District line. Change at Earl's Court. Piccadilly line.
Hammersmith? Ah? bugger.
Off at Hammersmith. Back into London on the eastward bound Piccadilly line. Earl's Court (no switch). Gloucester Road. Excuse me, does your armpit need to be quite so near my face? It does? Okay, then.
Oh come on, don't look so smug. You know that you too once frantically clutched that omniscient Tube map, hoping against hope that you wouldn't get lost in the warren of endless underground tunnels.
At some point you too apprehensively eyed out the heaving mass of people squashed into a single tube carriage and wondered if you had any chance of making it out alive. Or perhaps you would, for a brief moment, forget the incessant reminder to 'mind the gap' and just slip right through onto a million volts of electrified track.
You too were in awe of the city's sophistication.
The edginess of Londoners is acquired. It is cultivated. It is tenderly nurtured in the grey, wet, and always-busy streets of this mega-metropolis.
And then, it is worn like a badge of honour ? proof that you have made it in the big city. Proof that you can ride all the way home without smiling at a single person. Proof that you can don an absurdly skinny pair of trousers just as well as the next Londoner. Proof that you know how to stride importantly up the left-hand-side of the escalator and only ever ? ever! ? drink take-away coffee.
Don't get me wrong, I think London is a fascinating, exciting, and enthralling city. It is home to cultural treasures from across the world. It is so cosmopolitan that you can sit on a bus and forget that you are in the land of the Queen. It effortlessly marries the old with the new; assimilating architecture, religions, cultures and languages. It works ? contrary to the grumbles of Londoners ? like a well-oiled machine. And, if you can afford it, there's little you can't buy or do in the city.
But, let's admit it. London is a little up its own arse.
Sure, you can cuddle up in its cold embrace of anonymity, but only if you can manage to forget that every square inch of the city is covered by CCTV. In London town, Big Brother is certainly always watching. You can break all the rules you want as long as you queue politely and, well, follow the rules.
You can marvel at the wonders housed in its museums, but you might not be able to ignore that nagging voice that whispers 'colonial plunder'. And for every banker, doctor, engineer or artist you encounter, there is some lazy sod relying on government handouts while watching SkyTV all day.
So, maybe London isn't so edgy after all. Maybe it is not quite as intimidating as it first appears. Maybe London is really just a slightly petulant teenager still confined by mum and dad's rules, but constantly pushing at the boundaries they set, perpetually discovering and re-inventing itself.
Then again, maybe it's just time I get some fresh air. Cockfosters? Ah? bugger.
Do you love or loathe London? Post a comment below...