It’s like floating through a film, life unfolding in slow motion. The song playing in my ears the only sound I can hear. It pulses through me like blood. It becomes me. I am invisible, a silent sound, something inexpressible. I notice others who have blanketed the sounds of this city with thick sheets of music, a personal soundtrack to reality. The accountant in his Savile Row suit; the teenager with his Doc Martins and black dreadlocks; the girl with the skinny jeans and mustard yellow beret. The tiny ear buds, the giant headphones, the knowing glances and shy smiles. We seem to think we’ve figured out the secret.
Without screeching trains, beeping cars, tube announcements, slamming doors, phone conversations and sirens, the little things stand out more. Other senses perk up. I notice the smell of the chai latte the woman next to me on the tube is holding, her lilac nail polish chipping at the edges. I notice freckle patterns and green-flecked eyes. And the city flies by through the windows at the speed of light.
This is that London feeling. You know it, don’t you? It’s rare, but magical. Usually it happens while walking across the Thames, down the South Bank or through Trafalgar Square. I find myself thinking… I’m in London. I live here. This is my city. I work here. I sleep here. I play here. I ride this train every day and how many people in the world would love to be able to say that? It’s that feeling of pride, that I know this city inside and out. A feeling of humbleness that there is so much I have yet to learn and explore. But I can recommend places to eat, things to do. I know to stand on the right and walk on the left. It’s a reminder never to take it for granted.
And I smile to myself, to my thoughts and to the music. And I feel happy because I’ve appreciated something simple. I feel happy because this is London.
Just wanted to share this video with you that Londonist pointed out the other day: