“Cattle trucks” and bureaucracy

The rail network here in London seems to have been totally incapable of dealing with the moderately heavy rain of the last few days.  I’m not sure what they were expecting in a temperate climate in October…

Cancellations and delays inevitably mean that when a train does arrive it’s usually already packed, and even more people try to squeeze on.  This is where the expression "cattle trucks" comes in.  It’s commonly used in the media when deriding the crowded state of the nation’s trains.  I did just stop and think when I boarded an extremely crowded train about a time when almost an entire population in Europe was forced against their will onto real cattle trucks on what, for many, would be the last journey they would ever make.  It does rather make a mockery of our petty grumbles at overcrowded commuter trains.

So often the choices we make in life convert to outcomes about which we wish to grumble.  Take the commuter train again.  People want to work in central London, so that they are paid more money, yet they don’t want to live in the centre of the city as it’s polluted, crowded, there aren’t nice parks, schools etc, so they want to live in smart suburbia.  Result: crowded roads and rail networks of people commuting.

Another thing that comes in for a lot of flack is the level of bureaucracy in modern society.  Recently buying a flat was an incredibly long, laborious process with countless forms to fill in for the purchase alone.  Don’t forget the life insurance, home and contents insurance, MPPI, gas, electricity, water, council tax and numerous other hoops to jump through and soon enough you’re drowning under the weight of the paperwork.  But again, this comes as a direct consequence of wanting to own a property, wanting to know you’re covered by your insurance if something goes wrong, wanting heating and lighting and water etc.

I think we forget at our peril how lucky and privileged we are in the West and we forget it most of all when we grumble about things which are essentially consequences of our own good fortune.  I want to grumble less!

2 thoughts on ““Cattle trucks” and bureaucracy

  1. We in the West are indeed very lucky – we have the freedom to make life choices. I agree with you – so much of what we grumble about is petty in the global scheme of things!

    I’ve found the trick with the trains (when they’re full or cancelled/delayed) is to remember that most of the time they’re absolutely fine and we can get into the office fairly quickly and easily. (Also to believe it’s better not to be adding directly to the pollution levels in the centre of London or blocking up the roads.)

  2. This is so true–we in the West are privileged/spoiled beyond measure, and we have so much to be grateful for.

    Then, out of that gratitude, my personal prayer is to grumble less and do more to help others in real ways–they may be small, but that’s another one of our failings in the West–everything has to be BIG.

    No, it doesn’t–little gestures/little actions make a difference, especially if done out of love, rather than guilt.

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