Quiet

Currently playing in the background: Radikal Guru – Dread Commandments and “The Suburbs” by Arcade Fire

The phrase I seem to utter the most when in London seems to be “can’t I get some quiet?” Why is there a drive to be as obnoxious and as loud as possible?

I was thinking it was only one or two people I met here who slam doors. I found out on several occasions now (and once in the bathroom even) that slamming doors is very common. Whether it be at the gym, at home, at a shop – people slam doors shut. When you least expect it, you are startled by a BANG. And the culprit walks away, not in any hurry to apologise or anything. Why should they? It’s just a door right?

And how about the volume at which people talk? I travel daily to and from Oxford Circus, so yes I am aware that I better get used to the volume of a crowd. But there seem to be people who simply want to raise their voices even higher, in a pathetic attempt at drawing attention to themselves. Naturally the situation gets far worse if you –unluckily- end up in Angel on a weekend. Then you get to not only hear all the yelling and screaming fuelled by alcohol, but rather irresponsibility reaches peak levels with people having a good laugh as they refer to themselves as alcoholics – not realising just how grave a situation like that is to some.

Riding the bus, there are kids yelling and screaming, unable to be tamed by their yelling and screaming parents. Riding the tube, there are people who sit next to each other, who seem to only be able to communicate when they are pretending to be right next to the loud speakers at Ministry of Sound.

As much of a whiner as that rant made me seem, I honestly think I deserve my peace and quiet at . I just don’t understand why I have to wait till I go home to get it. Is it really that difficult to take things down a notch, perhaps at least show a tiny bit of an attempt at respecting people close by? Or do we have to hope that the next course of evolution for humankind will include the installing of a volume button next to our mouths?

Runways

It is time to throw out the running order. Pretty sure those who watch “The Newsroom” now know a phrase that we rarely yell around a newsroom. But yes, for those who wonder about the authenticity of the show – we do indeed say it some. Some.

I had written a column for this week, but a recent development made me erase the whole thing and start a brand new one.

Normally I try not to think about airports. Don’t get me wrong, I love travelling and so airports always represent that escape I long for. But I hate flying, so it’s very much a love-hate relationship.

But now there’s another reason why this is on my mind: the constant argument over Heathrow. Some wanting to expand it, some wanting other airports to expand, and some saying, “enough is enough.”

For the sole reason that I like the phrase, “enough is enough” was the side that got my attention first. I have never been to a city that has five active civilian airports before. It is truly mind-boggling. In that sense I find it almost hard to believe these are not enough.

With the demands of major companies increasing – for whom airplanes can logistically be their right arm – I can see the argument in wanting to expand Heathrow. But it seems awfully easy to carry goods for a tiny bit more distance and load them onto planes at Gatwick, Luton or Stansted.

Besides, the idea of expanding on an already centralised system could only mean more congestion and more noise around the Heathrow area.

The coalition had been formed with the stipulation that Heathrow not be expanded. Yet the recent decision by David Cameron of removing Justine Greening as transport secretary surely sounds question marks about the motives.

Moreover, Chancellor George Osborne’s –who surely needs more friends after the disastrous appearance at the Paralympics- hint that there could be a “U-turn” is further evidence of an impending event.

One can only hope that Londoners are the ones who come out on top with this deal, and not necessarily the desires of a few.

Şeref İşler is a journalist at the BBC World Service’s Turkish section.

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