How Not To Piss Everyone Off During The Olympics

THEY’RE NEARLY HERE. Advancing with an ever-thunderous momentum like that giant boulder in Indiana Jones, the Olympics are almost upon us. Or to adhere to official style rules (presumably in case any of you bright sparks are scratching your heads and saying “Olympics - does she mean the kebab shop on the high street?”), the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games are almost upon us. Now’s the time to get in the mood, to dust off Granny’s javelin from the loft and instigate a few random family drug tests.

But while you chaps settle down and start planning your intercontinental themed buffets from the safety of the south coast, I ask you to spare a thought for us lot in the capital. It won’t be much of a thought, I understand, given our bent to smugness over everything from 24-hour transport to knowing what a macchiato was a full three years before the rest of you, but if ever there was a time to throw a little compassion our way, it’s now.

It’s nearly six years since I threw a few carefree nothings into a knapsack and moved here from Worthing, but (and especially so since discovering my company’s Olympic contingency plan is the skillfully-devised ‘everyone get up earlier’), it’s come to dawn on me that living in London will never have felt MORE like living in London than it is about to feel over the next month.

So here, for our mutual benefit, is a little cheat sheet for everyone coming to visit during the Games.

How Not To Piss Everyone Off During The Olympics:

1.    Walk faster. No, faster than that. And a bit faster. Are you moderately breathless? Is your upper lip moist? There you go! Keep it up. Remember, this is an over-caffeinated city full of people who are paying more rent per month than your car cost entirely. We have angry, sharpened elbows and we’re not afraid to use them.

2.    Spend a little time familiarising yourself with a map. Just enough, say, to realise that Covent Garden and Leicester Square are so close they’re practically the same place and don’t require you to chuff your shopping bags all over the laps of everyone on the Piccadilly Line for ten minutes just to get to Nando’s.

3.    Standing on the right hand side of escalators I don’t need to tell you about, as it’ll have been subliminally transmitted through Boris Johnson’s Head Boy announcements at all major rail stations. But wait – there’s more. If you’re going to brave the lefthand walking side, you better be damned sure you’re prepared to walk. No ambling. No having a little rest halfway. No ooh-look-they’ve-extended-the-run-of-Jersey-Boys. MOVE. If in any doubt, aim to live by the maxim, ‘I may not be in a rush, but the person behind me probably is.’ It’ll save you getting twonked on the head with a rolled up copy of the Metro.

4.    It’s pronounced Theydon Bois, as spelled. None of your faux-French here, Hyacinth Bucket.

5.    Is this Pret A Manger busy? Don’t worry, there’s another one over there. And another one next to that. In fact, like the proverbial turtles, it’s pretty much Pret A Mangers all the way down.