Public Displays

by Steve

Birthday decorations at stationTook a morning stroll and came across quite the display at the entrance to my local railway station.

There were posters and bunting and photos dotted around the lead up to the platform, wishing someone a happy birthday. It is pretty rubbish when you have to work on your birthday, but I suspect this brightened their day up a little bit. Although all the photos, including those from their school days, probably made for a slightly embarrassing wait for the train to pull in. I guess that was part of the plan too.

'Neighbourhood Watch' notice

The birthday display wasn’t to everyone’s liking though.

I’m pretty sure the birthday greetings had gone up overnight, yet the response had been swift. I’m not convinced the note was from the real Neighbourhood Watch scheme, and I’m not sure I fully understand their statement, but I do sort of admire anyone willing to put something like that up.

Maybe they are just spoiling a little fun, or maybe they just feel really passionate about their community. They might worry that this leads to all sorts of notices cluttering up the place. They might just not like birthdays. They almost certainly failed to see the irony in complaining about the posting of notes by posting a note.

However, this sort of public discourse is great. It is too easy to just fall back on social media Likes for someone’s birthday. It takes organisation and effort to put together a display for someone’s walk to the station. And it is so easy to post vague, passive aggressive statements on the internet, or just mutter to yourself, but to respond publicly takes the same organisation and effort.

I like this sort of conversation. I might pop by later to see if anyone has responded to the ‘Neighbourhood Watch’ note.

Birthday decorations outside station