Every morning I get the train to work, and every morning sit in more-or-less the same place within it. As such, I regularly sit on a table opposite to the same harassed looking chap whom I assume has come from London and I’m not entirely sure if his suit means he’s on his way to or from work.
There’s something about him that rubs me up the wrong way, but its probably my intolerance as much as anything. As time has gone on, though, I’ve come to notice that he leaves his litter on the table every day. While I take my newspaper with me as I leave, his little Pret-A-Manger bag is always left in the window for somebody to clean up at the terminus, which is where we alight.
That has gnawed away at me for some time and last week, I decided to do something about it. I toyed with the idea of writing the words ‘BINS EXIST’ on a piece of paper and holding it in front of him as he went to get off the train but settled with first, standing behind him singing the words ‘Bins exist’ under my breath to the tune of ‘Girls on Film’ by Duran Duran. That was an unsuccessful approach, though, and he left his bag on the table the next day, too.
The next time I saw him was Thursday, and I waited for him to get up and leave his seat for the door, before picking up his bag, making a point of excusing him out of the way to put it in the bin, and then proceeded to watch his face redden rapidly as if he were Violet Beauregarde, shamed that a scruffy oik had made him look silly in public.
Today, then, I scored a victory, as he packed up his stuff – as normal – and made to get off the train. Today, however, he took the bag with him, and put it in the bin himself before we alighted. It was quite glorious.
“We’re living in a society”, as George Costanza might say. We are, and people are happy to be part of it, even if they might need a nudge in the right direction from time to time.