I’m in London for the next few weeks and it feels like deja vu from last summer. August in this crazy city I used to call home. It feels different these days; a stronger hint of violence in the air, a little more crowded and chaotic, people less available and more hurried than before. It has changed. Or maybe I have changed.
A few days before I flew out, I was having lunch with a friend who had the opportunity to transfer here for work for six months. We mused about London as if it were an old lover, our voices laced with desperate longing as we spoke about our old haunts, past friends, and the pure, addictive energy of the place.
I lived my twenties here. The weeks were novel and sleepless. I’ve never played and worked so hard in my life. There was always a new friend to meet, another new destination to visit.
These days, I meander the city with a quieter peace inside me. Sometimes I can’t decide if cities shape people or the other way around. I feel like I’ve experienced it both ways. Today, I see past the big monuments, touristy red phone booths and new hipster hangouts. These days, I notice the subtle beauties that sit quietly on the fringes.
This wall, for example, sits behind Guy’s Hospital near London Bridge tube station. I think it’s meant to hide the hospital boiler room. I’ve walked by here countless times during previous visits and hardly noticed a thing. How great is the texture of this wall? And how amazing that it sits in an anonymous street in the back alley of an ugly old hospital? So great.