The woman approaching me is beaming and deliberately being friendly at me. As she approaches I can tell that she has honed her Friendly skills to a sharp edge and is not afraid to use them.
She is pulling a small trolley behind her, so my first thought is that she is lost and trying to find the local bus or train station – something which the local authorities, in their infinite wisdom, seem to have decided needs to be an exercise in Zen Navigation, as opposed to actually findable. My brain is still trying to cope with the business of remembering my PIN for the cash point (note that I deliberately refrained from calling it a PIN Number, because of course the N stands for Number anyway)
“Hello” she says, her smile turned all the way up to supernova levels now, “I’m from local radio. We’re just trying to find opinions of local people on the new restrictions on speed in the centre, and the decision to remove traffic lights – would you care to comment?”
I look at her through a thick dense fog of sleep, wondering how long it will take my brain to finish having its shower, eat its bowl of cornflakes, hop on a bus and catch up with my body.
Over the next few minutes as I find the nearest branch of Expense-o-Coffee and my brain finally reboots from the night I find myself responding that the decision is the latest in a long line of contradictory plans that seem to be wilfully designed to confuse and annoy in the manner that only “Town Planning” can manage – spending hundreds of tax payers monies only to change their minds six months later. I decide that any decision to remove traffic lights, regardless of a decrease of speed, is an invitation to murder for all of the drivers that would happily run you over just to shave off thirty seconds from their journey.
I also decide that the recent decision to close one of the subways and put a pedestrian crossing across the busiest roundabout in 20 miles is so certain to cause death within 2 weeks that you’d never get decent odds at Vegas on anything else.
But at that moment, as my poor old sleep-addled brain stares at her from beyond a veil of morning fog, all I can manage to reply is “erm…..dunno”