A couple of weeks ago I was working a shift in the City when news filtered through that there was a bomb threat somewhere in London.
Somewhere, and at some time. That was the info that was given by ‘the authorities’. Because of the highly vague nature of the threat, Londoners were being asked to be ‘vigilant’ and ‘aware of their surroundings’.
The very fact that people were being given this seminal advice struck me as odd. Surely, in the face of this potentially catastrophic news, people would be extra vigilant, no questions asked? Surely people in London are pretty vigilant anyway, given the city’s nature of a target for terrorism? They can’t be that apathetic, can they?
Apparently they are. Well, some of them. The people in my office either ignored the news, or lamented the likely extra commuting time, but otherwise didn’t give it a second thought. I, meanwhile, am frantically checking the news and (typicially) mulling over the worst-case scenario and wondering why people aren’t DOING ANYTHING. This is a bomb we’re talking about! Shouldn’t we go to a bunker or something?
Well obviously not. I was, of course, being ridiculous. Talking to a friend who’s long since earned his stripes as a Londoner simply reinforced the idea that constantly worrying about that sort of thing weakens both the city and, I suspect, an individual’s mental wellbeing. That it’s not so much a case of ‘apathy’ but a kind of self-preservation.
Of course, this I already knew, but on the day it was nonetheless a bit of a shock to see people so complacent in the face of it all.