Posts Tagged 'Trafalgar Square'

Naked Memories

Now that’s what I miss about London: not just the monuments, but also the wacky things that happen around them.

You don’t tend to see street performers taking off their clothes in front of crowds of tourists here in Atlanta. In fact, you don’t often see crowds of tourists. And if I were to happen upon a naked street performer, I would probably duck, for fear of a gun-toting proponent of decency who might object to the display.

Now I yearn for the daily dose of indecency I used to encounter during my eight years of living in London: the odd used condom I would step over on my way to the playground with the kids; the guy who set off fireworks in front of our apartment building; the men who would relieve themselves just outside my office.

Atlanta is a much more sterile place. A neighbor here described recently how she called 911 because there was a drunk man passed out in her front yard. I can’t say that I had the same experience in London (I would encounter the odd drunken reveler outside my office, but never at home — not a party neighborhood, I suppose). But if I did, I wouldn’t have called 999 (Britain’s answer to 911) — maybe the local police non-emergency line.

But public nudity and drunkenness help to make London unique. When I first visited London, I was with my parents, staying in a family friend’s place by Edgware Road. Late at night, we heard a commotion. Outside, there was a 20-something year old man, stark naked, riding in a shopping cart, pushed by a stumbling group of youths.

Back then, I didn’t know what a bachelor party (what the Brits call a “stag do”) was. But I did know that a city where you could ride through the streets, nude in a shopping cart, had to be pretty fun.