If you asked someone who was alive in the good old days, (presumably some time before the 1970’s, before everything was made of polyester and plastic) they’d tell you that this country has gone to pot.
We’re all happy gallivanting around having blasé sex with partially interested strangers and treating our fellow human beings with the same contempt usually reserved for dethroned middle-eastern despots or Bob Diamond. “Back then”, they’ll tell you, “you could leave all your doors and windows flapping open and no one would dare walk in and steal your Bakelite wireless radio or 5-inch black and white TV.”
In some ways, I can see their point. We live an increasingly isolated life with technology filling the hole that human interaction used to fill. We feel disconnected from our communities and our local environment, choosing to take the car to the shops just in case someone accidentally makes eye contact with us or bids us a “good morning” as we walk down the street.
I mean, who do these people think they are? I’m far too busy thinking about Twitter and internet porn to worry about all these other humans bobbing about around me. I once stared at a woman with such an intensity of indifference that she burst out crying at how insignificant I made her feel. This may or may not be true; the lines between honesty and artistic licence often blur into one big smudge and I often tend to believe the gibberish I come out with rather than give myself a migraine trying to discern the difference between the two.
In comparison to many other nations though, I believe us Brits still hold some steadfast standards that have become deeply imbedded in our roots.
Queuing in an orderly fashion for example is a national pastime. I once stood in a queue with friends for a cashpoint when two elderly ladies wandered over and unintentionally jumped the queue. As we stood and whispered our criticisms, (out of earshot of course, we’re British you know!) a loud Australian man stepped forward and said: “Excuse me ladies, these chaps were here first!” at which point the now flustered ladies shuffled off apologetically toward the back of the queue, with us, rather embarrassingly thanking the bold Australian for bailing us out like a big brother against a bully.
Though it was a thoughtful gesture, there’s no avoiding the obvious truth that my ingrained sensibilities had left me defenceless against two old ladies and at the mercy of an Australian. It goes without saying that I skulked away from that cash point with my masculinity firmly between my legs.