Had an interesting evening last night, an evening with the highest of highs and a bit of a low.
The high point is that I have a shiny 'new' washing machine/dryer which my brother and I somehow managed to drag, heave and kick to the top floor of our stairwell and into my flat. It was a monumental achievement, in many ways our Everest. We basically got through it with sheer belief and illogical optimism. The fact that I got it for an absolute steal off the best website in the world (Gumtree) is an added bonus.
But now for the low. This epic journey, a distance of around 100 metres overall, which took us an hour and a half, included many occasions where Derek and I simply lay down, caked in sweat panting away. On two separate occasions, a fully grown man walked past us up to his flat, showing zero interest in the sight before him.
Now granted, the sight of two breathless, dishevelled brothers with a faintly desperate look in their eyes wasn't the best advert for how enjoyable lifting a washing machine up some stairs can be but really, is it too much to ask of people to stop and help your neighbours out when they are clearly struggling?
It was a little bit depressing really. And the worst part is, I think most people in that situation would actually want to help but for some reason are too scared to say anything. It reminds me of a time I was walking down Princes St, typically lost in one of many daydreams I've had in my time when I heard a commotion up ahead. I don't know how long she'd been at it but a fairly scrawny girl was sitting on top of a similarly skinny girl and beating her about the head. This was a busy Friday night, around 8pm, and it took me 10 seconds to run up and pull the top girl off the unlucky bottom one.
Many people had walked by and it's inconceivable that they all happened to miss what was going on. Ok, had it been two big bruisers slugging it out then it makes sense to leave them to it, the news is all too commonly filled with the sad death of a have a go hero.
But a mere skelf of a girl beating up another one on a busy street shouln't last seconds before someone gets involved.
The theory of "it's easier not to" is too deeply engrained in our psyche and I honestly belive that had it been a Spanish or Polish guy that had walked up my stairs last night, they'd have laughed, rolled their sleeves up and got stuck in to help. And I doubt you get too many teenage girl fights in the Piazza Navona or Champs Elysee either before someone steps in.
Maybe Thatcher was right all along about the British public, there is no such thing as society after all.