Candy from Strangers.

I think public transportation in London is brilliant. I love it so much that I think the lower east portion of Michigan needs to totally adapt a system that matches it. I’m struggling not to go on a Tube Station rant, but I will say, that it could potentially bring us back to the automotive boom, especially if we allow different lines to be managed by different automotive companies. I digress.

The really interesting part of riding the Tube is that no one ever talks. Thousands of people are around you at any given moment, especially during rush hour. Honestly, you’re packed in like a perfect game of Tetris. Still, no one talks to each other. Everyone maintains as much of their privacy bubble as possible. Granted, there are crazies who will talk at length to you about their nutty beliefs. As an American, I find those moments kind of entertaining. Although, as an American, I was a little loud and annoying while riding the Tube and was probably hated by most of the English.

One night on the second trip, in fact, it was the last night of the trip, the whole class had gone out with Papa Looker and Mama Kalmes for The Night Walk. Every year they lead the class around London at night to see the lights and such. It’s gorgeous and fun. You start feeling nostalgic about the trip even though you haven’t left England yet. It doesn’t even matter that you want to push one (or several) of your classmates off Westminster Bridge while you walk. You get warm and fuzzy and happy.

After the walk, we all started the trek back to Catford. Haley and I were sitting away from the group, being antisocial and therefore happy. At some point you have to physically remove yourself from the girl who’s swearing that she’s going to come visit you at Concordia. Mmhmm, right. In the quad of seats that Haley and I dominated, Haley was facing the group and I was facing her. I don’t think we were talking much because it was in silence that I heard:

“Do you want some chocolate?” Haley was completely horrified by what I did next.

“Yeah,” I said instantaneously and then turned around to take the chocolate bar that Papa Looker offered me. He said that he bought chocolate for all of us, but he didn’t have enough for everyone to have their own bar. I nodded as he spoke, breaking the bar in half to share with Haley. “Thanks!” I thought it was great. Free chocolate, Papa Looker being a sweetheart, everything was fine. Haley did not agree with me.

“Do you want a free puppy too?” Haley blurted me in disgust. I didn’t get it at first, but then free puppies—creeper vans—kidnappers. We are American and we do have certain expectations of public transportation.

“I knew it was Looker all along,” I scoffed, sinceriously, because I did. I cannot explain it. I most likely recognized his voice that fast, but still. Who in all of London would randomly have a chocolate bar to give me at that precise moment? Looker is the only obvious answer. Haley looked at me like I was at the top of the Most Likely to Get Kidnapped or Date Raped list, which I probably am in the Top 50 for that list at all times, but that’s just who I am.

I take candy from strangers… because, you know, free things.


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