London’s Commuters –Rancid Humans

Time for a bit of a random rant I feel. While comment could be passed on the oddities of Wales World Cup squad, or the excitement of everything going on in Libya, instead I want to reflect on an abortive attempt to manoeuvre through London’s public transport system with a disabled travelling partner. Now, I would like to qualify this by saying that every member of staff we encountered, everybody suited or parading shimmering florescent coats, did what I felt was a great job of assisting, when assistance was required. However, it took some impressive degrees of oafery and ignorance for assistance to be required in the first place.

One wonders what people think when passing a slow moving individual, trailing a heavy leg while supporting themselves with crutches? You would hope those people would think ‘ah, person with an injury/disability, time to slow down and makes some space’. This would be the expected response of someone with a degree of social decency. However, London offers us the rare opportunity to engage with people for whom the concept of social decency does not apply, a people who embrace the concept of ‘move forwards first – think later’. With said partner, initially her injured foot was the subject of a massive trauma inflicted by a Spaniard who clearly seemed to view my partner’s foot as a mini ramp upon which neat jump tricks could be performed. Perhaps the Spanish travel bag riding Tony Hawks equivalent of 2011. Following this initial impact, an Arabic fellow, possibly Libyan in origins, either celebrating or consoling himself following the recent events of his home country, took it upon himself to flail a shoulder bag into her side – while she rested from the first assault. The collective behaviour of the travelling scum class, intent on getting where they are going, and ignoring anything that might get in their way.

It might be harsh to point the finger at London as a whole, or London commuters, for on both occasions, foreign nationals were solely to blame for the injuries imposed on my partner, but there is something quiet dark and sickly about the behaviour of many who make use of public transport systems, not just in London, but in many major cities. V Gordon Childe once compiled a 10 point categorisation list for what defined a city in the ancient world; were he to write it today, he might consider an eleventh point that notes ‘those in cities with designs on travel, will endeavour to inflict harm and injury upon other surrounding commuters’. Certainly it is a pattern of behaviour mirrored in many of what we today recognise as cities, and it is rotten. When people are rushing so far and so fast, that they cannot take the time to move aside and make way for the injured, disabled or elderly, then things are moving too far and too fast. Whatever you are doing is unlikely to be so important as to warrant hurting others around you, so take the time and slow down, you might turn out to be a little less of a selfish shit stain on society, and more of a vaguely acceptable excuse for a human being.

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