By Nick Stanley
The middle-class malaise. The paralysis of privilege.
I committed my first crime on Sunday night. Not a big one, but a crime nonetheless.
I was involved in the fly posting of a poster near the Russian Embassy. And it’s fair to say I really, really didn’t want to.
The plan was to head up to Notting Hill, where the embassy is, at 6AM on Saturday morning. But by the time we got there the area was already awake with armed guards, pedestrians and builders. So, sensibly, we aborted mission and postponed it.
Come Sunday night, we’re about to leave for round 2 when we realise the trains aren’t running from my local station.
‘Yesss’ I think. Perfect. We can’t to do it and it’s not my fault. I’m blameless.
But we’d committed to doing it and my literal partner in crime told me we were going. No matter how much I bleated and pleaded tiredness.
He convinced me, at 10PM on a Sunday, to jog to the nearest functioning station (3 miles away) hidden under cap and balaclava. I resisted and resisted but eventually caved.
And I’m so glad I did.
Up until then I’d been very happy to chat the big game. Talk about making stuff happen. But as soon as it came down to it I’d find an excuse not to go through with it, whatever it was.
‘All fart and no poo’, as my mate eloquently put it.
This inertia was born out of being in comfortable cruise control. Everything was fine so why change it?
It’s a behaviour and a mind set that I’ve nurtured over 24 years. Life’s fundamentally quite pleasant. I feel no anger at anything, I don’t see social injustice and nor have I experienced it.
I was, therefore, perfectly happy to bury my head and float around middle class southwest London. Inconsequential.
But now I’m working with someone driven by anger, who sees injustice in everything and has the drive do something about it. It’s rubbing off. Just a bit.
It’s shaken me out of my middle-class malaise to the extent that, heaven forbid, I ignored my parents’ warnings…
‘Think about the damage you could do to your credit score if you were nicked for vandalism’ …and went and did it anyway.
The act itself is a drop in the ocean, but for me it’s been a bit of a sea change. For once I actually did something.