If someone approaches you and says “hello” then my guess is, like me, you instinctively say “hello” back to them, even if you don’t know them. “And what’s wrong with that?” I hear you ask. Well, nothing, except that the increased use of mobile phones means that I now regularly say “hello” to people who, quite sensibly, have no intention of speaking to me at all. Maybe in the ‘80s, when mobiles were the size of house bricks, I might have stood a chance. Now, someone walks past me with a friendly “Hi mate” and, so as not to be rude, I quickly reply “Hi”, by which time they’ve walked past and I hear them continue their conversation, which probably goes something like, “Hang on, mate, some nutter is trying to talk to me.” Rather like when you trip on a loose paving stone and do a little jog, as if it’s going to hide the fact, I find myself needing to do the same thing, creating a little song like – “Hiyaa..ya..ya..la..la..la”.
Another thing I’ve noticed more recently that can catch me out if I’m not careful are those little notices that shops put outside – I think they’re called ‘A-boards’ – presumably the A stands for accident. Worse, a new supermarket on my local High Street, put out huge great signs. They’re certainly more visible than the usual ones, but they take a bit of getting around. I wonder why they don’t go the whole hog and just build a brick wall across the pavement, with a big arrow painted on it directing people into the shop.
While I’m being a grumpy old git, there’s one more thing I noticed the other day that is a potential disaster zone. I was happily walking through the main pedestrian street in my local city centre, when I realised the way was almost entirely blocked by one of these pavement cafes that seem to be springing up everywhere. God knows why people want to sit out in near arctic conditions – mainly smokers I guess – but they are at serious risk of ending up being splatted with latte or finding their cappuccino in their lappuccino. If I’m not concentrating, I could just plough into one of these cafes and really run a mocha.
I just hope that next time I go that way, I don’t inadvertently head into it having tripped on an A-board when I was distracted by someone on a mobile saying hello to me.