Monday, February 17, 2020

The Idea Of Cleanliness

The train chugged on full pace, the wind rattling the loosely fitted window panes, and I sat quietly with a Wodehouse in my hand. The loud, brash noise of the rail and its travellers faded away into a subtle, muffled background while I was preoccupied with Jeeves. Suddenly, I was jolted back to reality when someone placed a hand on my shoulder. I looked up to see a mother, and a kid, a girl about six years old, standing close to me and saying something.

"Excuse me, I was asking you if you would mind shifting seats with me? My daughter, here, wants to have a window seat. I sit right here on the aisle, diagonal to you. If you don't mind, could you let her sit for a while?" the mother asked, smiling pleadingly. The girl smiled sweetly as I shifted my gaze from the mother to her. I smiled back and got up to shift.

In my new seat, I could see much more of the train. So I closed the book, and sat looking around, the noise of the passengers and the rail becoming more obvious to me. I turned my eyes back to the mother and the girl. The girl clutched a packet of biscuits, and threw down the plastic wrapper on the floor of the train after her last bite.

"How many times have I told you that you cannot litter! Pick it up, now!" came the stern voice of her mother immediately. I allowed myself a smile, after all humans have improved, I thought.

The girl picked up the wrapper. Her mother took it and, without two thoughts, disposed it off the train window, as the wind carried it miles away.

The smile of hope on my face morphed into a smirk of disbelief.

Writing adapted from the observant tweet:

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