I was in England, walking a little distance behind a large young woman with a pushchair. Her hair was slicked back into a fiercely tight ponytail; her leggings struggled to contain her wobbling limbs. I could see her rummaging in a plastic bag hanging from the handle, and before you could say ‘chav alert’ she had pulled out an empty beer can, and without looking around to check who might be watching, tossed it casually onto the grass verge next to the path. Not content with that, she then extracted a plastic bottle and flicked it into the hedge before waddling on. Her demeanour gave the impression that this was normal behaviour for her, and who gives a brass monkey if anyone doesn’t like it.

I was too far back to rush up and confront her, and in any case she was approximately twice my size so I didn’t fancy my chances. But I did tut loudly, which is the British thing to do in these situations, and not in any way diminished by her being out of earshot.

My anger at the idiocy and inconsiderate nature of this woman later prompted me to wonder about why some people are inherently selfish and have no consideration at all for others.  For example, I have had neighbours in an apartment block who were once leaving for a holiday very early on a Sunday morning. Most people would have tip-toed around trying not to make too much noise, but these people were shouting to each other, slamming doors and making no effort at all to be quiet even though it was 5:00am and all their neighbours would quite obviously be asleep. These people were either a) so stupid that they had no idea that their actions were waking everybody up or b) they just didn’t care. There can be no other options and yet whichever one you choose the noisy neighbours are painting themselves as self-centred idiots and stoking up the anger of people they ought to be wanting to get along with. Do they not realise that? On reflection, it is quite possible that they are stupid AND selfish – the two often go together.

After a few moments’ thought I quickly realised that it would take more than a few moments’ thought to solve this. There are so many reasons for selfish behaviour that if you are looking for swift answers and easily solved root causes you have about as much chance as if you were trying to get every politician to harmoniously agree on Brexit. So I will sum it up in a sentence that just trips off the tongue (and lands in a heap on the floor): all things considered, I do think that people should give considerable consideration to being more considerate.  Thank you.

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