Get off my lawn!
For as long as there have been memories, there has been nostalgia. There’s something about people that makes them look back at the past with the unrealistic notion that people were politer, society was friendlier and common courtesy was a lot more common.
Emigration fuels nostalgia
To emigrate is to duplicate these feelings. Not only was the past a better place, but so was the old country – in all the ways that count, in any case.
When I moved to Denmark from London, it was 2008 and in a lot of ways politeness back home was already on the downturn. My favourite memory of riding the tube was the time a banker sighed theatrically at me when I told him that the doors he was standing next to were not going to open, as if it were my fault.
I honestly didn’t think a society could get any ruder, but I was surprised. These days I have got used to Danish levels of rudeness. People are selfish. People do whatever they want, even if it inconveniences or hurts others. This is the same the world over.
It’s a Knockout for dogs
Recently, I got a puppy and the selfishness of others has been thrown into sharp focus. If you leave your dog’s crap on the pavement, my puppy will try to eat it. If you drop litter, my puppy will try to eat it and I will have to spend five minutes trying to get ‘DROP’ to work by the side of the road.
You just do not see how much rubbish is strewn around the streets of Denmark until you have a three-month-old creature trying to investigate it orally. Environmentally friendly, my foot. It’s like a cross between Crufts and It’s a Knockout on walks.
No cheer at New Year
New Year was an ordeal. Despite there being rules about when fireworks can be used, people used them whenever they wanted. Despite fireworks being a waste of money if you set them off during the day, people fired them before sunset. Then, after it got dark, there were fireworks for seven solid hours with no respite for scared animals, even after midnight. The fireworks continued until 2am.
Don’t get me wrong; I don’t want to spoil anyone else’s fun. But why don’t they have a few piddling rockets for the kids at dinner time and leave the big explosions to the experts at organised displays at midnight. (Why don’t they even have organised displays?)
And now, weeks after the event, I have to walk my dog briskly past the spent firework cardboard tubes and boxes. Who are these people who feel entitled to trash their own community?
The good guy’s the pariah
What distresses me is how much I feel like an old codger yelling to the kids to get off my lawn. It’s not like there was no litter when I was growing up; it’s not like people were all that polite back home.
Maybe it is not nostalgia at all. Maybe it is a lack of patience with humanity. It really does not take a lot to be considerate or thoughtful, and yet, it’s remarkable when you do see it.