We live in a world where we have plenty to be worried about – rising costs, stagnating wages, spiralling population growth, intense environmental pressures and the spectre of nuclear war.
If we thought about these very real threats for too long, it is likely that we would stay at home and sit in our pants all day, while listening to The Smiths.
But of course the reality is that most of us don’t spend too long fretting about melting ice caps or that we have the Chuckle Brothers in power in Washington and Pyongyang, both with their fingers hovering over the big red button.
This is largely due to our own lives being ridiculously busy and the fact that, quite frankly, society is far more selfish than it was, say, 50 or 60 years ago.
Today it is not unusual for people not to know the names of their neighbours, such are the pressures of ‘flexible’ hours and commuting, both of which were alien concepts when our grandparents were in work.
Nowadays, in the age of instant gratification, we really do sweat the small stuff – things which really shouldn’t trouble sensible grown-ups. A prime example of this is parking, particularly parking outside one’s home, something which drives millions of us up the wall.
A perfect illustration of this came last week when paramedics attending an emergency call in Birmingham were stunned to find a note stuck to the windscreen of their ambulance, rebuking them for having the temerity to park over a driveway while attempting to save the life of someone living in a neighbouring property.
The note, which read: ‘You may be saving lives, but don’t park your van in a stupid place and block my drive’, prompted outrage both from the paramedics involved and thousands of people with whom it was shared with online.
To add further context to this ridiculous missive, it has since been revealed that the patient at the centre of it all has since died, making this a story of our time.
We don’t know why the person who left the note on the ambulance was in such a hurry but, unless they were rushing off to take part in the Brexit negotiations, then surely they could have waited, especially when paramedics say they were only there for 30 minutes.
That somebody cannot wait half an hour while medics do arguably the most important job imaginable is the saddest indictment of 21st century life but shouldn’t really come as a surprise to any of us who have ever had a confrontation about parking in their street.
For many, parking outside your house is regarded as a basic human right and woe betide anybody who contravenes that ‘right’. I know many normally sensible people who tend to become unhinged should somebody park outside their home without prior agreement.
Of course, unless you live in a controlled zone, then you don’t really have a leg to stand on if somebody chooses to legally park their car, van or lorry on the road outside your house because we all pay our road tax, an argument I have always used whenever I have been tackled over my parking.
Yes, the paramedics did park over a driveway, but they had little option and were in a hurry. This is a story which should make all of us – myself included – realise that there are far more important things to worry about.