Weird stuff: trashing things

And car petrol caps opened all along Allenfields, Lonkley and Leadgate. What’s going on?

It all sounds like a case (or two) of mental health, to me, rather than anything more insidious, though that’s challenging enough. By now the begonias have been returned to their little beds; the petrol caps have been closed back up, with no fuel siphoned out; a new wheelie bin lid has been ordered and plans laid to clearly mark the bins’ ownership. But it’s all just weird, isn’t it?

Even if I stayed up very late, trying to think of weird and slightly malicious activities to perpetrate on unsuspecting neighbours, I don’t think I could come up with such shenanigans as these. But for some other reason I can’t quite fathom, I’m reminded of the ‘invisible gorilla’ experiment which dealt with people’s inability to see the unexpected while they’re concentrating on something else.

Street artists like to challenge our pre-conceptions as well, to create a double-take, a second look. ‘Is that really what it looks like?’ Banksy’s art shredder certainly took the art world to task on the question of value.

Art in the style of Banksy on a street in Pisa

Yet I don’t really think the current weirdness in this patch is an artistic expression of anything, though it may be a cry for help. And there are probably at least two separate individuals doing their thing. Maybe our missing wheelie bin lid was just an opportunistic chancer replacing their own damaged lid.

On the other hand, I remember a pointed film, Lars and the Real Girl, in which a community in some rural American midwest locale like Minnesota or even Wisconsin dealt with a profoundly disturbed individual who was acting out in a very bizarre way, with great sensitivity and understanding. I never did manage to get my suggestion for this film taken up by the Film Club, but as I recall it was a hymn, really, to collective community support.

So what is it, this strange weirdness of behaviour going on around us that somehow creates an opaque window through which we cannot see? Where’s the gorilla?

1 Comment

  1. I think the Allen Valleys have very little in the way of vandalism comparatively. There are however, one or two careless dog owners and a small number who are prepared to damage or destroy property. Recently someone smashed the display panel off the viewing platform at Deneholme wood and threw it down the slope. But that’s the worst example I’ve seen here by a long way. Your tale of the stream of open petrol caps reminds me of the trail of bottles and glasses from the village square to the village hall last month. I wonder if alcohol is the better explanation for both behaviours.

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