Correspondence

In Darkest London, Part I

The following is written by a white male Catholic convert, 48 years old, who has no specialist theological training whatever, is of strictly average intelligence, and represents no interest group or political movement.  It derives solely from a recent visit to London, in which nothing spectacularly horrible occurred, and which was spent mostly among people neither very rich nor very poor.

When you reach Heathrow, the four things that hit you in the face are the ear-splitting noise, the confusion, the burqas, and the prevailing smell of vomit.  Chicago’s O’Hare is said to be the busiest and most confusing airport in the world, but O’Hare is a dream to navigate compared with Heathrow.  Sign­age is limited and usually inaccurate; no passerby can help with directions, or if he has the knowledge to do so, he lacks the ability to convey it in comprehensible English.  No policemen are visible, though CCTV cameras abound.  Almost everyone is talking on a cellphone, to what purpose remains unclear, since the noise levels—one would have supposed—largely preclude thought, let alone conversation.  The burqas are of a type unfamiliar in Australia, with no slits for eyes.  Yet their wearers walk around assuredly enough.  You are reminded of flying foxes, which are said to travel unimpeded even when their eyes are covered by blinkers.

After you finally...

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