Thursday, November 02, 2006

On the way to work this morning

As I drove out of the older of the two Mersey tunnels this morning, the lights of a pedestrian crossing were against me, so I slowed down to stop - as one does. The crossing is close to John Moores University and one often sees students using it; today there was a Chinese-looking fellow about to cross while a number of other people were crossing at the same time; however, he looked up and caught my eye, although the lights for him were still green, he hesitated as if unsure of my intentions.

It occurred to me that if he was from mainland China, this would be a perfectly normal reaction as making eye-contact with the driver is usually taken as meaning that the pedestrian has seen the approaching car and will stop, so the driver will swerve around them or accelerate very fast so they can pass extremely closely and dangerously.

I could be wrong, for all I know he's lived in Liverpool all his life and was hesitating because he'd left his wallet at home; but it did remind me of the difficult and occasionally perilous nature of crossing the road in China.

Later, after I'd parked and was walking to the office, I noticed a shoe in the street. I always wonder what it means when you see a shoe in the street. Has someone dropped their shoe and continued walking without it? Perhaps they were attacked or were drunk? Did someone have a big bag of clothes for charity or for recycling and a shoe dropped out? Was it stolen from outside of a shoe shop? Had the old woman who lived in it been jailed for beating her children and the kids taken into care?

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