At 7am in New York, the street walkers come out – not the late night variety.
First are the power walkers – trainers, shorts and one, two or three unwashed, unpressed, faded, baggy tee-shirts. Bottle of water in hand, rushing to nowhere in particular.
Next come the dog walkers. Most being dragged along by over eager pets with sleepy reluctantly-exercising owners. The dogs’ path dictated by the next corner. Rest breaks determined by the location of the next lamp-post. Then there is the sudden pull on the lead and a head long diversive rush in the arbitrary direction of a new foe or little friend passing by.
Dapper little dogs trotting like a horse in a dressage event hoping to be awarded a rosette by a Cruft’s judge who happens to be traveling the same path. An elegant grey Weimarinar evenly paced, oblivious to its owner and everyone else but aware that it’s being admired. Then come 5 dogs – 5 leads all attached to one owner who appears to have left behind his sledge. It’s only a matter of time before he his hung, drawn and quartered!
The next early morning group are the delivery men. Their truck awkwardly parked further up the street than they would like. Out of the back doors comes their two wheeled trolley on to which they proceed to load box after box after box after box. Finally they add an extra bag just so that they won’t be able to see where they are going. That’s not necessary because they assume as important delivery people they have an automatic right of way on all roads and pavements. Approaching cars have to stop suddenly and pedestrians are expected to scatter. No time for pleasantries – there is a job to be done and the next delivery to be rushed to like a white rabbit in Alice in Wonderland – no time to say hello – goodye – I’m late, I’m late, I’m late.
Finally in this early morning pre-rush hour come the office receptionists and other early impress-the-boss starters. Coffee in one hand, latest mobile telephone in the other ringing up all the friends they can think of to tell them they are already on their way to work. Knapsack on their back but no time for wandering – they are always in a hurry.
If they all started out 10 minutes earlier, they would have time to say “good morning” and city life would be less frenetic.
Maybe we should have elderly people on street corners as “meeters” and “greeters” just to start everyone’s day off with a smile; an army of lollipop ladies and gentlemen ?