One does wonder, you know. There’s a lovely comment reportedly by by W.S. Gilbert, in John Julius Norwich’s Christmas Crackers, 1980 – a letter to a bumbling railways station:
Sir, Saturday morning, although recurring at regular and well foreseen intervals, always seems to take this railway by surprise.
Leaves on the line, the wrong snow. We can come at this from two angles – one is that it’s an endearing, quirky English or British tradition we should never lose, like bumbling our way to winning wars and creating empires.
The other is that the reason it’s so inefficient and hopelessly non-clairvoyant is that people, essentially, don’t care about anyone but themselves – people are myopic and narcissistic.
One of our regulars here and sorry, can’t remember whether Wolfie, Chuckles, Wiggia or who, mentioned that British transport was not conceived to serve the public, it was conceived to give employment, bonuses etc. to employees and fatcat salaries to the brass. Therefore they withdraw service when inconvenient.
There’s a parallel in Russia. Ikea sprang up in our hometown and was excellent for quite a while. Then something happened and the Swedish management went back to Sweden and Russian management went in. My mate said to me – watch the service drop and the place fold within months.
It did drop, badly and we lodged our fair share of ignored complaints but it didn’t actually fold, so that was progress. Essentially, Russians are no one’s servants and this might be said about the British. Even the streetsweeper stands on his citizenship and bows to no man.
Thus service is shoddy in the main, thus these transport crises occur at precisely the times of year everyone decides to use the system. Gas and electricity companies know that there’ll be no demand and then suddenly, the whole nation wants power. It’s like taking a holiday in July or August – why, when every man and his dog also wishes to do the same at the same time?
It’s as if there’s no concept that there’s anyone else out there. At the supermarket, I keep the carrier basket and load things in, pay and depart, taking the basket over to a bench and repacking there. It’s because I don’t wish to hold anyone up at the till.
However, that’s not how those ahead and behind see it. The one ahead has not thought about payment and so, with £100 of groceries there, thinks about the best card to use to add to the family debt and takes days paying by card, then gets down to the packing. Meanwhile, the one behind is pushing her trolley into me, subconsciously wishing to be served right now. Encroach, encroach, encroach, chafe at the bit is the order of the day.
Do you still go out for a Sunday drive and get caught in tailbacks, sometimes a mile or more long? Why? Why not go for a Saturday afternoon drive or an after work drive? And then there are the people who, on the day of rest, Sunday, when people who’ve worked six days finally want some peace and quiet, hear the man next door starting up his circular saw for his DIY project or the kids at the end of the corridor starting up their mind-numbing thump, thump, thump house shaker, risably called music.
Everyone keeping to themselves by imposing themselves on everyone else around. Spirit of Christmas.
In one Skype this morning, I was asked what I had planned. Heck, I don’t know. Well what are you having for Christmas lunch? Don’t know, maybe a couple of eggs on toast and some beans and greens. Major plan is to hide if anyone approaches the door, maybe watch a YouTube film.
Perfectly happy, relaxed, sipping on coffee, bed’s there to go back to for an hour, just being decadent, not being pushed, cajoled into doing anything, which in itself could be called self-centred and selfish. What I’m really looking forward to though is the Boxing Day feast of sport, from the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race to the football here. Boxing Day is a fabulous Day.
Probably later on I’ll do some sort of carol rendition until the crow voice gets me down and one is forced to the conclusion that that was not such a good idea, might say a prayer for the unfortunate and for the girl who wrote to say my Monster post yesterday was about her mother – whaaa? But the main thing is that the mood is fine, the sun has just come out, outside and all seems right with the world for one day.
Touch wood but no circular saws just yet. You have a nice one.
Rossa points out:
Not sure I should remind everyone today about Welby and his supposed connection with Christianity:
Interesting, isn’t it? Christians yet again let down by their top brass.Jesse on Christmas today: