My recent visit to East London has left me astounded and appalled by the lack of tolerance amongst so many of the locals. Never in my life have I encountered so many arrogant, aggressive and accusatory people before.
Now I consider myself to be reasonably tolerant of others and will generally try to excuse a certain degree of bad behaviour - maybe the person was having a really bad day; perhaps they’ve just received bad news; it’s possible they don’t feel too well; or maybe… well… y’know… there could be all sorts of reasons why somebody ‘bites’ for no reason. East London, though, seemed to be teeming with people who were deliberately looking for an argument, and that’s something I really can’t excuse.
Now this particular area of London, for those who don’t know it, is a melting pot of cultures so it’s very easy to blame ‘the immigrants’ for the problems. I’ve mentioned it to a few friends who have blamed it on ‘the Asians’ or ‘the Muslims’ and as soon as I’ve said that a large percentage of the people my daughter and I had problems with were white they’ve jumped in with “ah yes, the Eastern Europeans”. But no, I’m talking about LONDONERS here.
Those we encountered that clearly had an attitude problem were, for the most part, either white females in their late twenties/early thirties with a clear East London accent or black women of Caribbean decent, the latter belonging to an immigrant group that have been in the area for a long time and who I’m sure would consider themselves Londoners.
We had women screaming from their car windows at us because LM, being a stranger to the area, wasn’t changing lanes quick enough, one of which started to follow us whilst making lewd hand signals, women snatching clothes from rails right in front of us and pretty much pushing me out of the way in shops, a veterinary nurse who gave me the filthiest look because my Dad’s dog had never been to a vet before (even though I’d explained that he’s NOT my dog and that I disagreed with the way Dad had treated him), a woman with a pushchair and half a dozen kids asking in a sarcastic tone whether I was some kind of cripple because I obviously wasn’t walking quick enough for her, and a woman who rolled down her car window at the petrol garage and suggested to her children that they all clap at “the clever lady’s parking skills” because she had difficulty getting her ruddy great 4x4 past LM’s tiny Vauxhall Corsa, even though she couldn’t have got much closer to the petrol pump.
What on earth is wrong with people?
I can only put it down to having to live in a fast area of the city where traffic jams are abundant, there’s no escape from noise, and queues in shops so long that you need a whole morning just to buy in your groceries. Needing everything done NOW and QUICKLY must become so engrained in them that anything that holds them up in the slightest is likely to tip them over.
Living simply must be incredibly difficult there.
I’d rather spend my life watching a spot develop on my knee than live in East London again.