The reasons for this post have been rattling around my brain for some time. This weekend watching a film, going shopping and having a conversation over lunch seem to have brought the rattle to fruition. And I warn you now it’s a somewhat ranty fruition.
Whether it’s the recent changes to our economy, the gradual shift of generations or the inevitable manifestation of an individualistic capitalist culture but it appears to me on occasion that the degree of individual entitlement that some people display is high.
There is no better testing ground for this assertion than a trip through London. If you travel into and through London on a regular basis as I do, you will observe people behaving with little or no consideration to others. The pushing and shoving, those pushing to get to the ticket barrier first, those jamming themselves into carriages ahead of those who’ve been waiting and my absolute personal favourite – the roller suitcase.
Saturday afternoon saw me as a guest of Neil Morrison and I must confess we had a 5 minute mutual rant about those who wield the roller suitcase. Let’s get one thing straight – a roller suitcase DOES NOT have human rights. It doesn’t invite the consideration that a small child would and ensuring it doesn’t cause absolute chaos IS the responsibility of the person dragging it. In the past fortnight alone I have been bashed, knee charged and had my feet run over on at least 4 separate occasions with no apology and no seeming embarrassment.
To me the unspoken understanding of public transport (and one of the reasons I love my car) is that you are in a public space, that everyone needs to get somewhere and that we need to observe the rules of polite human behaviour in trying to get everyone to everywhere they want to go as easily as possible. You are entitled to be part of that but it is NOT all about you.
Not that public transport is the only arena where you see this behaviour – on the roads, in supermarkets, in office buildings and as I found to my horror at outlet shopping villages. Herself and I braved Bicester Village on Saturday and although we only spent an hour there the lack of consideration both for the retail staff and other customers I witnessed absolutely astounded me. If it were a race to get the last loaf of bread to feed your starving family I could at least understand it but I am fairly secure in the statement that nothing contained in the Ralph Lauren store is life or death!
Working backwards in time, Friday night saw us crashed out on the sofa watching “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” (charming film). At one point in the film Tom Wilkinson, playing a retired high court judge is asked why he loves India and he responds “The way the people see life as a gift, a privilege — and not a right.” It’s a nice line and has stuck in my head the whole weekend.
Yes we all have individual rights and yes we all have individual needs. I need to get to work on time, I need to buy food in order to cook dinner, I need to get to the M25 in order to get to the M4 BUT (and this is a huge BUT) other people have rights and needs to and none of us exist in a vacuum. Whether it be on public transport, on the roads, in a meeting or in a shop if we could all realise we are part of something NOT the centre of something then maybe life on a daily basis would just be that little bit nicer.
And if you do drag a roller suitcase BE AWARE OF IT!