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“People are idiots,” me.

Mind The Gap (Life In A Tube) by acampm1

Mind The Gap (Life In A Tube) by acampm1

Poll question: and be honest here. Do you stand up on the tube/bus/whatever your local equivalent is if you see a pregnant lady, an elderly folk, a chap with crutches? I have to be brutal and confess that there are times when I’ve done like everyone else, and just pretended not to see them. If you’re on a seat at 9am on the Piccadilly line, the seat is where you stay, because the alternative is the unconscionable horror of standing, face pressed into a perspex partition, these days no doubt riddled with pig sickness. So the human condition kicks in, and for all the vast wordage devoted to anthropology over the years, everybody deep down knows that this means one thing: self.

So you happen not to see the little old man vainly clutching onto the yellow poles. You’ve your head in a book and don’t see the plaster cast or hobbling invalid. You don’t want to offend the pregnant woman, so you wait until someone else runs the risk. We’ve all been there, and the notoriously surly commuters of London are the worst of the lot. And yet, I thought little of it until being on the receiving end.

Now, I’m not whinging too much: I got on (eventually) at Russell Square this evening, and a few stops later, when some others got off, I got to sit down. I have one crutch right now, and though it’s for balance mostly, after a busy afternoon at work, I will be leaning quite heavily on it. I like to think that if I saw me, I’d get up and offer me a seat. Apparently, this is not the case amongst the general population of Sunday tube-goers, a mixture of day-tripping families, returning socialites and general random souls.

We’re weak, you and I. All of us, we’re selfish and greedy, at heart, this is the human condition: although this post started out as a grumble about manners, it appears to have elevated into something loftier. I have to agree, to an extent, with grumpy old Schopenhauer, who considered the will of man more important and more affective than his reason, and perhaps less with Leibniz‘s ‘best of all possible worlds’. Perhaps including something of each, and excluding something else of each. And that’s what makes me turn my mp3 player up and bury my head deeper in my Eco novel, or whatever, and pretend to be blind to the suffering of others. Dramatic I may be being, but I can’t help being a pessimist for humankind sometimes.


One Response

  1. I get up if someone is close enough to easily navigate to my seat. If the pregnant woman/ oldster/ crutch user would have to squeeze past too many people then I stay seated and let someone seated closer worry about it.

    I DO NOT extrend this courtesy to pushy mums with buggies on the bus. Just because someone has a puschair the size of a small car, it does not mean I am obbligated jump immediately out of the way.

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