Saturday, February 20, 2010

Tidy up please

Today we took the tram to Wimbledon to see an old friend from Expedia.  Beforehand I met up with a college chum, Hugh, to talk about philosophy, denounce Wittgenstein for being (a) somewhat affected, (b) socially regressive when it comes to persuading university students to take up manual labour and (c) the scourge of honest, if inaccurate builders.
After an hour and a half of this, including some discussion of the "got any bread?"/"got any carrots?" joke (which as a logical consequence had me in the toilet at Caffe Nero's, repeating the word "anthropomorphise" again and again, possibly scaring the woman waiting outside the door) we left East Croydon via the medium of light rail, and then wandered down for a short lunch.

Well, a short Italian lunch, which took us all the way from 1.30 to 7.30.  I'd never had smoked mozzarella before, or limoncello ice cream.  Limoncello is a wonderful drink.  Whereas most home-made beverages are either poorly produced beer or wine with twigs in it, possibly adulterated with gin, limoncello is produced from lemons.  And a bottle of 95% proof alcohol.  There's quite a kick to it, and at least the Italians are honest about where that comes from.  No suggestion that they'd been 'maturing' the drink in the shed for ten years - no, just bash in another dose of pure, evanescent booze.

On the tram on the way back, I was somewhat aghast to see a man carrying a black plastic bin bag.  In Hong Kong I get annoyed by people attempting to transport all their worldly goods in such unsuitable containers.  At rush hour.  But in Croydon, the man was carrying the bin bag because he was paid to pick up litter from the floor of the tram.  Empty bottles, boxes of fried chicken, all sorts of detritus that had been dumped on the tram at eight o'clock at night.  I was fairly disgusted.  On the way down to Wimbledon, a man had eaten a packet of crisps in front of us, folded up the packet and then left it on the seat, which was pretty bad in itself, but he had at least folded the packet up.  Or perhaps that attempt to be tidy made things worse - he knew he was doing something wrong, whereas the hordes of people that must stagger onto the tram and drop redundant containers are possibly just an unthinking mass.  Who do this in sufficient volume that a man has to come and tidy up after them.

You'd never get that in Hong Kong.

Well, because people take their rubbish and drop it in the middle of spots of great beauty, shortly before the government lays a concrete path straight through the middle of things.  At least in London there's still lots of quaint pot-holes and collapsing pavements.

And we might be messy, but at least unlike the people of Hong Kong, there are friendly conversations between strangers on public transport, rather than everyone staring moodily in no particular direction.

Oh.  Hang on.  At least London and Hong Kong have that in common.  Otherwise I'd feel really homesick.


Post a Comment