It started at 9am. My flight arrived in Sydney, and my laptop bag was trapped in an overhead compartment two rows behind me. I politely asked three different people to get it down for me.
Two ignored me and one guy said, ‘Mate there could be anything in that bag. I’m not touching it.’
It’s strange how the smallest slight can ruin your mood.
I was the last one off the flight but I didn’t mind, I was reading an amazing book by Noam Chomsky called, ‘How the World Works’.
After paying three times my weekly wage for a train ticket, I got off at St James Station in order to catch a train to Kings Cross.
When I asked a staff member which platform to go to for the Bondi train, he laughed in my face and said, ‘‘I think it’s platform one champ, but not at this station.’
Have a look at the rail map people. It’s very confusing.
Back onto the train and still with all my luggage, I tried to get off at Central. The doors opened and waiting in front of them to get on were fifteen people. Not one of them moved to let me a pass. A woman with a pram said, ‘sorry’. She didn’t move either.
Now I will help a woman with a pram whenever I can, but I am yet to run into a circumstance where it’s the done thing to let nobody off a train before you get on.
Then a homeless guy approached me, and didn’t ask me for money.
‘Have a good day mate,’ he said.
‘You two,’ I replied.
Before checking into my King Cross Hotel (only the best for this travelling comedian), I sat down to organise my luggage and make sure I was at the right address.
Two people separate people asked me to move along.
‘This is private property mate. You need to leave,’ said the first.
A minute later a woman said, ‘You can’t sit there. You’re not staying at this hotel are you?’
‘Yes, I am.’
‘Have you got any ID? Do I need to call someone’ she asked me, while I was still sitting on the stairs.
Then I remembered that the homeless guy hadn’t asked me for money. Is everyone so well dressed in Sydney, that they assume normal people from elsewhere in Australia are all homeless?
After dropping off my bag, I asked a bus driver if he was going down King Steet.
‘Nope,’ he said, closing the doors before I was even off the bus. I found out later that it was.
I hailed a taxi, and he wouldn’t open the doors before he found out where I was going. Apparently that wasn’t far enough, and he drove off.
The first person to smile at me tried to shake my hand and get me to buy an orphan. If selling something is the reason that you’re smiling, it doesn’t count.
The café I was meeting people at was The Pie Tin, on Brown Street in Newtown. There are two Brown Streets in Newtown, and one of those is two kilometres from the train station. Guess where I went first?
When I finally made it, can you guess the first thing that woman in the café did to me?
She smiled and said, ‘Hello. How are you today?’
I nearly cried. It was the first person who’d genuinely smiled to me all day.
And I instantly felt better about the world and everyone in it.
With every single human interaction you have a choice. Make someone unhappy and that’s two unhappy people. Smile and there’s two happy people. It’s one equation where you can’t lose. So why do so many people get it wrong?
Xavier Toby is a writer and comedian. (www.xaviertoby.com)
Catch Xavier at the Sydney Fringe from Sep 6 to 15:
Catch Xavier at the Melbourne Fringe from Sep 20 to Oct 5: