February 18, 2005

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Edinburgh on a sunny day, there are few places I would rather be. On this particular sunny day, I was taking a bus along Prince's Street just before lunch. I was looking out of the window and across the road to the shops on the other side, watching the little people scurrying in and out and around and lazily enjoying the warm spot on my seat. We trundled along slowly past traffic lights and bus stops, you never really get much past 15mph on this road.

So we were going quite slowly when we past the people clustered in a group crouching in the middle of the road on the other side. I could see a shape covered in a blanket and found myself looking harder to try and see what was happening. I could see a pair of legs stick out, capped with a pair of high heeled boots. I assumed it was a woman and looked away, my curiosity fulfilled.

As we pulled up to the next lights, I could hear the soft sound of sirens coming in from a distance, gradually getting louder and louder. I thought how they would be for the accident I had just seen, and guessed it must have happened sooner than I'd thought. And I wondered why I didn't feel more. We never do though, do we? The cars will all slow down to watch the crash, but who will even remember it happened unless they recall how they were late home that day?

I found myself wondering who the woman was, whether she had finished her shopping and was on her way home, or maybe if she had only just started. I'll probably never even know her name, after all, it won't be in the papers tomorrow. The bus carried on, and people went about their daily lives, but then, what else can we do? It seems harsh and callous to feel nothing, to not be moved, but how can we care when we don't know who we are caring for?

But I guess that's just the way life is, we meander along in our own little worlds, occasionally crossing over or intermingling with the little worlds of others. Some times they affect us, sometimes they don't. This time I was affected enough to write. It was going to be a short story, but turned into more of a thought for the day, dramatisation just seemed inappropriate.

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