Thursday, 25 March 2010

Anti Social Behaviour

When we were in Buxton recently a small incident occured which keeps coming back to me.

I was standing near the centre of town with the dogs when a lad of about 18 who was parked in the road alongside me wound down his car window, crushed a Coke tin in his hand and calmly dropped it on the pavement in front of me where it made a loud rattle.

Not wishing to get into serious bother I didn't follow my first instinct and pick the coke tin up, open his door and chuck it back into his car. I didn't even calmly remind him of the general benefits of us all taking our litter home. I just stood there fuming.

My problem is this: Have I inevitably turned into a grumpy old bloke or should we all be a little bit more pro-active in defending a few fundamentals of civilised society?

It connects with another incident which has lodged in my brain for the last 40 odd years. When I was the same age as Coke Tin Colin I can clearly remember sitting on a grassy ledge in the sunshine about 100 feet from the summit of Ben Nevis playing the Rolling Stones on a Philips Cassette player at high volume. An old wrinkly (ie over 50 years old) in shorts came up to me and asked me firmly to turn it off as he hadn't gone all the way up the highest mountain in Britain to listen to "Get off of my Cloud".  I politely complied but probably made some glib teenage riposte under my breathe.

Now the tables have turned and I'm the old wrinkly I'd be the first to remonstrate with anyone playing a radio up Scafell Pike and would look upon them as the height (geddit?) of crassness and stupidity.

I did wonder if living in the countryside of Norfolk for the last few years has put me out of touch with what is and isn't acceptable behaviour in towns and cities in the 21st Century but this morning I came across this pile of asbestos piping which some bastard in a van had calmly dumped in the hedgerow like Colin and his coke tin.


Geoff said...

Fly tippers are bastards.

Coke Tin Colin is just a naughty boy rebel without a cause. Unless he drives his car dangerously - then he's a bastard, too.

Dave said...

If you'd opened his door and deposited one of the dogs in his lap that would have taught him a lesson.

Timorous Beastie said...

I once got into a confrontation with a teenager in Japan when he threw his empty can into the bushes. I picked up the can. He hung his head in shame. But to be fair, I shouted at him in English and his shame probably stemmed from being unable to shout back in anything but Japanese.

I also once chased an old man and deposited the packet he'd just dropped on the street back into his bicycle basket.

People should get involved - it's lame to complain about the state of society, and then stand back and ignore petty misdemeanors. Social taboos are stronger than the threat of legal action, as proven by the fact that the threat of the death penalty doesn't deter crime and by the relative lack of crime in Japan - a society with strict social mores (and, it has to be admitted, the death penalty).

Vicus Scurra said...

Bloody grumpy old men these days are nowhere near as old or grumpy as they were when I was a lad.

Roses said...

No, I would have muttered under my breath. Loudly.

As for the fly tipping. It's a disgrace.

Perhaps as I hurtle towards 40, I'm becoming a grumpy old woman.

Probably used the wrong tense there.

Tim Footman said...

Jagger up Ben Nevis is a grey area, as some like that sort of thing, some don't. Maybe the wrinkly preferred the Grateful Dead.

Litter is more cut and dried; would the can dropper or the fly tipper like it if one of us went round and did a poo on their kitchen floor?

KAZ said...

My mate saw this bloke throw a crisp packet out of his car window.
Quick as a flash he picked it up and threw it back in the car, Unfortunately the bloke wound his window up and trapped Jack's glove which proceeded to drive away with the car.
But you are spot on with your values Rog.
I never did like "Get off of my Cloud" very much anyway.

Richard said...

Yesterday I passed some youths spraying a bycicle seat with something, right in the middle of town. I turned and watched them, they saw me but just walked away. Nobody else bothered, maybe something to do with them all being well over 6'.

An old friend used to tell of something he witnessed on the train in from Tattenham Corner one morning back in the 80s. There was an idiot on the train deliberately playing a ghetto blaster exceedingly loudly. After repeated requests to turn it down, a large skinhead got up, calmly told him he'd been warned, opened the window threw the radio through it and sat down again without saying a word. Bloody litter louts.

Scarlet Blue said...

I have been known to go into Peggy Mitchell mode...

Z said...

Darling, you could never be a grumpy old bloke. You're adorable.

Dave said...

Z's been drinking.

Rog said...

Geoff: BA Stewards are always looking out for Flight Tippers.

Dave: They both came from large litters themselves.

Timorous: I agree. But for a Society with strict social mores it all comes out in their game shows.

Vicus: Nostalgia, eh? Not what it used to be.

Roses: They should make a TV programme about it!

Tim: I'd have gotten away with "Donald where's yer troosers". Colin looked as though he might enjoy your kitchen plan.

Kaz: Jack was lucky it was only his glove! I wasn't a big fan of "cloud" come to think of it - I think I'd recorded a Pick of the Pops and linear editing hadn't been invented.

Richard: A heartwarming story. Pity he didn't throw the idiot ouut as well.

Scarlet: I bet you used to make Pat Mitchell go BALLLISSTTTIIIICCC!!!!

Z: I couldn't possibly comment!

Dave: Sometimes alcohol offers us unique and extraordinary insights that sobriety cannot imagine.