I stood in a long queue in Ealing Broadway Station after work yesterday for this morning’s Heathrow Connect tickets. A group of 15-20 carolers were singing Silent Night and shaking cans of charity change. I waited and watched people walk through the barriers or down the steps, in from the cold.
People had such varied reactions. A few brave and festive souls joined in and sang along, a couple of them stopped to watch pretending to be preoccupied with digging through a handbag, some smiled quietly to themselves, others looked completely miserable and a lot of them walked by pretending not to even notice as is a typical London reaction to most things that would strike up curiosity in a smaller town like in upstate New York where I grew up.
When Jingle Bells started, I walked up the steps into the chill of Winter London air tinged with cigarette smoke and kebabs from the shop on the corner. I tossed my scarf around my neck for the walk home and thought about all the different ways London can get under people’s skin.