In My Dreams, I Wombled Free

One of those blog posts that descends into confusion as I nod off at the 356th word and sleeptype the rest.

My bristling Colonel fury, which is different to my political ire and my media umbrage, is reserved for litter bugs and narcissistic bargers, and both can heavily populate a train carriage. As briefly mentioned in my blog post of Thursday, I found myself unable to withhold words of contempt and consternation as I watched a sausage handed man clumsy pick his way into his chocolate bar, while casually discarding its wrapper all around him. My face contorted into a confusion of a wide-eyed grimace and the annunciated words, “you’re not actually going to just leave that on the floor are you?”

He said nothing, playing the man who heard only silence, but I think I spied a hint of earlobe sweat that suggested shame. His feet surreptitiously started to pool his trash and he subtly picked up the bits. No further words were spoken. When I mentioned this incident on Facebook, I was heartened to hear from many people who recalled their own confrontations with refuse droolers. 

Most litterniks seem to do it with nonchalance. It is not even an act, it is merely the non-act of not being bothered. Others seem to view it as an act of rebellion. “Yeah, I am just going to drop my milkshake cup here, because I am Ché, I am Marlon, I am Johnny Rotten.” 

With all the things to rebel against now, the fascism of rubbish receptacles seems low on the priority of the person who wants to “stick it to the man”. 

“I am going to demolish the establishment one Cornetto wrapper at a time”.

The day of the Van Cleef/Eastwood KitKat wrapper stand off, I was in giddy London. The Morricone music swelled in my mind again as I looked at the clammer around the train doors at Oxford Circus. The people were fearful and brutish, desperate for a seat. Some were going as far as Waterloo, that might be 7 minutes standing, lurching, unable to comfortably read the latest Jodi Picoult. So urgently do they want to get on the tube that they won’t let anyone off for fear of losing their place, which makes matters worse. The trains are so packed now because 50% of the passengers couldn’t disembark 5 stops ago. The reason the Circle Line no longer goes around in a Circle is to prevent people spending four hours at peak time repeatedly going passed South Kensington as the shoulders, bags and attitudes built a wall around them. In my naive youth, I would merely tut at the barbarous solipsists who saw no one and nothing but their own right to seating. My exasperation has swelled though, to the point that I now audibly say, “for fuck’s sake, let people off you morons.” Obviously no one hears that, as all the people it is aimed at neither see nor hear any humans or other beasts.

What is most annoying about becoming angry at others who are mannerless, is it can rid you of your manners, at least to the eyes of passers-by who do not realise why you seem to be swearing either into thin air, or into an advert for The Economist. 

These things seem like minor quibbles, but both actions seem to be signifiers of selfishness; another sabre swipe against altruism and empathy and just paying attention to the world around you. Did The Wombles die in vain?

Sometimes, I find London an arrogant peacock that hasn’t noticed it has shit all over its tail, and as I walk along Oxford Street (oh disappointing street) I hope to see it’s ancient sewers crack open and swallow it whole, I also know it has things of beauty too. Londoners can be more helpful than its reputation may suggest. 

But the selfishness, the mean-spirited neediness, can be contagious. Once a few have seen the etiquette of barging, shoving and general arseholism, others think there can be o other way. Why not sit out the aggression and let others drown in their swill of self-regard. 

So you are going to be 3 minutes later…3 minutes…you don’t have to speed up much in a 12 hour day to make up that three minutes. So many more deadlines to meet, so many more meetings to be had, so much fluster and bluster over knocking everyone else over as you make your dash for that cash prize and cardiogram.

I am off to Norwich, Birmingham, Falmouth, Leeds, Sheffield, Salford and a town near you soon, with my show on the mind. Details HERE

Here is trailer number 2, the Bible version, for my “out this week” DVD HERE

and Cosmic Genome, the science app with Alice Roberts, Brian Cox and more, is HERE

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2 Responses to In My Dreams, I Wombled Free

  1. Mandrew says:

    Equally as arrogant and an affront to the rules of humanity (there was a meeting and it was thus decided) are the people who refuse to turn off text alerts/key tones on their phones. Physical littering is an obvious social ill but the aural pollution of the relentlessly irritating bird whistle deserves to be treated in the same way (preferably with a fixed penalty notice).

  2. Don’t want to tempt you with more books but have you ever read “In Praise of Slow” by Carl Honore? Nice riposte against the modern contagion of hurry.

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