Got on the bus; have put the headphones on; lost the troubles for a while and just stare through the window. Every day. Journey to work which we did for nearly full 6 months. Some people do it for years. It could be called the carousel of London. Since you come here it gets you in pretty quickly.
Charlie and I arrived on the night of October 31st. By November 5th we already had a job, accommodation and a debt of the first month‘s rent. For the first few weeks we ate canned beans, cheap pasta and other ''Tesco'' value produce but as we all know: start is always difficult. Especially in the country where you‘re welcome only because you can provide good flow in economy for being cheap source of labour. We have chosen to dive straight into that by applying for a job in a stylish-looking bar/restaurant in central London. It meant that our main customers were rich bankers and office workers, young lads who want to get drunk quickly and frenchspanishitalian mums with their twenty members of the family.As soon as a person steps through the door you can manage to put him/her into one of these qualifications and provide a service which they require. It‘s all about saying sir/madam all the time, being more polite, calm and smiling than Dalai Lama and assuring them that they‘re special, interesting, slim and beautiful. It‘s all about repeating: ’’Oh, it‘s Monday, have a double. “, ’’Oh, it‘s Friday, have a large one“, ’’You‘re so lucky, only on Tuesdays/Wednesdays/Thursdays we have a very convenient offer...“ And it might sound so artificial but it‘s exactly what customer service type of job is. Everyone is provided with the best service which is the same to every customer. In any shop, restaurant, club, bar, laundry cleaning place, transport, etc., We all are just a tool for this type of capitalist „free“ choice society to function with our own feelings, expectations and dreams which are deep inside of us because in this type of world they would never be fulfilled truly. You might afford a cheap quick alternative – this city is full of these colourfully wrapped happy deals but you will never get a satisfaction out of it. That is also one of the reasons why we had so many customers every day. Them having 5-15 rounds might seem bliss at that particular moment but we will always guarantee that they know when the bar‘s doors will shut.
Of course, you make friendships, have a laugh, and divide yourself between being very chatty to regulars and officially friendly to new ones. But queen Elisabeth‘s face wants to be part of everything: your conversations, their bills, their value, your dinner, your weekend plans, their happiness. I will run around with a tray like a caring mother having ten things on my mind and I will stand there listening to your stories like an understanding big sister, giving you pat on your shoulder and I will nod my head in agreement about your lunch decision like your personal assistant and you being a famous superstar with all the trendiest intolerances and allergies at the moment. For 2£ tips I will thank you and say bye, for 3£ I will wish you a nice day, for a fiver I will be so grateful and make sure will wave my hand till you leave the bar, for a 10£ note I will ask: “Are you certain? “ and create some sort of unmeaningful pretty gesture or a present with all the previous cases mentioned. I served thousands of people, brought thousands of drinks and dishes to the tables, smiled a thousand fake smiles and cried around 5 times in a bathroom. All this has given me is doubt about humanity. All I have left is the road. To live my dream.
London is an arrogant wasteful sewer with a 0.1% possibility of hope. It‘s a place where you can turn knitting into exclusive business earning minimum wage in five workshops time and where your flourless fridge made goods with minimum effort can turn you into baking god to whom people pray joyfully. London is a quinoa copyright screen printed t-shirt, homemade posh McIntosh, lactose equal eco organic apple brought from fair-trade Polaroid sweatshop. And to be honest anyone who is winning from all of this is only banks and biggest corporations. Of course we all know that.
We are living in this fake high class society whose streets are as nude as Middle Ages paintings. But instead of pretty natural Madonna’s, streets are full of dirty homeless people (otherwise nobody would donate anything, would they?), skipping squatters, litter, pollution, drug dealers, annoying charity Jesuses, more annoying runners, complaining about lack of pavement, office workers, builders and fried chicken bones. That is the ultimate face of London. Face it.
Besides that where are nice people, more nice people and some which you can bare or don‘t mind existing. Squatters, homeless, gays, ethnic groups, fish and chips can fall into this category. Living in London is a full mind blowing experience about humans and their relationships, about diversity and originality, about love, hate, freedom, imprisonment.
Because you can‘t buy rolling papers without make up – you might look under 25. Because it doesn‘t matter how early you will step out of your house – you will always miss your bus to work. Because it‘s a norm to leave your pint full or half full or your food touched a little bit and call it done – it‘s a waste society and now it has to be something bigger than starving African children eyes.
While living in London I have learned a lot about myself, the inside of a business, how much I love Charlie, my mum, brother and Charlie‘s parents, that I actually like cats, appreciate having an oven (baking!) and a roof over my head. How I am happy to be able to spend money which I worked so hard for in order to buy materials for crafts and things which always seemed so distant and unclear. I am so thankful to my English teacher and Charlie – my walking dictionary, otherwise surviving in London wouldn‘t stand a chance. I am glad for having such a patient and friendly team while working in the bar – would have quit after first month if it wasn‘t for those guys. And thank you London for being such a high standard city and teaching me what is quinoa, halloumi and proper veggie burger – I just probably wouldn‘t care about that if I was living somewhere else.
- Do you have home-made lemonade/room temperature water/lift to the 2nd floor/decaf skinny late?
- Can I have Nachos with no guacamole, peppers, salsa, and cheese on them/can I have a fish finger wrap without the wrap and lettuce/can I have a burger with no bun, avocado, tomato and lettuce?
-CAN I JUST BE SUPER EXTRA DIFFICULT/WASTE YOUR TIME/RUIN YOUR MOOD by saying:
-This wine is shit and nobody from this bar has made it so why don‘t you choose another wine but no, I will stay here and moan about it every time you pass by/top it up you I paid a fortune for this beer/this bar is shit, how can you not have “Fosters“?/The ’’Prosecco’’ is flat, fill me another glass, even though I was standing here in the queue and watching how you open that bottle and fill two glasses before serving me/You don‘t make that cocktail like that – I am a professional cocktail making critic, believe me, I know/You don‘t pour ’’Guinness’’ right. You have to wait 119 seconds before giving it to the customer. I want a proper pint. /Oh, how do you losers don‘t have contactless? Oh, God, I have to insert the card, enter my pin code? It‘s so 90s. /
And you call it evolution?
I call it being spoiled.