• Author:Ben Jones
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Pacing myself in London

My Nan taught me a way of handling rudeness; the ruder they are, the nicer you should be.

There is something satisfying about receiving really poor customer service or just poor manners and returning the complement with lots of smiles, thanks your and have a good days. It always makes me feel a little better – and without doubt, a little smugger and more superior!

I apply the principle of this advice whenever I am now in London; my own Newsroom style mission to civilise. I start by refusing to accept the elbows out, Olympic-style 10k walk pace around the tube. I have resolved that I will walk calmly, quietly and leisurely around from concourse to platforms. I resist my previous life of rushing to catch that next train – the dash to dive on to the train just before the doors close. Serenity is my watch word.

I refuse to give in to the head down, no smiles, misery that the tube seems to demand. Instead, I listen to music – usually upbeat stuff – that forces a smile upon my countenance and a tapping of my foot. I always try to let at least one person on the train before me or to get ahead of me to get to the space on the right-hand side of the escalator. I also try – as I do in the rest of my life – to do someone a good turn; perform an act of kindness. Today I helped an older person get their bag on the escalator at Euston.

Of course I do all the things in part to make the day go a little better – a little happier – but also because I am making a statement to myself. I am activity acknowledging that I was once one of those London clones – rushing and pushing around – sighing at every minuscule delay or inconvenience – the definition of raw impatience. My statement is clear; that was the old me; my old life. This is my new life; my new pace of life; my new happiness.


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