Tuesday 31 May 2011

Trees In Trafalgar Square

I never get to be a tourist in my home town. It's hard to appreciate the place you live, the place you grow up. Most of the time London just drives me insane.

Today I'm liking it. The sun is shining, and London feels good. I'm sitting in Trafalgar Square and watching life happening in front of me. There's an old man sitting on a bench who looks completely content and happy. I wonder if that's really how he feels. Teenagers are splashing each other with water from the fountain, a picture of carefree youth. This moment, the days of fountains and sunshine, maybe this very moment that I witnessed will be the very best time in their lives. Fifteen years from now, maybe they'll be longing for another trip to London, with all the freedom and possibility they felt.

I'm sitting up against a wall, somewhere behind me is a guy singing and playing guitar. He's not great, but he sounds perfect for right now. Pleasant enough to be part of the soundtrack and not in any way distracting.

I'm sitting here wondering where all these people are in their lives. Are they on holiday? Are they happy? It gets me wondering about me, as I sit here in between everyone. There's a guy to the left of me; beer, cigarette, and a frown. Maybe he's not having a great day, maybe he finds the crowds here oppressive, but decided to come anyway.

There are trees around the Square, I'd never even noticed that before. There's a lot you don't notice when you're always moving. Do I want to be living a life when I don't even notice the trees? Surely they should be a part of it.

He's singing "Can't Help Falling In Love". His voice is awful, but the song still resonates. It's days like this when you realize you're not sixteen and hanging out at tourist spots for fun anymore, It's someone else's turn now. There's a business man walking through, he looks lost. He's definitely not noticing the trees. Maybe I should point them out to him.

I met a beautiful Brazilian woman here once. She asked me to take her picture, and afterwards she kept talking, there was a connection. But I was already twenty minutes late to meet my ex-girlfriend --who I'd cancelled on four times because I didn't really want to see her-- just so she could apologise for things and take away some of the guilt. I told the Brazilian girl I had to go, and that was that. I wonder how she is. I'm not suggesting I missed out on an epic romance, but maybe we'd have had an amazing coffee. How often do you meet beautiful Brazilian's in Trafalgar Square? Almost never.

The teenagers are gone, the old guy is gone, and the guy with the beer is leaving, only the trees remain. I look at the new bunch of people passing through, they're happy. At least for now, at this hour, on this day in London.

He's singing "I don't want to wait in vain for your love".

Care to share?


  1. Lovely snapshot of people watching. I hadn't noticed the trees either and I don't even live in London. Great writing as usual

  2. I loved living in London. I really miss it these days. Maybe one day I can go back. Not yet though, not yet.

  3. Your stream-of-consciousness post (is that the correct term?) was most enjoyable to read.
    When you mentioned the man with the cigarette, a beer, and a frown, I decided he was probably at an important juncture in his novel with no idea how to proceed.
    Though I've never been to England, your colorful prose sparks an interest. Maybe when I make a genealogical journey to Ireland, I can include London in the trip.

  4. "I deserve to fall in love with the place I call home"
    What a wonderful phrase (?future line of dialogue)! If people had that pride and esteem in their place, the world would be so different.

  5. I loved this post and can picture Trafalgar Square just the way you described. Even the fellow singing Bob Marley who I have noticed before. Oh yeh, I have to admit that I have always noticed the trees :)

  6. What a vivid description of a situation that is familiar to many people.