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The Scrivener: Have A Nice Trip

ÖYouíre walking quietly in the crowd at a shopping centre, and someone barges into you. No worries, they assume that they have the right of way. Iím tempted to slide my walking stick out just a few centimetres so that they trip over, but that wouldnít be nice, would it?Ö

Brian Barratt muses upon thoughtless public behaviour.

Rumour has it that Brianís computer, accustomed to a steady flow of civilised and good-humoured words, now wears a permanent contented smile. To read more of those words please click on The Scrivener in the menu on this page.

And do visit Brianís Web site The Brain Rummager www.alphalink.com.au/~umbidas/

If people want to throw things on the floor at home, thatís their business. If they push other family members out of the way, who are we to interfere? When they hog the whole of a sofa, leaving no room for anyone else, others must put up with it.

Iím talking about grown-ups as well as teenagers.

But when they do this sort of thing in public, I reckon thatís going too far.

Have you noticed how some nicely dressed middle-aged and elderly people throw their supermarket baskets onto the pile of empties? They canít be bothered to stack them neatly and fold back the handle so that the next person can get a basket in.
Youíre walking quietly in the crowd at a shopping centre, and someone barges into you. No worries, they assume that they have the right of way. Iím tempted to slide my walking stick out just a few centimetres so that they trip over, but that wouldnít be nice, would it?

And those people who park their cars at an angle across two parking spaces arenít necessarily careless youngsters. They can be people of our age (whatever that might mean). When you ask them pleasantly if they have an aversion to white lines, they get worked up and even nasty. I know, because Iíve tried it.

While weíre at it, letís consider what mature people do with supermarket trolleys. If they donít drive them like Sherman tanks to push you out of the way, they simply leave them stuck in the middle of an aisle so that you canít get past. I wonder how they react at home if a young person pushes them out of the way, or leaves an obstacle in the middle of the room?
Perhaps Iíve discovered a Law of Inverse Behaviours: People who are tidy at home are thoughtless in public, and people who are thoughtless at home are tidy in public.

OK, I confess. My home is a dust-laden, cobweb-draped, untidy museum of antiquities, and the floor is littered with books and documents. Itís known as The Wizardís Lair.

Years ago, I had an overseas guest who took me to visit some of his friends. Oh dear. The house was immaculate.

Everything seemed to be white: walls, carpets, upholstery. The armchairs were positioned in geometrical formation. A single picture hung precisely on each wall. Even the sheet music near the piano was neatly stacked, not a piece out of place. I think the sandwiches were probably measured with a ruler and set-square before being cut to shape.

My visitor asked, ĎWhat do you think of this house, Brian?í Iím not often lost for words, but was floundering on that occasion. All I could think of, without expressing my horror, was, ĎEr... well... thereís nothing to trip over, is there?í

Weíre supposed to become more tolerant as we grow older. And we must Ďmake allowancesí, of course. What people do in the sanctity of their own homes really isnít my business. Itís what they do in public thatís so annoying.

Anyway, have a nice trip!

© Copyright 2007 Brian Barratt

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