Fair warning, rant incoming.
Almost every day for the past month whenever I’ve got to a pelican crossing I’ve noticed something unsettling. Let me set the scene. People will be patiently standing beside the road waiting to cross, so far so normal. As I walk towards them I think “blimey, these lights are taking a long time to change” and secretly congratulate myself at getting the timing right, thinking in my naivety that they’ll be primed for crossing when I arrive. As I start to get closer I panic, maybe they’ll change before I get there and I’ll be subjected to the humiliating goon-wait, cast asunder in the pre-cross purgatory of the roadside. Or worse maybe the lights are broken? Will I need to make a mad dash through traffic just to reach the other side? Are these people so crippled with fear at the prospect they’ve decided to make their home here, road adjacent? As I reach the crossing my body tensed, ready for the imminent tussle with sweet lady death. However my fellow car duellists are worryingly calm. I being to question why these people seem so unfazed by the danger.
Have I unwittingly stumbled across a collection of car spotters, content to stand and watch as the Vauxhall’s roll by? No, surely no. Can it be? No, it can’t. They’ve just not pressed the ****ing button. All these people lined up on either side of the road and not a single one of them have pressed the fucking button. Now, it takes a good few minutes from me hoving into view to actually reaching this containment zone for the terminally lazy. Not one of these roadside sloths has extended a finger to ease their own passing. The mind boggles.
I’d be mollified if maybe they were unaware of the system, not everywhere has buttons, but it has happened far too often to be merely ignorance. At least one of these ‘people’ must know that’s how the road is crossed. If not for my presence, the road-adjacent messiah that I am, would they have simply waited out their existence, in a forlorn hope that a chosen one with knowledge of the in-out mechanic would come? No. They were just plain lazy. They thought someone else would do it. They were right of course, but that doesn’t mean they were right. The unwillingness of people to do something that will benefit themselves as much as others has led me to one simple conclusion. It’s not one I’ve come to lightly. With great sorrow, I have the sorry task to inform you that the human race is doomed.
It’s over, there’s no point denying it. We’re Donezel Washingdone. Edgar Allen No way in hell we’re lasting. Boris the earth is Goneson. We should just sit down on the floor and wait for our impending end. Come on, sit down. Are you sitting yet? Who cares? Last orders have been called, but we missed them because we were too busy voting in demagogues just to have something to talk about.The end is so very, very nigh.
“But Fin!” I hear you cry “Don’t be such a pessimist, someone there’s still hope?”
Here we go.
“We can change things, we’ve still got a chance”
“Not even a little chance?”
“There must be someth..”
Now, you might be thinking the sudden bout of “OH FUCK WE’RE ALL DOOMED” is a bit of an overreaction to the stranger’s inability to push a button. I’ll concede it is a bit of a leap from that to unedifying, unassailable doom. I’d forgive you for thinking me a dramatic, woe-infused pessimist. Asides from the impending nuclear destruction of the world, drug-resistant bacteria, increasingly powerful natural disasters, the overfishing of the oceans, the melting ice caps, the overpopulation of the earth, the draining of natural resources without replenishment, the food shortage we’re facing and the general sense fear and dread pervading our existence there really is nothing much threatening our existence. There’s nothing we, as a species, can’t deal with.
However, it’s symptomatic of what will be our ultimate undoing, apathy. The feeling that someone else will do it is pervasive and corrupting. If you look anywhere in our society it’s there, rearing it’s normal, disinterested head. Or at least it would be, but someone else will rear theirs instead.
I’m just as guilty as anyone else –not with regards to pushing buttons, I ALWAYS press it. I don’t have any answer to it. Anything I do has such an intangible effect on wider society. In part, its due to our self-imposed isolation. We’re part of a fantastically big world, to have any profound effect is almost impossible for an individual. As our individuality and uniqueness is touted every day it’s impossible not to succumb to this way of thought. We fear our inability to affect wider change, and so we don’t even try. If everyone truly did their part we could save the world. But we won’t, if everyone does their part, why would I have to do mine?
And so they’ll wait. Standing by the roadside in the rain, in the snow, in the falling radioactive ash. Waiting for someone else to push the button so that they can get to safety.
Here’s hoping that we’ll be wiped out by an asteroid instead. At least then it won’t be our fault. Hopefully it’ll be someone else’s.
Photo credit – Ian Burt