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Top five Londoners you wish you didn't have to talk to

Miriam Bouteba

Nathan James Page

1. The brusque barista

You’ve come to terms with the fact that coffee in London is extortionate, but why does it have to come with a side of judgement about your milk choice from the man with the twiddly moustache? As he looks up from the shitty novel he’s penning to crank up the wildly ineffectual Victorian coffee press and deigns to serve you, you know he holds all the power because if you’re rude back to him, he’ll write about you on his blog.

2. The housemate of the guy you're dating

You met him on Tinder, he met him on SpareRoom, and you’re all stuck in a millennial internet- matchmaking triangle. The housemate wants you to know that he knows him better than you do, so awkwardly makes in-jokes about the guy you’re seeing’s ex and which spoon he actually likes the best. You never get to know the housemate, yet he sees you at your most vulnerable: make-up free and dashing for the loo in a pair of boxers.

Nathan James Page

3. The office bore

Unless you’re a freelance writer, professional hermit or member of the landed gentry, the vast majority of your life will be spent at work. That means most of your piddly human existence will be spent around people you have no choice about seeing: people who use the phrase ‘going forward’ in anything but the literal sense and ‘action’ as a verb, worship Jeremy Clarkson and offer up their banal thoughts on your entirely unremarkable breakfast or, worse, talk you through theirs.

4. The bus nut

Everyone knows that people in London don’t speak to each other. There are no neighbourly waves, no cheerful exchanges at the post office, and the chances are that you could choke on a piece of gourmet fried chicken and not one person would bat an eyelid. Unless, of course, you are on a bus and there is an empty seat next to you. In which case, no matter how little you want a conversation, a nutcase will find his way to that seat and regale you with tales of how Westminster Abbey was built by Martians and tell you that you have lovely, lovely, lovely hair.

Nathan James Page

5. Your friend's spouse

Friends are so bloody selfish. They could marry great people but invariably opt for the most god- awful person you could imagine, and you’re the one left sitting next to them at dinner. The worst thing about the spouse is the way they talk about how brilliantly they’ve managed to domesticate your friend, as though he or she was some demented project who needed to be saved from a life of eating beans from the can. Really, you’d be happier if they’d married a can of baked beans; at least then they’d be allowed to come for a drink once in a while.

By Miriam Bouteba, who would love to be rude enough to get on her barista’s blog.

Illustrations: Nathan James Page

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