A Wonderful Thing Happened – May 2012
This morning a wonderful thing happened when I was on the train that restored a little of my faith in humanity.
A young woman in her early twenties picked up her iPhone (what else?) and began speaking to her friend:
“So last time I was in Rangoon there was so much I didn’t do which we HAVE to do this time. There’s this place up the coast called ______ which is about 125 km from Rangoon where there are some like amazing ruins on a beach and everyone said when I was there last time that there was just an AMAZING vibe there…”
At this point a man sitting a little way away just spoke up and said “not interested” and as she continued to talk bollocks about her impending trip he continued to say “not interested” a little louder each time. I caught his eye and said “me neither”. I said rather loudly that I’d rather go to Yorkshire, the lady next to me then piped up and said “what’s wrong with Bognor?” Our little conversation even made a man wearing ridiculous trainers (they looked like they’d been made from very expensive raffia) and his shirt buttoned up to the top (why do men insist on doing this? A shirt should only ever be buttoned up to the top if you’re wearing a tie otherwise you look like you have been dressed by Nurse Ratched) give a little smile. I MADE A HIPSTER SMILE. They aren’t all dead inside.
As I stepped off the train I tapped the young lady on the shoulder and told her that Scarborough has both some ruins and a beach (right next to each other). She didn’t look overly impressed.
Travel is another of the great myths that needs to be debunked. It really is on the whole only for the moneyed and privileged who seem to think that it is some kind of right – travel does not expand the mind, it expands your carbon footprint and is really only selfish. If you can’t find some peace and quiet and space to recuperate in your own country / town / village / city then you need help. It doesn’t matter how far you go you still have to live in your mind. You can’t escape that.
It’s the hypocrisy of it all that I can’t stand, on Sunday I was leafing through the Observer Magazine (don’t worry I didn’t buy it) and towards the end of the magazine you find the ethical living page directly followed by the driving / cars page, followed by the travel pages. Sorry self-righteous middleclass lefties but if you want to live ethically don’t buy a fucking car and stop getting on fucking planes to far flung destinations. You don’t have to go to fucking South East Asia. Building a compost heap is not only not going to assuage the guilt but it’s not going to make a dent in your carbon footprint either.