On my walk from the train station in Belfast to my place of work this morning, I was almost knocked over by a cyclist. The pavement is marked to create a bike lane, but in his haste to get somewhere, Lycraman overtook a more leisurely pedaller, veering towards me. No sign of apology as he brushed past.
I muttered something unpleasant under my breath.
On reflection, this one incident appeared symptomatic of today’s lifestyle. Everything seems to be operating at a significant pace, with too many people living within their own bubble, not taking time for others.
Within minutes of the bike incident, I encountered more examples of this competition for space and time.
Waiting to use a Pelican crossing, two cars continued through after the traffic lights turned red, saving them a few seconds, no doubt.
Further along the same stretch of road, five lanes merge. Cars and vans jostled for position, squeezing close to the bumper of the vehicle ahead preventing others from changing lanes. This, of course, brings a convoy of motorists to a standstill as the stranded driver is forced to stop until a kindly soul waves him in, a chorus of blaring horns still ringing in his ears.
Is it really worth the stress, anxiety and anger first thing in the morning?
If being considerate to others takes up a few seconds of your day, that’s a small cost for the way it will make you feel. Help someone out and I guarantee you will get a pleasant acknowledgement back: a wave or a smile. Much better than a scowl, a waved fist, a blared horn or strange hand gesture.
How would you prefer to start your day?
It’s not the winning that matters, it’s the taking part.