December 25: mediocre pedestrians

I was walking down the street and a young man asked me how to get to Farringdon station. I said, walk ten minutes down this road and then it’s basically on the right. He went off, waalking a little quicker than me but in the same direction. As we walked I noticed that he was slowing down. I did not want to overtake him so I slowed down too. Then he stopped and asked somebody for directions. He hadn’t walked ten minutes, as I had advised. I said to myself, probably audibly, because I can get audible, you haven’t walked ten minutes. He started up again, in the same direction, needless to say. I started up again. I had had to stop to avoid overtaking him. Then, after a couple more minutes, he stopped another person to ask for directions. This time they were both looking round as though to get themselves orientated. It wasn’t complicated. I’d told him ten minutes. I, of course, had to hide in a doorway so as not to be spotted. I peeked out sfter a couple of minutes. The young man was on his way again, now stopping at a road, waiting for the lights to turn green for him. I followed at a snail’s pace, taking the opportunity to look into shop windows. At this rate I was going to be late as well. He was a long time crossing at the lights. I got the same light but a few seconds behind him. Now I was dicing with death, just a few paces behind him. Danger. If he decided to ask another person it might be me again, so I had to stop and look into another shop window. Imagine the encounter. Would we both decide to pretend not to recognise each other, or would we attempt to negotiate the moment openly. At this juncture I had no confidence in my communication skills for such a conversation and this was one very nervous pedestrian, a mediocre pedestrian, probably unused to the trials and tribulations of pedestrian life. Although I say this myself, I am a professional in pedestrian matters and have no time for the neophyte. Eventually we came to the right turn for Farringdon. He missed it. I turned right and went into the station. Ah well, only so much aid to one’s fellow man is appropriate, don’t you think, even at Christmas. Happy X-day.

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