While walking back from town earlier with groceries I turned a corner and came across a man in his mid-thirties walking his dog. The dog was attached to him via an extending lead. Both he and the dog were causing people to scatter in all directions to avoid becoming ensnared in the lead. The dog owner had no idea of any of this, because his gaze was fixed on his phone throughout. Two of us stopped, looked at him, and then at each other, shaking our heads.
When we walk into town, we take a “back route” that leads through a number of footpaths behind the high-street. While roads take you to perhaps the last 100 yards, the final part is on foot. Not that the family that passed me yesterday would have any clue about that. While walking along the footpath minding my own business, a teenager swept past me on his mountain bike. No helmet. I was mildly annoyed that he was cycling on the path, but let it go. Then his parents came past – cycling on the footpath – together causing all pedestrians to take to the grass. No apologies, no realisation about what they were doing, and no attempt to give way or get off their damn bikes.
While cycling to work on Friday morning, I approached a junction not far from our house where I would need to take up station in the middle of the road, and signal before turning across the opposite lane. As I did so, the car behind me decided that the two seconds it was going to take me to turn was far too long, and over-took me – I had to retract my hand signal to avoid it hitting their windscreen. I couldn’t quite believe it had happened. Had I been half a second closer to the junction, I would have gone under the off-side corner of their car.
What on earth is happening to the world? Is it just me, or are many, many more people becoming entirely self interested, entitled, aloof, and ignorant of anything and anybody around them? You start to wonder if it’s just you – but then you start making lists of things that are happening around the world – like Trump somehow getting elected with an endless track-record of lies, misogyny, hate, division, exploitation, privilege, and… everybody knows about him anyway. Australia has somehow elected a new Prime Minister that wants to build coal mines. How does that even happen? The UK is mired in a huge mess caused almost exclusively by people who have been elected to serve doing anything and everything they can to cling onto power – and if that means disagreeing with each other about everything in order to make sure nothing ever happens – well that’s a pretty good game to play. It’s not helped by an older generation that want to cut ties because they have some idiot romantic dream of Oliver Cromwell’s England.
I watched the TV series “Chernobyl” during the evenings this week. The reaction to it has been predictably polarized – with the Russian state media claiming it is an elaborate attempt to undermine their proud history, achievements, and so on – and all independent and/or free journalists with knowledge or experience of the story saying “yes – that’s pretty much what happened – and is still happening”.
I kind of got lost in the middle of this post. I did have a point, but it kind of got bulldozed by complaining about everything. I don’t really like complaining, so I’ll shut up. While catching up with a friend late last night I made a remark about somebody we both know being an inveterate gossip – and realised as I said it that I was no better – because I was talking about them, just as they talk about everybody else.
Maybe if I can be a bit more mindful of others, others might be in return? I’m not holding out much hope, but if nobody does anything, nothing changes.