Another FAQ Guide to LondonLondon Study London, Fall 2011
Greetings and welcome to Part II of my increasingly desperate attempt to keep my job. Also, something about offering helpful and informative advice to anyone considering studying abroad, or visiting England. That’s good too I guess. Anyways, while I was making coffee, my original interviewer managed to escape out an open window. However, he was good enough to allow me to complete my interview via phone. Perhaps because we bonded during the first interview and he felt a deep camaraderie with me, but more likely because I was still holding his wallet and backpack as hostage.
Q: Why another Q&A column? Didn’t the joke wear thin the first time?
A: Well, yes. To be fair, it wasn’t much of an idea the first time around, either. But my original idea for the third column was rejected out of hand. Something about copy/pasting the word ‘London’ 500 times not being an acceptable way to meet my mandatory word count. Luckily, it doesn’t matter, because London is five hours ahead of the United States.
Q: What could that possibly have to do with anything?
A: Well, for starters, it’s approaching 9:00am here on November 30th. If I was writing in the United States, I’d be out of a job right now. Fortunately, the way time zones work is that I am writing this article from the future, and sending it five hours into the past, to the general shock and awe of those around me. For those of you just joining this column, allow me to introduce myself. Stefan Sokolowski, time traveler.
Q: I actually don’t think that’s how time zones work.
A: I don’t remember asking your opinion.
Q: I seem to be stranded in the London Underground? Is that normal?
A: Again, that is a very good question. With the recent strikes, software meltdowns, and renovation of the Underground system of the upcoming Olympic games. Many people are finding it difficult to commute to and across London. (See? This column can be occasionally informative and sincere.) That is why it is so important to pay attention to all transit announcements. Have they told you anything?
Q: Yes, something about minor delays.
A: Oh, god. Not minor delays. My condolences. It won’t be easy, but I’ll break the news to your family. Also, I’d like to formally call dibs on your CD collection.
Q: Um. It seems like you’re overreacting somewhat.
A: No, not really. The transit authorities have a profound talent for understatement, you know, even more so than the average Brit. A slight delay means that you’ll be a good 15 minutes late to wherever you’re going. Slight delays may seem like a nuisance, and they are. However, they are vital for the continude functionality of the Underground.
Q: You mean because of all the necessary maintenance needed to provide public transportation to a major metropolis?
A: No, because in an eco-friendly move, several years ago the London transit authorities voted to replace the old steam, gas, and electric trains with more environmentally responsible models that run on the concentrated misery of thousands of commuters. Haven’t you ever wondered why the only time the Tube is running late and packed like a cattle car is when you’re late to class or have a train to catch?
Q: Now that you mention it, that did seem a little suspicious…
A: Exactly. The good news is, you’ll never have that problem again. You are experiencing a minor delay. That’s British-speak for, “This Tube station has been permanently sealed. Please form a primitive underground society and repopulate the abandoned tunnels.” If you look closely, you should notice your fellow commuters are sharpening their umbrellas into makeshift spears for tonight’s hunt. If you’re warriors are blessed, you shall soon be feasting on the finest rats in London.
Q: I’m a little uncomfortable admitting this, but you appear to be right. I think one is even wearing warpaint. Just out of curiosity, what constitutes a major delay?
A: That’s hard to say. There hasn’t been a major delay since 1994, when the computer systems gained sentience and attempted to end all life on earth.
At this point, I lost the cell phone connection. Fortunately, I had just reached word count. And expanded my CD collection. Today was shaping up to be a good day.
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