12 June 2005

The chavtastic London tube

I’m still floating from my experience last week of acting as if I was a working girl in London. Well, I guess I wasn’t pretending, I actually was for about 24 hours – but every time you do something exhilarating for the first time, it leaves quite an impression – right?

One of the most memorable bits was walking the streets near London Victoria. I headed toward the tube with a spring in my step, feeling like a small fish in a massive school, all of us surging together towards the transportation system. Why is it that we sometimes find comfort in being part of such a colossal system? Individualistic fantasies disappear and a buzzing comfort results from just being one of the crowd.

My other favorite part was seeing articles like this one in the complementary Metro (from Thursday, June 9, 2005), and knowing exactly what they are referring to. Before my recent Oxford adventure, I would not have had a clue what a chav was:

"Chavs gain kudos with buzz words

Maybe chavs aren’t so, well, chavish after all. For they have just been awarded the ‘honour’ of a place in a leading English dictionary.

The ubiquitous chav is defined as ‘a young working-class person who dresses in casual sports clothes (perhaps from Romany chavi – a child).

There are also entries for chavette (the female equivalent), and the adjectives chavish and chavtastic (suitable or designed for chavs)."

It’s always fun figuring out a culture, but somehow it’s less a frustration and more a sense of glee when the language, but not the vocabulary, is the same.

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