Atypical negativity:
The less useful or important something is here the more likely it is to work.
Two days ago I saw London fog for the first time and now I’m afraid I’ll never see anything else again.
And as my metaphorical motivation has returned:
Fall arrived suddenly as if a thousand trees were struck like matches.

No really, the sun sort of came out this afternoon and I had a nice little attitude change all on my own the other day as I headed out for an evening lecture. It was as if I’d put in rose colored contacts. It’s the trees; they are all so cheerily yellow and orange. Starting to find the fun bits in my daily commute on the tube and particularly relishing racing down the spiral stairs to catch the train and at the end of the day running up them again, counting as I go. I think the sign is wrong. I keep getting 126.

Last Saturday I accompanied a friend to the London Star Trek convention, where the crowd was 99% British and 100% dorky. Not being a Trekkie I was almost equally interested in the event next door, the World Rescue Challenge sponsored by the the London Fire Brigade. There was a nice mix between the two crowds, enlivened by various wandering borgs and Klingon. The best part of the convention was of course the fans, whether anxiously awaiting their childhood heroes, glorying in the freedom to commemorate favourite episodes and characters, or the group of young starfleet officers who never made it past the bar into the exhibition hall. I observed all this with glee… especially the London Fire Chief’s family picture with Sir Patrick Stewart.  In the middle of the afternoon I happened to be inspecting the pretty Connaught bridge when a demonstration started. Six smoke-jumpers parachuted into the murky Royal Victoria Docks to an appreciative audience of ten-year-olds and me. From that toy-town part of London it is possible to take a cable car across the Thames, where I was able to catch my first sunset in this flat city. Special thanks to Emirates and the new economy for enabling this adventure.

The convention, though autograph oriented, has in retrospect been my best opportunity yet to interact with Britons. My flat is in a touristy neighborhood, the university is a real mixed bag, and in between seems like a vast shopping oasis. I refer here of course to Oxford Street. I am almost settled in now, but missing out on these little local interactions which I got so used to with New Yorkers. That famous English reserve is a very real thing and this has made my transition slower than expected. Especially as I’m not kidding when I say that nothing works as it should in the UK except Oyster cards and archives.

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