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13 moments that make Londoners feel powerful beyond all measure

Guy Parsons

Londoners are a somewhat harried, anxious bunch by nature. City life can take it out of you. But sometimes, we get to absolutely SMASH it, even if it's only for a single moment...

1) When a tourist asks you for directions and you actually know

Lucy, Scarlett Johansson

The city is a golden map that you alone perceive. You are the cartographer, the navigator, an all-seeing Jesus butterfly fluttering at 8,000ft. All locations are known to you. Optimal routes sparkle in the darkness. Your wisdom is infinite. And yet, you omniscience is only exceeded by your benevolence, for it is the simple pleasure of sharing your enormous power which satisfies you most. 

2) When it's time to split the bill and you don't even need to look at the receipt

Math genius thinking man GIF.

You recall each menu item with exquisite clarity. The service charge is applied without hesitation. You are a savant, a mathematical conjuror, a Number Fox. This is some 'A Beautiful Mind' shit. And not just because you're broke and desperate to only pay your exact share and no more. Oh no. It's because you are Mr. Digits, Wizard Of All Sums. 

3) When the pub rings last orders, but you alone know of a late-night spot around the corner

Dr Who. Come With Me.

By day you may be the epitome of professional discretion, but by night you're the roguish leader of lesser mortals. An urbane sophisticate of some repute, never far from some unforgettable debauchery, and yet remaining elegantly above the fray. You alone know of this late-night bar, which is probably, you think, open until at least 1am. No doubt you know the finest cocktails in all the city, at least as far as anyone else can tell. Your friends raise a glass to your good health and throw their smartphones in the gutter – they have no need for Google, only you. On their respective night buses home, they will remark: 'they always know just where to go, don't they?' And you do. Always. Mostly. Sometimes. Occasionally.

4) When you actually put some money in a busker's hat

Xerxes and Leonidas in 300.

You are a wildly generous patron of the arts. Your philanthropy is as footloose as it is fancy-free. The subtle clink of coin on coin indicates to all that your musical taste, humble respect for the performer, and enormous wealth harmonise perfectly together, a humming triangle of smouldering attractiveness.

5) When someone at work asks you the quickest way to where you live

In this matter your expertise is without compare; you are the concierge, the mastermind, the Keeper of the Path. The options – you see them all. So clear. There are nuances here that others will never perceive. To Elephant and Castle, first, perhaps – the 176, or the Northern then Bakerloo lines; or maybe the short walk to Museum Street, then the 8, 25 or 242 to City Thameslink, or even the 38, down to Victoria, and an Overground, although, given the traffic conditions, and certain roadworks taking place at Aldwych... there are so many factors within factors to consider, you barely know how to dumb it down for your sweet, simple colleague. But try you must.

6) Giving up your seat on the tube

The elderly lady boards the train. Surely it's not only you that sees her? And yet, it is you – who else? – that makes the ultimate sacrifice of your seat. You answer the call of duty and rise, nonchalantly, as all around note your extraordinary deed. A moment of eye contact says: 'Thank you – you have saved my life.' A discreet nod replies: 'You are welcome, for I am of the angels.' As the train departs, your demeanour is stoic, uncomplaining, even as your two legs barely support your weight, even as the violent undulations of the carriage force you to grip the disgusting handrail, ripe with the toxic bacterial microfauna of countless millions. If you were on the Titanic, you definitely would've given up your seat in a lifeboat. Definitely.

 7) Absolutely obliterating the TfL Journey Planner's travel time prediction 

Who were they, those people who calculated travel times for the Journey Planner? Some milquetoast, well-meaning number crunchers, doing their best, no doubt. But they hadn't reckoned on you: the lithe, nimble Jason Bourne of the Piccadilly line. They could never have predicted your understanding of each and every shortcut, your effortless aptitude for overtaking dawdlers, your fearless enthusiasm for walking up, and not merely down, escalators. Estimated time: 23 minutes? Try 21 minutes, bitch. That's two whole minutes you can take to the bank.

8) When the person behind you in the bus queue has a broken Oyster card so you touch them in with your debit card

As it says in the FREAKING BIBLE: 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.' Looks like there's a new name to add to Heaven's guestlist. Yours. Talking of guestlists...

9) Being on any form of guestlist, ever


What are you, famous? Well, yes, essentially. Your name quite literally opens doors. You are Beyoncé. See you in the VIP.

10) Helping a mum get her pushchair down the stairs

Let nobody deny that you are as strong as you are kind. If the Rock and Mother Teresa had fucked and had a kid, and that kid was now grown-up, that kid would still come to you for advice on how to be even stronger and nicer. Were you ever to die, words like ‘protector’, ‘servant’ and ‘hero’ might just show up in your obituary, although you're so taut with raw physical power, immortality is surely within your grasp. 

11) Getting a cab at any time, for any reason

Home Alone, limousine, pizza

'Just drive!'
'Follow that car!'
'A hundred bucks if you can make the airport in 15 minutes!'

Three phrases you have never uttered to a taxi driver, but you know, technically you could. By all accounts you've got a chauffeur, and what's more balling than that?

12) Ordering a neat spirit (bonus points: no ice)


At one point, this was called 'doing shots'. But by pouring the same liquid into a larger glass, you're nothing less than a quintessential Don Draper-type, with an indisputably mature palate that's getting notes of burnt word, fire, alcohol, and secret pain.

13) Completing a goddamn loyalty card

Sure, over the past few months you might have lost your debit card, mobile phone and passport. But you have protected your café loyalty card as if it was your own flesh and blood. Coffee after coffee, stamp after stamp. You stayed the course; you saw it through. The final circle is kissed by the cashier's inky stamp. And now it is time to claim what is rightfully yours: not just a free coffee, but a winner's trophy. And it's going to taste so. Damn. Good.

Feeling pumped? Pick up some more gnarly tips from watching some of the 100 best action movies of all time

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