If on the other hand the title made you think "Hmmm ... edgy?!" and brought you here for the first time then apology revoked. Welcome!
Time to explain myself. Perhaps. After a short story of a mouse ...
Remember Aesop's fable about the town mouse who visits his cousin in the country? And finds it all a bit too quiet in a disturbing lack-of-traffic-and-noise-and-bustling-crowds-of-people-sort of a way and backward in an absence-of-theatre-and-cinema-and-24-hour-shops-and-instant-hot-running-water way, well ... whenever I leave my internet and mobile signal vacuum of rural tranquillity and travel to the city, I am reminded of the country mouse whose brief sojourn at the residence of his sophisticated cousin was terminated abruptly when flustered and frightened, he fled back home. Like him, I am happiest when I am leaving the metropolis behind.
But, having said all that and exaggerated a little, I do actually like the city. Just not for long.
Averse to being squeezed into a sardine can and catapulted along a tunnel, I choose to walk. Everywhere. I like to feel the history of the city beneath my feet. To see it with my eyes. Someone (she knows who she is), once said to me, "When visiting a place, always look up."
On crowded streets, especially when the country mouse is a bit lost, and anxious about trying not to look too lost, and is a bit intimidated by bus lanes and cyclists and the press of fellow pedestrians and beating the green flashing man to the opposite side of the road, it is easy to take away, as memory of the city visit, a picture of varied shuffling, hesitant, and rushing feet on worn and gum-pocked pavements. Instead, look up! If you don't you'll miss this
(And now, anyone who knows where I was and where I was trying to get to, also knows exactly how lost I was. Sadly.)
Similarly, when on holiday, if you don't look up, you'll risk missing this
So wherever you are, remember to look up.
If you do, you'll collide with the people who spend all day rushing around looking at their feet. And they'll glance at your mismatched outfit and 'best bag' from last century, and you'll see them smile, forgivingly, and step aside to let the "bumpkin" pass. Do they ever in their frenzied existence steal a few minutes to look up? They should. If they can't appreciate the wonders of the architecture around them, they should grieve; for the rat race will have taken their soul. Looking up is about connecting with place. And history. And self. And stepping away from corporate, ego-building competition and bathing in that cleansing, readjusting feeling that is awe. Breathe - if you can - that city air. Look up ... and walk into a few lamp-posts. Trust me, the bruises will be worth it!
Lamp-posts, I avoided. I struggled more with corners of buildings and a bicycle rack ...
In one day, I walked here
and, as already established, here
In the city, I got lost - yes. Sore footed - a little. Tired - slightly. Inclined to swear - not exactly; so why shock with "It's the "f***ing news" boys!" in the title of this post? Unfortunate circumstance and timing were to blame -
The first mistake was boarding a train at 3.30pm. With a swarm of flatulent teenage boys, their voices turned up to max volume and each devoid of a mute button. School was out. Half-term begun.
The second was not having anything of a sound-cancelling nature to plug into my ears. Fingers might have worked. But might have attracted attention and ridicule.
The third was listening. It was hard not to.
The fourth was realising that these boys, who my elderly relatives would probably have labelled 'young hoodlums,' were - albeit hindered in their delivery by the insertion of the superfluous word "f***ing" after every single word that wasn't f***ing - discussing that day's news. They were clearly well informed and were properly debating the issues. My mistake. I had misjudged them. My inner country mouse was baffled and a little ashamed.F***ing this and f***ing that rang in my ears as I disembarked the train. And properly discombobulated, promptly got lost.
Finally ... very finally, after my destination was slowly and surprisingly reached, friends were successfully located, family found, food finished, spectacular a cappella enjoyed
the country mouse fled home.
And not a single "f***ing* was heard all evening.