About Me

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London, United Kingdom
Holly Searle is a writer who was born in Westminster in the middle of London. She shares her birthday with Jarvis Cocker and David Seaman and like Jarvis Cocker she wears glasses but has nothing whatsoever in common with David Seaman. She is fascinated by words, people and their stories, and regularly spends hours fantasising about being offered a weekly column. She has a degree in Film and Television which she gained from Brunel University in 1997. She has been blessed with two quite remarkable children whom she adores. She enjoys the company of her friends and the circus that is life. Long Walk to Forever by Kurt Vonnegut is her favourite short story. She is the author of the published children's tale The Story of Balan Singh, and is currently working on her first book.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Two Men On A London Bus By Holly Searle






A few years ago, I was travelling on a bus in London, just looking out of the window and zoning out like I tend too do, when my ears honed in on a conversation that was taking place between two elderly men sitting near the front.

One had boarded the bus at a later stage to the other one and had recognised him with delight and as such, had sat down with him on the same seat and began a rather interesting chat.

They were both what I would call "Old Boys" of a certain class and background, who shared a commonality in their experiences and in their history.

They were discussing health and life and what was on each others agenda for the day. One was off to see his doctor in Harley Street, followed by a reunion in Soho with some old friends.

It was a joy to overhear their conversation and I was disappointed when after a far too short a time span, they bid each other farewell and went their separate ways.

I travelled on alone with a smile on my face recounting their interaction, the warmth of which accompanied me all the way home.

The residue of this event stayed with me for some time and I began to wonder why.

And then it dawned on me.

I couldn't recall the last time I had heard an exchange like it whilst travelling on public transport in London.

Mostly, my travels on buses are subjected to assaults from overbearing persons who do not speak my Mother tongue, but choose to speak in theirs at the tops of their voices.

And I have to admit, that because I do not understand what they are saying, this starts to grate on my nerves after a while.

The latest Census has revealed that I am now part of a minority in the city that I was born in the very heart of over forty years ago.

During those years London has welcomed people from all over the world and a majority of those people have decided to make her their home as well as mine.

But like all of the guests, I would welcome into my own home, I would expect them to respect my ways of doing things as opposed to theirs, while they are my guests.

If they didn't, I would consider their behaviour to be rude and ask them to leave and wouldn't invite them back again.

That is just the way I am.

And if the roles were reversed, I would certainly behave myself in their home and act accordingly.

That is just the way I am.

It is how I was brought up to behave as a guest in other people's homes.

But, it appears to me that there has been a shift in the society that we all inhabit.

It has nothing to do with race or creed, but everything to do with differences in culture and how we deal with that.

Or not.

I get the distinct impression that I am now part of a minority that has overtly made allowances for these cultural differences, without it being reciprocated, by those the allowances are being made for.

I know that I am not alone in drawing these conclusions as people often depart with this information far too frequently.

And that makes me sad.

It makes me sad because I feel like I am in a cultural void. One which has no foundation of its own.

A culture that was based on muck in, make do and mend, that is no longer recognised by the powers that be or by those that the allowances are made for.

I exist, but I have to shout louder than those I am assaulted by during my bus, journeys to be heard.

When what I would really just like, is to hear more from those two elderly gents who made my day, for a brief moment on a bus, in London, as few years ago.





1 comment:

Laura Besley said...

Really love the idea of that conversation between those two Old Men.