My most recent visit to London, and I was waiting to meet someone at Waterloo Station. Looking around nervously, scanning across everyone who walked past.
A bunch of football supporters walked past, shouting and chanting on the way to a match. Closer to me passed a couple, looking at them too. As they passed, one said: “I hate people.”
My friend Vee has a phrase she uses a lot: “PAC”.* Often, I have to agree with her. But they don’t always do it deliberately. They do it by accident, out of ignorance and rudeness. People are bad just because they don’t notice other people. They don’t think about other people, and they don’t think about the consequences of their actions. They don’t think about what other people are feeling.
Not all people, of course. I like to think I don’t do it, at least, not as much as average. I like to think I pay attention. Most of the rudeness in the world isn’t deliberate; it’s caused just by not noticing the people around you. Like the football supporters in Waterloo Station, striding across the concourse chanting and not noticing everyone else backing away.
* it starts “People Are…”
Well, I had planned to go shopping. I didn’t want to go to any record shops, because that always leads to me spending much more money that I’d intended. So, I was going to go to one of my favourite London shopping streets, Lower Marsh.
Lower Marsh is quite an obscure place, near the Old Vic theatre, and running down the side of Waterloo Station. For an obscure street, though, it has a bizarre and fascinating variety of shops. There’s rather geeky bookstore Ian Allan, top fetish clothing store Honour [link not really SFW], and blogging bookshop Crockatt & Powell.*
The plan I had, you see, was to stroll into Crockett & Powell, spend too much money on interesting-looking books, and try to casually slip blogging into the conversation. “This is a fascinating shop – I only found out about it because I read your blog,” or something along those lines. Unfortunately, as I’d spent rather too long scurrying around Rachel Whiteread’s sculpture in the Tate Modern, I was running a bit late and didn’t have time to get there. Meeting people for dinner, by the time I reached Waterloo I barely had time to catch the tube and get where I was meant to be going. No time to buy any books,** or do any blog-stalking. Disappointing.
* Update, August 25th 2020: Sadly, Crockatt & Powell closed in 2009.
** or fetish gear, for that matter.