Today, while on a fairly packed bus to get to a busy town centre in order to go to an equally busy supermarket, I was amazed at the number of inconsiderate people who thought they were the only people out on the street – causing me to get more than a little irritated. Crowding doorways; blocking aisles with pushchairs; dawdling too long by the veggies when I’m trying to reach for a packet of baby spinach; trollies heading straight for me and missing me by millimetres without so much as an apology or an ‘excuse me’ from the wreckless trolley-pusher… it seems that people have absolutely no awareness of other people around them. They think nothing of invading your space or getting in your way, causing you to waste time and lose patience. I also almost had an irate man crash into me while I was carrying several bags of groceries because he was too busy arguing with his wife and walking backwards (don’t ask!) without bothering to check if there was anyone else behind him on the very narrow pavement. This kind of behaviour isn’t just inconsiderate, I also find it to be quite arrogant. It’s almost as if other people and their space aren’t important.
I work in Central London and often walk to the station after work with a friend from work. It’s only a five minute walk to the station but on the way there, I’ve often lost count of the number of people who have bumped into us; hit us with their over-sized bags; rammed their buggies, strollers and trollies or just stopped abruptly right in front of us while they answer their phone or rifle through said bag. Now, I know that all of this is just part and parcel of city life, especially when the city is one of the world’s most overpopulated. However, an apology in a situation like this would be much appreciated. My colleague is not a Londoner, but hailing from a major American city, she does understand that this is what London life entails. However unlike me, she is not prepared to allow someone to get in her way and say nothing about it. She’s got something to say all right!
It seems like a sign of the times where it’s almost acceptable to be rude and not say sorry. And of course, no one wants to tackle anyone about their behaviour. It’s different for my American friend – after all who wants to take on an angry American? – but most of us know that complaining can sometimes be more trouble than it’s worth so we just keep quiet and accept that it’s just the way people are these days even though we are inwardly seething.
On a trip to Brighton earlier this year, a friend of mine later told me how surprised she was when as we were wheeling our stowaway cases along the streets of the seaside town, she noticed that I kept stopping to let people by and was aware of anyone who might be around me. well, of course I was. and it’s what any considerate person would do.
Sadly there don’t seem to be many considerate people around.