To people living here, the above statement comes as no surprise whatsoever. It appears that Londoners are deathly afraid of fresh air and they don't even want to think about what might happen if you start up an air conditioner! I am assuming all this of course, without any shred of evidence beyond my own personal experience. But what other excuse could there possibly be for the sweaty, steamy and generally miserable experience of catching public transportation in London during summer? There is just no air - not on the Tube, not on the buses and certainly not on the trains.
As a by-product of this of course, people stink. I'm sure some people stink all the time, but this is exceptionally pronounced in the absence of ventilation. I was almost overcome by the stench of a woman's armpits - a woman's no less! - when she wedged herself in the two square inches of personal space I had left on the train tonight. Somewhat involuntarily (and only fleetingly), I screwed up my nose as the fetid stench hit my nostrils. She didn't indicate if she'd noticed.
And then what happens is I get paranoid. Do I smell? Or have I absorbed your body odour, in the same way that cigarette smoke seems to bury itself into hair and skin? Either way I can't handle it. So I discretely try and smell myself and end up looking like a big pervert. But STILL people squish on the train and get their armpits all up in my business.
Maybe I should just take up smoking - clove cigarettes, I mean - or something equally sophisticated. Smelling like that has to be better than the current alternative, right? Yuck.