As life cycles by it is easy to become complacent, ignoring the cogs behind scenes that turn the world around us. We move seamlessly through this space. Focussed on our own path.
She sits daydreaming, beams of light reflect the fallen rain on the pavement. From the top deck, lanes of people pass each other by outside, huddled under umbrellas, hoods and collars up.
The seats are full with a chorus of talking, laughing and shared silence. The quiet humming beat of a neighbours’ headphones is our baseline.
The front window is alive with the the bus behind, boots framing the front row, knees against her chest. Mascara has smudged, shadowing her eyes.
An ordinary figure sat on the opposite side of the aisle takes a black plastic bag out of his rucksack.
Mr ordinary is the protagonist in the play of people in the window. His ordinariness suits her daydream and he sits in the perfect seat for her absent mind to wander.
What happens next sets off an adventure of questions.
From Mr Ordinary’s black plastic bag, he pulls out an egg. Perfectly formed embryonic fluid cased in a hard shell. The layer, miles away, could never have imagined the journey said egg would embark on the day it was laid into the world.
He begins to pick away at the shell, apparently hard boiled, casting the fragments aside, carelessly, thoughtlessly, until collected by his feet is a pile of egg shell jigsaw pieces.
Then, the naked egg, white and vulnerable, is demolished. He brushes his hands together, a distorted applause of his on board snack. Crumbs fall away from his mouth as his tongue churns inside to leave no egg behind.
Her once absent mind is incredulous at the event she has just witnessed, a wilderness of wonderings…
Was the egg prepared that morning, boiled in bubbling water as part of an extensive plan to consume on his bus time commute? Was it carried with him all day? Savoured until that perfect moment.
To wonder of the journey the egg has taken. Was it bred in the cold harsh realities of a battery farmed world? Or did it travel from nest to box to kitchen counter, to black bag to bus floor? Where would the pieces go next? Would they lie abandoned and adrift, kicked from one corner of the bus to the other? Or escape on the sole of a shoe only to face the concrete outside. Or would they be brushed up in a collection pan of bus floor dust, crisp packets, tickets and bottle caps? Would they begin to decompose in a landfill site? the mythical resting point of the world of waste.
Then, the audacity sinks in. How could this man leave behind such destruction? Who would carry this crazy snack around all day, only to dispose of the carnage on the floor? How could he be so arrogant to assume that someone else would eventually come along after him and pick up the pieces he has left behind.
But then again, who can say they are truly guilt free? Haven’t we all consumed without thought for the destruction we leave behind?
With another casual movement, he puts his hand back into the black plastic bag and pulls out a second hard boiled egg…
Be better than the ordinary man. Put your egg pieces back in the bag and deal with it yourself.
Don’t make it someone else’s job to clean up your mess.
And while we’re here, lets look after people better. Those people who come after us, cleaning up the spaces we share. Let’s make sure they are paid well enough to enjoy their lives, despite having to deal with the pieces we leave behind.
Let’s give them the respect they deserve, for they are the heroes that keep our aisles egg shell free.