Thursday, March 26, 2009

My very good friend

Do you find, as I do, that you make friends in many unexpected and wonderful ways?
Well, if you think that question is an excuse for a story . . . you're dead right!

About six months ago I was walking up the hill when I was accosted by a traffic warden. He was delighted to see me. Clearly he thought he knew me. He was so sure that he knew me that, anxious not to hurt his feelings, I pretended that I knew him too.
"How are you?" he wanted to know.
This was getting tricky.
"Fine . . . " I replied cautiously. Adding, as something more was clearly needed, "How are you?"
He, too, it appeared was fine. As I couldn't prolong the encounter without revealing that I'd never, to my knowledge, seen him before, I gave a tentative smile, murmured 'goodbye' . . . and hurried on my way.

I bumped into him again about two weeks later.
Again, he recognised me with evident pleasure. This time, after a moment's hesitation, I, too, recognised him. This time my greeting was genuine.
Since then we have met each other regularly every two or three weeks. We stop and chat, we wave across the road, I've even learned that his name is Steve. But how or why I was supposed to have known him in the first place, I haven't the faintest idea!

I saw him a few moments ago.
"Lovely flowers!" we agreed, as we paused t0 chat on the pavement.

My very good friend the traffic warden!