There are times when I hate London. There are instances when I curse it under my breath, and then there are times when I scream about it on the street. Usually, it's when I'm carrying two bags of groceries from Sainsbury's on my way home from work and it's dark and wet outside, my hair's sticking to my face because of the wind, three completely full 38 buses pass me without stopping because, well, they're completely full, and this results in perfectly reasonable grown-ups pushing and shoving like a group of pre-schoolers when a half-full 38 finally arrives after 15 minutes of patiently waiting.
Most recently? I've hated London for ruining every single pair of nice shoes I've ever owned, including this pretty pair above - which I only purchased a few weeks ago during my trip to New York. Repeated trip-ups on uneven sidewalks have resulted in not only stubbed toes and a lot of swearing (I'm swearing like a sailor these days), but scuffing on the beloved gold detail of these perfectly good loafers (btw, New York was like sidewalk paradise - no raised ridges that seem to catch you up on purpose and then silently cackle with an evil laugh when you nearly fall on your face because you didn't lift your leg like a ridiculous, marching soldier).
The cobbler knows me by name now.
When they see me, my parents (especially my mom) constantly bemoan the state of my shoes, simply because they're not used to seeing well-worn shoes. Of course, there's not a lot of scuffing that can happen between walking from a building through a parking lot to your car, where I'm from. But in London, even a short, 8-minute walk to the bus stop can result in trips, scuffs, and - if you're not careful during wet weather - an entire shoe being drenched in a muddy puddle. Not to mention all the fabulous dog owners who don't clean up after their dogs and seem to pick equally fabulous dark (I kid you not), shadowy spots on purpose for their dogs to shit in once night falls.
It's gotten to the point now that when I overhear tourists saying, "Oh look, how cute - COBBLESTONES!" I start laughing maniacally because I hate cobblestones so damn much. Cute on a postcard, not cute when you're trying to navigate slippery stones and your bus has just whizzed past in front of your eyes.
I see you, rolling your eyes at me. "Why don't you just wear a pair of shoes to walk in, like, sneakers and then change them when you get to work?" you ask. Oh, yes. I do that too. I'm the master of surreptitiously side-stepping into a dark corner and swiftly slipping off my heels into a pair of flip-flops or New Balances. But sometimes it isn't convenient to carry two pairs of shoes with you at all times, and sometimes I just want to wear my nice shoes out - because they're nice to look at.
What are your commuting woes? Do concrete sidewalk gremlins also lurk in your path, or is it just me?