Thursday, May 03, 2007

The Nissan Invasion

So I know it isn't really blogworthy, especially considering that this is my first post in over a month, and the previous post was rubbish at that, and was the first since January. But anyway, this red Nissan has been parked - illegally - right outside my main front door since Monday.

The first picture shows my front door, where the red arrow is pointing. The second one is taken from my bedroom window. (I apologize for the quality of the pictures - taken with my Sony Ericsson K610i without flash.)

As you can see, I live on a tiny little street - a glorified alley, really - and so it's taking up a lot of space. What's strange is that the car window is open and the doors are unlocked. It's had a traffic ticket since Tuesday morning. But it's still there. Nobody really seems to know why. When I left my place at 10am this morning there was a guy from the Camden Council inspecting the car and I told him it's been there since Monday which he took note of but I was in a hurry so didn't bother to ask him what the deal was. It's kind of intriguing, to me at least. Plus it's generating quite a bit of conversation in the "neighbourhood".

And that leads me to something else. I live right smack-dab in the middle of central London. I live amidst the bustling city streets "where the cars never stop going through the night". And yet, what I love about my little area is that it really is a tiny itty-bitty community. I live on a tiny street just off two enormously main streets. But that little street is a neighbourhood unto itself. When I walk out my front door in the morning it is rare for me to go either left or right to either of the two main streets without saying good morning to at least one person. The guys who run the electronics store underneath me are my buddies. They come up to help me with my wiring when I need it and I get invited to their Christmas parties. The people at the café on the corner have learned how I like my morning coffee: my "usual". Heck, even the homeless guy on our street is like family. The café people know him, the pub people know him, and everyone in between stops for a chat with him. When I come home late I night, I feel a million times safer when I see him there. And if I come home earlier in the evening, the guys unloading the new stock for one of the stores of the main street, that has their loading dock on our little alley, stop to chat with me and ask me how my PhD is coming along. It's a sweet little community. Eclectic, but safe...home...despite the city rumble.

When I walked out my front door yesterday and saw the Nissan still blocking my way, the guy standing across my little street smoking a cigarette looked at me and said, "It's still here." We laughed. We'd never spoken before. I only knew him because his office window is directly across from my bedroom window. But in that moment, with the Nissan between us, I loved the feeling of familiarity within the anonymity of the city.

That is something I'm going to miss terribly when I move back to Kuwait in August.


  • could it be a secret admirer? who is too shy to come forward. so he thought he would give you his red car as a gift?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5/05/2007 1:28 pm  

  • Anon: Lol doubt it! Nobody would try to win a girl over with that shitty little car! :)

    It was towed the morning after I posted this, btw. When I left in the morning there was one of those ticket-writing men (I guess what they used to call meter maids!) writing it another ticket. He said the problem was that the tow truck couldn't get onto the small street. But by the time I got home that evening it was gone. Felt kind of sad.

    By Blogger Kleio, at 5/05/2007 7:50 pm  

  • Welcome back :)
    I can so relate to your neighborhood you actually reminded me of the old good days. I lived in a neighborhood for 3 years and my building was next to a homeless shelter. I was never worried getting home late because there was always people standing around all day long, 24/7. I always felt safe especially that I had to leave very early every morning. We never talked to each other but we recognized each other and sometimes exchanged smiles or glances. Also the Hispanic people who owned the deli that I got my coffee from every morning didn't believe, for some reason, that I wasn't hispanic and they insisted on talking to me in spanish.. It was to my advantage I learned a couple of phrases from them.. I miss my old neighborhood so much, I wish I could live there again..
    Gluck and allah ewafgich inshala :)

    By Anonymous NTT, at 5/06/2007 7:31 am  

  • I used to drive to London on weekends and those meter people just scare me..they are everywhere waiting for a prey! but I am glad they removed that the car because it doesn't fit your glamorous look I am sure.

    But, why did it feel sad?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5/06/2007 9:43 am  

  • NTT: Hi there! Yeah, it's a nice feeling, isn't it? I guess we appreciate it more because in Kuwait that atmosphere is completely lost. Way back in the day, when I was a kid, I remember that the neighbours on the street used to know each other. But now, except for a couple of houses that still have the same people living in them, nobody knows each other. It's all so impersonal. People walk out their front door and go straight into their cars. But yeah, here, even the people I've never spoken to but who are always there, give an acknowledging nod when I walk by. And another reason I feel safe is because there are a couple of bars on my street with bouncers, so I have my own personal security guards! Back when I lived in the States, it was a similar thing on my city block. Everyone from the deli, hair salon, dry cleaners, CVS, etc, all knew each other and all the people who lived on the street. But people in the States are naturally more friendly and personal than they are here in London. It took a bit more time here to reach that level. :)

    Anon: Yes, those meter maids are everywhere. I'm glad I don't drive here! I never understand their parking rules. As for feeling sad, that was a joke! I meant that I'd gotten used to it being there everyday so when I came home and found it gone it was a bit strange.

    Also, my "glamorous look"??

    By Blogger Kleio, at 5/06/2007 10:30 am  

  • yes the galmorous look part was an innocent remark. I do not know you personally

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5/06/2007 2:07 pm  

  • Well see I thought you must know me if you called me glamorous! :) But it's more like fabulous, actually.

    By Blogger Kleio, at 5/06/2007 7:40 pm  

  • A fab glamorous future doctor bubbly lady. What's your address? ;)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5/07/2007 9:45 am  

  • Sorry, I'm taken, by an equally fabulous, gorgeous, successful man!

    By Blogger Kleio, at 5/07/2007 2:08 pm  

  • lol thought you were describing me for a minute!

    but I wish you the best of luck

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5/07/2007 2:23 pm  

  • Thanks!

    By Blogger Kleio, at 5/07/2007 2:34 pm  

  • Wait... THE guy across from your bedroom window? The guy who was always at his desk at the most inopportune times? The guy who always made me scream when I stepped out of your bathroom???

    Tell him to close his blinds.

    By Anonymous Raine, at 5/10/2007 9:27 pm  

  • Hahaha no it wasn't the one who sits right near the window facing mine. He's the one from the desk at the far left corner. Still within a line of sight from my bedroom but not as in-your-face as the other guy! :)

    By Blogger Kleio, at 5/12/2007 12:18 am  

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