3 hours ago
Saturday, 8 October 2011
Two things that make me seethe - but I say nothing, while boiling inside.
When I was young this was considered to be one of the heights of bad manners, disrespectful to anyone who might want to sit down in that place, even if that person was not yet on the scene. If this uncouth habit was done at all it was only by unthinking youngsters who could be guaranteed to be told off by nearby or passing adults - and certainly by train conductors and inspectors. Now everyone does it, irrespective of age - leaving me to just sit there, trying to bury myself in a book but my mind not on it, while my blood pressure rises and rises. I know that if I said anything I'd almost certainly be ignored, told to "Go away!" or laughed at or even be set upon. Train staff themselves, passing through, hardly ever seem to care. It wouldn't be quite so bad (though still bad enough), if the seats were bare wood or plastic or metal, something which could be easily wiped clean. But they are invariably upholstered with some kind of fabric which retains the dirt and would need professionally cleaning to get it out. Very occasionally one might see the 'offender' taking their shoes off or, better still, placing their shod feet on a newspaper spread out on the seat. That I can live with, though it is very rare.
I can't help wondering if in their homes they place their shoes on chairs, settees etc. Actually on TV I see that nowadays they do indeed do that - even sometimes raising their shoes onto beds, for crying out loud! I can fully understand that such people might not respect others whom they live with. That's their own business. But in public places I was brought up to assume that the other person, even if a total stranger, was automatically entitled to respect. To my mind, putting shoes on seats where other members of the public may sit, categorically flouts that. Just what is society coming to?
It must be a good 20 years ago when I stopped using these environment-damaging items for shopping, turning to re-useable cloth bags. Yet even now, despite ALL the publicity, every time I go to a supermarket, most of the customers in the queue at the cash till ahead of me are using several bags. I've recently counted one person using no less than TEN! And they can't be re-using them - they just cannot be!. Each time they go to the shops they'll ask for more - and more - and more - as though using these receptacles is an essential part of shopping procedure.
I've heard that each of these bags can take anything from 200 to 1,000 years to degrade. A statistic that brought it home only last week was that in Wales alone (population 3 million), where it has been decided to put an insultingly lowly price of 5 pence per bag, around 400 million of these bags are used every single year. Of course there are the predictable vociferous complaints about this levy - "nanny state", "personal choice" etc.- as though there's no such thing as community responsibility, or that it should at be an 'option'.
We've all seen the dire damage these polluting items can do to wild life, both animal and plant-life - and the hideously painful and slow death they can mean to those of the former who ingest them thinking that they are food. But even if the users aren't moved by this I would have thought that at least that they'd be concerned about the damaging effects they are leaving to future generations - and to their very own children and grandchildren in particular. But no, it doesn't occur to them. Even if it did, they don't even seem to care!
I find the same as with climate change. Even though I say it myself, it seems remarkable that so many of those with greatest concern for the future are those who are without children of their own. Not every single one, I grant, but certainly those I've known and worked with who do have children are the ones most likely to laugh off such concerns.
Maybe I just ought to accept that my attitudes on the two matters above are conclusive proof that I'm really an old-fashioned, wingeing and crusty fuddy-duddy. Oh well, maybe there won't be too long to wait before I'm finally 'out of it' for good . But if there is an after-life, and on the carrier bag issue especially, I'm still likely to be biting my nails as I look down and see what's going on.