I hesitated before asking GreatSheElephant to be my Guest because she does quite a lot of whingeing on her own blog, entitled, er, The Great She Elephant, and I thought it might be boring for her to come and kvetch on mine, but she said that being grumpy was one of her greatest pleasures in life - that and speed-dating (at least I think that's what she said; I may be wrong). Apart from living in overcrowded London and being freelance and loving pussycats, what she and I have in common is that we feel murderous on a regular basis. I was nodding furiously when I read her Slap. I bet you will too. Thanks, Jane!
I’m at Leicester Square tube station, waiting for a female friend, when I see him. He has just passed through the Piccadilly Line barriers and he seems to be walking straight towards me. He’s handsome in a debonair, terribly English sort of way. No, let’s make that gorgeous. I can’t stop staring. Our eyes lock. Casually he reaches into a pocket as he nears me, brings out a piece of paper…
And as he walks past, he screws it up and throws it on the floor. “Pig,” I mutter.
In the novels of Carl Hiaasen baroquely awful things happen to people who litter, mostly at the hands of the deranged, bath cap wearing, heroic ex governor of Florida. In fact, for Hiaasen, littering is a signifier of a weak or often downright bad moral character and I can’t help feeling that he’s right.
So, to the business man on the Tube sitting opposite me who takes an orange from his briefcase, peels it, eats it and carefully leaves the peel on the seat next to him, I say, “Death by alligator is what you deserve.” If the orange complete is clean enough to put in his briefcase, why isn’t the peel?
Here, I must make a disclosure. I leave newspapers on trains when I’ve finished reading them. And I love to find newspapers on trains that other people have left for me to read. A copy of Vogue or Harpers would be nice occasionally too, maybe a good book. But not orange peel, water bottles, juice cartons, burger wrappers, salad containers and stinking, half eaten packets of chips, still smeared with ketchup.
Littering shows a complete disregard for others, a lack of consideration for others who share your environment. Litter isn’t just physical rubbish – it can be noise leaking from headphones, overly loud (and never interesting) conversations, the smell emanating from unwashed, undeodorised armpits during rush hour.
London may be one of the largest cities in the world but at the same time, it’s a small, crowded place and we all have to live here. Don’t take up more than your fair share of space and pick up after yourself.
Or my alligator will get you.