London has a reputation for unfriendly locals … something that I’ve found over the years to be untrue. And it came to me recently that I have gathered around me in my small spot of West London, a select group of not-so-strangers.
You know, those people you see all the time – during the school run, or at the coffee shop, or even just in passing – and though you don’t know anything about them, they become fixtures in your life.
There’s the woman The Boy Child and I passed every morning on the walk to school. I knew that if I saw her outside the pub, she was running late. We began with a nod, then a smile and finally an hello. Now that The Boy Child is at a different school, I no longer see her, and I wonder if she misses us.
They’re mysterious, yet familiar, like human signposts. I like to think that the glamorous middle-aged lady is about to, finally, have her acting big break. I like to imagine that the chap with the skinny jeans and hipster beard is about to discover that his parents have known for years that he’s in love with his mother’s best friend.
What can I say? I love people watching.
I learned something recently – that I am someone’s not-so-stranger. I discovered this when, on two different occasions, I was stopped when walking Tilly and asked what had happened to Max. I would have sworn that I had never seen either of these two people before … but they knew me, and my dog.
Are you someone’s not-so-stranger?