Dear Boss — Letter From The Intern

Dear Boss,

Given that as LA-natives we all hail from the land of eternal spring, it is hard to wrap our heads around the idea of actually seasons. However, London is definitely a city that boasts all four, with spring and summer being irrefutably the most becoming. The changes in attitude in the city anytime a ray of sunshine is present are blatantly obvious. It seems as though everyone in London is convinced that each sunny day could be their last, and flock to parks to celebrate the sun and take full advantage. Saint James in particular becomes overwhelmed with people lounging on its green grass and enjoying the “Marry Poppins”-esque landscape. I’m not kidding, boss, this park is so picturesque that it looks identical to the chalk painting that everyone jumps into at the beginning of the film. God, maybe that’s why I love London so much- it completely reminds me of Mary Poppins. And who wouldn’t love a film with Julie Andrews and Dick van Dyke singing their heads off? Chim-chininey, anyone?

The dramatic contrast between January-Londoners and May-Londoners is made even more conspicuous by the loads of non-natives that have been flocking to the city. Lately, with spring here and summer quickly approaching, tourists have begun to invade London. And though they may initially appear to be innocuous, the changes the city has undergone to accommodate their arrival are pretty

obvious. From jammed packed restaurants, to the cultural experience which every tube ride offers, even the museums buzz with various languages and dialects, every aspect of this town show signs of these momentary guests. Sure the 2 hour wait to eat anywhere near St. Pauls is annoying and the crowdedness of the Tate galleries can be irksome, but all in all, these tourists offer a distinctly unique opportunity for anthropological study, especially of our own USA patriotism.

Honestly, boss, it is so interesting to see American stereotypes personified and be able to roll my eyes at the stranger sitting across from me on the bus when a family of Mid-Westerners come on and begin to badger the driver with questions about how to get to their Buckingham Palace destination from their current location at Westminster Abbey. I can’t even begin to express how much I absolutely love being able to blend in with the authentic Londoners and commiserate about the loud Southerners who felt that flaunting their nationalism in the form of a flag sweatshirt and some sort of baseball cap was a good idea. Besides the “Go USA” gear and loud Tube talking, the most obvious sign of the American tourist is the footwear. Trainers, or “Tennis shoes” to you back in the colonies, are definitely the ultimate for those determined to walk the whole of this place while prioritising comfort above all else. And, hey, who can blame them? Sure, I would rather suffer the consequences of stilettos on a 10 mile hike than sacrifice fashion for practicality and indulge in some New Balance for a weekend of trekking, but that’s just one stylish female’s opinion.

       Though the visitors from the US are the most interesting for me to watch, I find the most entertaining aspect of High Season is how the city transport system has begun to make necessary changes in order to accommodate these new arrivals. For instance, the automated voice on the Tube has become much more instructional and, in turn, condescending. Before spring, the narration during an Underground journey would be limited to little more than a helpful “Mind the Gap”. Now, however, the voice basically accosts you if you don’t let others off the car before new ones get on or happen to not mind the closing doors. And the bus system is even worse, with threats about what will happen if you don’t move all the way down the coach. Seriously boss, you don’t even want to know. Let’s just say that I’m basically shocked that the tourists put up with this patronizing treatment because these omniscient voices are suggesting is that if you are from anywhere other than here you must be a moron and deserve to be spoken to in the most abasing of tones.

Your new American anthropologist,

Kate Hutchison

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