An unemployed man and an employed man had an argument in front of me today as I walked past Colston Hall. The employed man was riding his bike on the pavement and his ample girth combined with bulging panniers resulted in him presenting a fairly wide load to oncoming pedestrians. The unemployed man, accompanied by a fellow jobseeker, was expressing concern that his dog was at risk of getting squashed issued a bitter complaint to this effect. Whilst I don’t wish to cast aspersions on their respective characters, it was noticeable that neither man had considered their argument or had invested them time in intellectually engaged with their own viewpoint, let alone that of their newly met acquaintance. Using short sentences liberally scattered with poor grammar and expletives the situation was not improved.
It was eventually resolved when the two men were sufficiently far apart that sustaining argument had become near impossible – you see, neither party stopped perambulating in their opposing directions. The employed man, now busy navigating a tricky sloping pavement on his overladen two-wheeled chariot gave up speaking altogether, whilst the parting shot of the unemployed man summed things up rather nicely… ‘go to work, mate; you’re an idiot.’ As I continued winding my way to work it left me pondering whether the employed man was, in the opinion of the unemployed man at least, an idiot for riding on the pavement or simply for going to work. Now I’m in work, just like I am most days of my life and have been for over twenty years, I’m starting to think it’s the latter, and he may have been right.