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Frivolousness will not be tolerated

Rule #1: Express spontaneous happiness in London and you will immediately lose your Oystercard. This happened three times within the last four months, when (a) I’d just ended a really fun evening, (b) two strangers in a row were randomly kind, and (c) a long-lost friend responded to my psychic shout-out and texted as I left a cinema.

A dullard – or a quite nice guy at Oystercard customer service – would point out that as my iPhone case frequently catches the card and then lofts it away when I pull both out of my coat pocket, I ought to just keep the card in my wallet. But I think there’s something to this. The city doesn’t like too much happiness – it’s not good for business.

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