On observations on the weirdness of human behaviour: the spitting street cleaner

You can call me old fashioned, you are probably right, age is starting to take its toll, but I saw something yesterday that got me thinking…

I was in Belgrave Square, the embassy capital of the British capital where countries like Germany, Austria, Turkey, Syria, Norway, Brunei, Portugal, Ghana, Spain, Belgium, Serbia and many more have made their or their ambassador’s home in London. It is true that Westminster keeps an eye on the place and perhaps because of special care, perhaps because fewer residents and businesses, the place is kept nice and tidy.

It really is the UN of London, every creed, religion, continent and race is represented in the square.

But going back to the odd behaviour of the day, I was just on the northwest corner ruminating my own thought when I saw a peculiar sight (at least for me): a team of three street cleaners fully equipped and uniformed with trolley and broom crossing a pedestrian way. It looked like a working class version of the famous Beatles Abbey Road cover.

The first fella, white British working class, leading the troop; the second, what looked like Caribbean to my untrained eyes, followed suit; and the third one, from Asian origin looked like trying to catch up. I started thinking about how much is London the capital of the world when to my surprise, the last man spat on the footpath as if it were the most natural thing to do.

Don’t get me wrong, I have been around and I know that some cultures don’t have much of an issue with public display of bodily functions, and London being the cultural boiling pot that it is, gives many, many daily opportunities to judge for yourself, but what really stroke me was that a street sweeper would spit on the floor, while “on duty” so to speak.

That looked irrational. That look wrong. That was like a bus driver not stopping to get commuters in/out of the bus (we’ve all been there) or a chef picking his nose while preparing a £30 risotto. Wrong.

I kept walking down but the thought haunted me for a while. Who will be cleaning his “mess”? Will he have to do it himself? Will he have to clean other cleaners’ mess? How does his home look like? What kind of training, if at all, do street cleaners receive? Had one of his supervisors seen him, would had he been dismissed? told off? I respect every person of every walk of live, but, should I respect those who act like that? Should I have told him off? Does he do the same thing in front of his children? Wife? In front of his in-laws?

I don’t understand.



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