ºclimo #13: In Memoriam (Penge)

Man walks along a train platform, (this is not a joke), carries a red top tabloid, kicks a pigeon out the way, dumps an empty plastic bottle in a general waste bin, moans the train’s six minutes late in spite of there being a landslip.

Man walks into cheap chicken shop on identikit high street, orders meat (treatment unconfirmed), orders from minimum wage staff of a different body complexion, doesn’t think twice, pops next door to sling some money in a betting shop, chucks something recyclable in a general waste bin, takes his cheap food to his car on credit, drops a cigarette butt, some chewing gum, bemoans the headline in his tabloid newspaper, certain he knows everything, revs up like a man, expels unstudied fumes across the pavement at child height, drives five minutes down the street to his house he could afford to buy through charging extra on jobs.

Man votes to leave well-established, fair-minded, historically significant, generally progressive union, hates foreigners, doesn’t know his history, thinks he might end up in another country, doesn’t know what’s the other end of his street, wants a house extension as cheap as he can get it, his cheap food, anywhere, anytime, cheap flights, cheap fuel, his rubbish collected and taken somewhere he doesn’t have to think about it, his inefficient car washed efficiently and cheaply, his trains to run on time regardless of context, circumstance, or historical factors, his money back when they don’t, he wants to be able to sue someone when he feels wronged, wants to make money by squeezing every last penny, that’s his God-given right. Doesn’t do anything for charity or society because it’s corrupt. Wants free water free flowing from the tap. All politicians are evil. Job done. Not that they’re dealing with intractable problems and are human like anyone else. Man down the pub is another human. So is the checkout assistant lobbing items down the conveyor moaning to him about her shift while ignoring the customer she’s serving, she’s human and he can sympathise on that level. Doesn’t vote. But did once recently when he was absolutely sure what he believed in.

Have you seen this man? Do you recognise this country? These unimaginative choices are a scourge and increasingly far-reaching, gradually and immeasurably being taken up by everyone, causing everyone to eat the same (but not in a good way), breathe the same (again, not in a good way), listen the same (not…), drive the same (enacting rage), observe the same (or not observe), play the same, do the job the same, moan the same, shirk the same (responsibility), unsocial me-dia the same, buy the same, shop the same, cause everything to look the same. Have you seen someone behaving in a such a way? Call time on this monstrousness now. Save this country and the planet before it’s too late.

Matthew Allcock, 33, London SE, from Extinction Rebellion.


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