Is London Safe

Broken Door

Patrick reminds me that crime was a big issue in the mayoral race. Crime? What crime?

Living in Covent Garden, I sometimes get lulled into a false sense of security. The Belarusian lives down the street from me. Last week I get a frantic call from her saying that her flat has been broken into. The picture is her door after the break in. Maybe Covent Garden isn’t so safe after all. I’m getting all paranoid.

A few nights ago I was hanging out with the Bro-in-Law and the Belarusian. They were primping themselves to go out to Torture Garden, as you do on a Friday night. “How are we getting there?” she asked. “By tube,” he responded. I asked if it was safe to go by tube, you know, dressed like that. I mean, I don’t mind that they dress in leather and rubber, but some people might take offense and be uncool about it. Like, maybe they might forget that we live in a free society.

The Bro-in-Law assures me that it will be fine. He tells me of a time when he was visiting friends in my hometown of New Orleans and he rode the bus from the airport to Uptown. I gasped in horror just as his friends must have. He said he didn’t have a problem. People were real friendly and helped him to get to his destination safely. “If you are cool with people, they will be cool with you.”

I’m always walking around Covent Garden like I own the place. Hey, I pay my taxes, and I’m never rude unless someone litters in front of me. But alone, on the two-block walk home, I start to feel paranoid. I could get done at any moment, I think. But then I turn the fear into something like exhilaration. It’s the fear that destroys the freedom inside. And, I want to enjoy my walk without getting all frantic. It’s a beautiful night, and the tourists in the market are drunk and in love.

Maybe this is what freedom feels like.

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