Monday, October 7
I genuinely cannot say whether or not people have always acted as though they wore blindfolds, or whether I should blame mobile phones for introducing distractions to the simple process of walking down the street.
Actually, perhaps I can. I have a clear memory of Hania getting very angry one day in Mediumwave, sometime late in the 1980s. She had walked down Brixton High Street and people had continually bumped into her or walked in front of her. “Why can’t these people behave like New Yorkers?”, she asked nobody in particular. In New York, she maintained, people walked in straight lines, made predictable movements, and watched other people’s behaviour in order to moderate their own.
I find myself thinking this because two middle aged women walking towards me as I cycle up the road suddenly stop and spread out, blocking the entire path; and then stand there talking. Either they know I will have to try to swerve or they don’t. I don’t know which I find more disturbing.
I come to a stop about a metre from them and they take no notice at all. I look around and see a wonderful display of leaves and get off to photograph them. Some good has come out of this.