Sunday 31 January 2016

#139 Exposure

Yesterday evening, I was stood at Kemsing station, waiting for a delayed train to go visit my dad. It was about five degrees and some of the other travellers had decided they'd rather wait in the cafe than outside. I contemplated doing the same. In fact, I walked into the cafe and took a look at their wares. 

I felt guilty doing that. Had I thought more about my needs before entering the cafe, I might have been able to save the employee the trouble of wondering, as I suspect she might have, whether or not I realistically intended to buy something. I didn't. I returned to the platform.

It's not that I was completely uncomfortable using the warmth of the cafe despite not buying anything. Rather, I couldn't be bothered to weigh up the ethics of the situation. It was easier just to wait outside. After all, it was a typical English winter, not an ice age. Waiting for a train for fifteen minutes at a temperature above zero was hardly going to do me any harm. There were times when it seemed our house wasn't all that much warmer.

I am fascinated by the extent to which adults can become defensively accustomed to their living situations. I noticed it recently when I was tasked with helping to organise a large conference. I was got to observe the reactions of my colleagues when told that some of the accommodation had shared bathrooms.

The scenarios that my workmates were able to imagine and vocalise in response to the message were quite thought-provoking. By their thirties and forties, for many people, it's been a while since they shared any kind of living quarters with someone other than their immediate family.

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