Tuesday, 10 March 2015
Wheelie Bags - A Rant
A new scourge is blighting London. Wheelie bags. They turn the pavements into chariot races as humble pedestrians are forced to dodge their uncertain parabolas across the paving stones.
The first creative piece I ever wrote, back in the early 1980s, contrasted the young mothers pushing prams in front of them across the pavements, with the old people dragging their wheeled shopping bags behind them. My image was that these were the only two types of pedestrian left in the inner city abandoned by everyone else in search of jobs. But the wheelie handlers of today are all thrusting young business types. Now were this around a London airport, one could understand their need for mobile light luggage for a hop over to Madrid or Geneva. But I'm talking about London Bridge, a confluence of workers and tourists and a teeming hive of foot traffic. Wrangled and boxed in, in the face of the jabbing wheeled scourges.
I don't believe there is anything in these sturdy sided bags other than a lunchtime banana, a book of Sudoku for the train ride home and a phone charger. What executive these days needs papers? Everything is an email attachment and they all have smartphones. No, these pavement hogs wield their wheeled chargers for other purposes.
When you walk in the wake of one of these, you are likely to have contact at some point. Be it the vagaries of London's sunken paving stones, the lack of concentration on steering in favour of a face planted at their phone's screen, the prancing and bucking wheelie bag does not trace a path straight and true. It lurches and snaps at your shins.
Now this inevitably brings about what I believe is a desired state of affairs for the pavement pilots; the bag establishes an exclusion zone around them. It carves out a personal inviolable space in which trespassers take their lives in their hands for impinging/infringing. Now this is bad enough on the roadworked bedeviiled streets of SE1. It's worse when it's on the narrow concourse of London Bridge station (only last week castigated by the Mayor of London for its delay and danger in getting commuters safely through the ticket barriers through overcrowding). And it's lethal when these lazy bastards wheel their cases right up to the start of the escalators at the station before pulling them off their wheels and heaving them on to be supported by the moving stairs, again establishing a no-go zone around them. Have all these people's arm muscles atrophied to such a point they have to have the weight of their cases borne by anything but themselves?
If you're under 45 years old and you have a bag on wheels, just pick it up by the handles and carry the goddamned thing in crowded areas. And stop looking at your phones too.