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A difference a day (Tuesday: Loitering)

[Anytime prior to six months ago]

I’m in England, and it’s lunchtime. I’m walking past my local grocery store so I pop into buy a snack, a drink, and a newspaper to read.

I pay for my stuff and decide to perch on a brick wall nearby, eating my food, drinking my drinking and reading the reports of the football matches the night before.

It’s a pleasant way to spend 20 minutes, I’m not bothering anyone or anything, and everything is fine.


Now I’m in America. And it’s lunchtime. I’m walking past my local grocery store and I pop into buy a snack, a drink, and a local newspaper to read. I pay for my stuff and decide to perch on a wall outside nearby, eating my food, drinking my drink and actually instead of reading the paper I decide to call a friend back home.

I’m 60 seconds into the conversation when suddenly I’m aware of someone talking to me. I look, and it’s a police officer – female, who is quite abruptly (not even an “excuse me sir”) telling me to move.

I can’t sit there. can I go somewhere else please. WTF? Since when did sitting, drinking a drink and making a call constitute a crime?

Since … as I walked away, I notice that I was sat about 3 feet away from a large “NO LOITERING” sign that I’d failed to see.

Sigh. You don’t get those back home.

19 responses to “A difference a day (Tuesday: Loitering)”

  1. Mikey says:

    Maybe back home you just don’t hear the mosquito youth deterrent.

  2. geofftech says:

    But I’m not a hoody! Oh hang on, Americans won’t know what a hoody is. Shit. What’s the US equivalent of a hoody-wearing chav, anyone?

    Anyway, yes – they’re being installed here:

    Although you still can’t beat classical music being played on the tube to stop youths loitering:

  3. Andrew says:

    Does it make a difference if you are loitering with or without intent?

    If say you trip on a paving slab and, before heading off to sue everyone you can, bend down to rub your ankle as it is a little bit sore. Is that still loitering? or does it have to be deliberate loitering?

    Presumably in your wall sitting there must have been a point when it changed from just sitting to actively loitering, is there a time limit?

  4. I’m surprised you weren’t arrested for Walking in a Public Place.

    Anyway, in case you didn’t get a chance to read the footy reports, Spurs lost 3-1.

  5. Alan Perks says:

    #4 Don’t worry, Geoff is fully aware of Sundays result, and the salt was rubbed in later that day as the Mighty Gunners wiped the floor with Liverpool 3-0 in their bright, shiny, spanking new stadium! Heh heh heh

  6. Is Lasagne a popular dish in the US, Geoff?

  7. geofftech says:

    I’m well aware that we beat the champions – Chelsea – 2 1 last weekend too, yes.

    ‘definition-britain’ Andrew? Excellent. And love the quiz too:

    How English Are You?

    Disturbingly, I only scored 50% ! Does this make me half American?

  8. Coco J. says:

    Geoff- You must consider the neighborhood you were in when you were caught “Loitering”. It’s not good for business to have a bunch of intimidating thugs or panhandlers hanging out there. There aren’t any “No Loitering” signs outside of Whole Foods or Eartfare.

  9. See – a little bit of weight gain, and you’re suddenly an intimidating thug.

    50% English just makes you half foreign. Still too English to play for the mighty Arsenal, of course.

  10. Brent says:

    A “Hoody” in America would probably equate to a “Ghetto Thug” or “Skater kiddie” I’m guessing.

  11. ex-bbc rob says:

    in canada, you probably would have been in trouble for ‘mischief’
    how quaint
    and try explaining what an ASBO is to a local.

    – minutes of fun.

  12. Mikey says:

    Got 58% English. It’s not really a fair test, maybe they should entitle it How much of an English snob are you?

  13. Alan Perks says:

    #12 Oh god, does that make me a snob? I scored 87% on the quiz.

  14. jj says:

    #7 – dang, Geoff! i scored 65%!

  15. geofftech says:

    #14 LOL! Show us your RED coloured passport JJ …

  16. Yorkie says:

    Much to my surprise I a ‘No Loitering’ sign today in a market hall in Yorkshire.

  17. TowerBlockTina says:

    Hurrah! I score 74%, but had to guess the cricket one. I HATE cricket. Used to like Buddy Holly when he worked with them. Oh damn and blast it, he died. (Very English swearing)

  18. scottb says:

    I got 68%, and I’m not English! Does that mean I’m only 32% Canadian?

    Of course the only thing that makes you Canadian is making sure that everyone knows you’re not American. See, I just did!

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