Guys, it is hot in London. I told my parents this the other day and they scoffed at me when I reported the temperature (high 80s Fahrenheit), and then I reminded them that, unlike in cushy America, air conditioning DOES NOT EXIST here. Which means there’s no escaping the heat. Plus, Al and I finally put our (sweating, North American) finger on another thing that makes London feel so hot: there’s NO WIND. Honestly, this is the opposite of the windy city. It’s eerily windless. A rare breeze feels like a tiny breath of heaven on my sweating brow. And today is the hottest day of the summer so far: 90 degrees Fahrenheit. (Which, according to my iPhone, is 32 degrees Celcius, for those of you who aren’t familiar with our antiquated American system for keeping track of the temperature).
This also happens to be the day that the much anticipated Royal Baby is being born, although no one in my immediate vicinity seems too fussed about the current state of Duchess Kate’s labor. Hard to tell, though, since everyone is being all quiet and British. I am currently sitting in the sweltering Kensington Central Library, by the way. I came here with the idea that, since the place has free wifi, perhaps I’d be able to work here tomorrow when writing my weekly post for Previously.TV, but, turns out, I can’t access TV shows on the public network here, so I guess I walked here with my laptop in the blistering heat for nothing. But, since I’m here, I guess I’ll make a comment about the biggest noticeable difference between a public library in London and a public library in DC: this one doesn’t smell like pee. Unlike in the US, this library does not appear to be a place for vagrants, drunks, and weirdos to hang out, and the air, while hot, is remarkably urine-scent-free. This is a lot like the difference I’ve noticed between London buses and big city American buses: people behave pretty appropriately on the buses here. I haven’t seen one person clip their nails on the bus, or spit on the floor of the bus, or loudly talk to themselves on the bus. It’s incredible. I know London must have its fair share of weirdos and scary drunks and people who think it’s appropriate to bring smelly bags of seafood onto public transportation, but I haven’t seen them yet (fingers crossed).
Back to this whole Royal Baby thing: I’m sort of hoping that when the RB is born, everyone in the library will spontaneously break into song (perhaps “Rule Brittania?”). It’ll be a little uncomfortable, sure, but I expect a minimum level of pomp, if not circumstance, from ordinary British citizens at a time like this. Spontaneous song (and/or dance) seems appropriate. Or maybe the government will shoot off canons? Fireworks? RAF flyover? They have to do something besides post a notice on the gates of Buckingham Palace — I mean, talk about anticlimactic. The thing I’m not sure about, though, is whether anyone, except for the media, old ladies, and Americans, actually cares about this birth. I mean, sure, it’s interesting, in that Britain is choosing to continue this weird, quaint system of titles and tiaras and bloodlines and castles and stuff, and we’re getting to see that happen in real time, but really, it’s just a baby. This baby has no idea how famous it is, or what its title means, or that its parents’ every moves are followed obsessively by media, or that people are pinning all sorts of weird, creepy hopes and dreams onto its tiny, bald head. I get the sense most Britons are aware of this, and yet the media is freaking the eff out and swarming the hospital where the RB is being born and speculating wildly about names and Kate’s labor and so on. I suppose it’s too much to ask for the media to just play it cool around this whole royal birth thing, huh?
Well, I’ve written a bunch of words about not a whole lot, partly to kill time to see if the RB would be born as I was typing, but no dice. Back to sweating quietly among other quietly sweating people.