorry multiple times, turn bright red, put their heads down quickly, and try to move on without doing it a second time. If two people accidentally bump into each other and one gets cross, the other may get cross too, meet the other's glare with a death stare, and both will try to move on without doing it a second time. Funnily enough though, if two people accidentally bump into each other and one gets cross, possibly lets rip with a tsk, the other one may apologise as if it was their fault entirely, at which point the cross one turns bright red, gets completely disarmed, and has to apologise back, and apologise more, and apologise harder, until it is appropriate for both parties to put their heads down and try to move on without doing it a second time.
To end, a relevant question. The last situation once happened to me, after I had tsked forcibly, and I was so embarrassed I've never tsked again - could this be why they're so rare, and so very special when you hear one with your own ears?