This post was suggested to me by Martin, my landlord and friend, after I texted him offering the mushrooms that came in my veg box (even though they were the ONE thing I said “please don’t ever give me”, le sigh) and describing my attitude towards them as “meh”. Though unconvinced that it was a real word, which I don’t think it is, Martin basically asked me to detail the “meh” things about London. So it is 49% his fault if I come across as too snarky. The other 51% is mine, for being snarky in the first place. Soz not soz. (Americans: this means “sorry”, I don’t know where it comes from, but I adore it and you should too).
Meh #1: I didn’t realize quite how full of angst I was about this, but Jesus Christ on a bike, the bagels, or rather, the dearth of good ones here. What do you do on weekend mornings, then, British people? I sit around and cry for a bagel, and when I’m feeling particularly sorry for myself, I defrost one of the precious Brooklyn bagels an American friend brought me, carrying them in his carry-on luggage like the priceless cargo they are. Of course, nothing beats a fresh, hot everything bagel with scallion cream cheese that doesn’t even need toasting because it has just been handcrafted by a ancient bagelman (it’s a word…in NYC anyway). I have to move on to Meh #2, my drool is getting everywhere.
Meh #2: London is a fabulous city, and I would like to look fabulous in it. Why is there no Rent the Runway or equivalent here? The cost of living here, and therefore looking fabulous here, is far higher and, I argue, the market is far more in need of a designer-wear rental company. Because I can’t afford to even look in the Gold Label section of T.K. Maxx (British T.J. Maxx, possibly his cousin or alter ego), and that’s before I do the mental aerobics of converting GBP to USD. Pro tip: Don’t do the math, it will only make you weep.
Meh #3: People who dutifully pick up their dog’s waste but then throw it, in its non-compostable plastic bag, either into my compost bin or right in front of my door. What did I ever do to you, stranger? I suppose this is a step up from New York, where dogs just crap on the sidewalk and their owners speed-walk away from the scene of the poo, hoping no one calls them out, which is honestly a huge gamble in a city where most people speak their minds to anyone and everyone.
It seems a very English thing to do, appearing to follow the rules dutifully until no one’s watching and then to hell with propriety. Like, I’m going to put my dog’s waste in a bag because this is the proper thing to do, oh yes yes of course, but then — THEN — I shall chuck that bag in front of someone’s home even though a rubbish bin can’t be far off! I hope that guilt keeps them awake at night. This might be my Catholic guilt, but when I make a shared-space misstep like I did the other day, when a older man and I accidentally elbowed each other as we were walking on a narrow sidewalk, he said with deep sincerity, “Sorry!”. I had my headphones on and didn’t hear him until he passed, so lost my window to reply and thus looked like a reticent jerk. That has bothered me for days. What’s that? Therapy? Yes, I’m in it.
That these are my main feelings of distaste — imparted by the dynamic use of “meh”– means I have it very good here in London. But I would never turn down better bagels or rentable high-end clothes that I can pretend belong to me. The people and their poo-chucking, I can do little about. It only takes one non-compostable bag to spoil the bunch, metaphorically speaking, so I endeavor to live another day not being that bag.
A “meh” post script: I know I don’t have Em dashes in this Content Management System, or a pound currency symbol. In case anyone thought I was just… leaving those out.