Wednesday, 9 February 2022

A shrinking market. And are we becoming more intolerant?

We’ve been having several seasons in one today. It had rained a good deal overnight, so, even though the sky was mostly blue, I wore my better waterproof to cycle to Uppermill this morning. Just as well as it did rain on my briefly during my return journey. The Donkey Line was extremely wet from all the rain we have had recently as well. Thank heavens for decent mudguards on my bike. 

The market was even more depleted than ever this morning. The slipper-selling man has now disappeared too! What are things coming to. The fruit and veg man told me that the cheese and biscuits lady should be back soon. There has been a death in the family. The remaining stalls were hemmed in by parked cars, which had moved in to take advantage of the space. So it goes. 

Arwa Mahdawi was writing today in the Guardian about unruly passengers on planes. Some airlines in the USA, it seems, have lists of passengers they will no longer accept on flights. Some people suggest combining the lists so that no airline will accept them. Arwa Mahdawi, on the other hand, suggests that difficult passengers should be forced to sit in the seats nearest a noisy child, preferably one playing a recorder throughout the flight.

She describes how she herself had to endure a whole flight’s worth of a child playing the recorder. Not a good experience, I should think. Recently I heard a piece of music specifically written for recorders and played beautifully. I was quite amazed! I seriously thought recorders were invented purely as an instrument of torture to persuade parents to give in to their offspring’s demands. 

During the flight with the squeaky musical instrument nobody got up and wrenched the recorder out of the child’s hand or, indeed, even complained. Arwa Mahdawi comments: “I have a feeling that things might have unfolded rather differently if the recorder incident had taken place more recently: thanks to the pandemic, a lot of people seem to have forgotten how to control themselves when stuck in a small space with strangers. Last year was a record year for air rage: there are normally around 100-150 reports of air rage on US airlines each year but in 2021 there were more than 5,700. And 2022 is off to a pretty belligerent start: at least two flights in January had to turn around because of unruly passenger behaviour.”

I wonder why this has happened. I have no statistical evidence but I get a sort of gut feeling that people fly off the handle more easily, get annoyed by things demanded of them and are less tolerant of the nuisance factor. This isn’t just groups haranguing politicians in the street or blocking the streets with lorries like in Ottawa, but stomping out of a shop in a huff if they have to wait too long, or being rude and grumpy with shop assistants,  who are only doing their job, after all. Can the pandemic really be blamed for this or is it our increased dependence on social media to set rules for behaviour?

I also read that Prince Charles is going to unveil the statue of a 13th century Jewish businesswoman on Jewry Street in Winchester. “The story of Licoricia, who was murdered in her home 13 years before all Jews in England were expelled on the orders of Edward I, “shines a light on the nature of the medieval Jewish community”, said Ephraim Mirvis, the chief rabbi.

The lifesize bronze of Licoricia with her son Asher is being installed on Jewry Street in Winchester, the ancient city where she spent much of her life. 

The ceremony is the culmination of a five-year campaign to raise funds for a monument intended “to act as an inspiration to women of today and also promote tolerance and understanding in our society”.”

There it is again, that need for tolerance and understanding. 

Life goes on. Stay safe and well, everyone! 

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