While walking towards my mother’s home, another pedestrian and I had to step aside for a car. The other guy called from under his umbrella:
‘Excuse me? Isn’t this a pedestrian street?’
‘A pedestrian street?’
‘I’m asking you, yes. I don’t know about it. Is it pedestrian or not?’
‘Not that I’m aware of. I don’t even think it’s semi-pedestrian. Cars drive here all the time.’
‘Semi-pedestrian? Could you explain what that means, please? I’ve been living in the city for three years and I’ve never heard that.’
‘Well, some streets are closed to cars altogether, and some let drivers in if they have a badge. You can get a badge if you live there, or something. That’s why you’ll see some cars, but not all the time.’
He nodded very slowly, and started to smile.
‘I see,’ he said. ‘So, all those cars… They were driving me crazy, but I see. All right.’
Then he smiled more decidedly.
‘Thanks a lot,’ he said. ‘You don’t realise it, but you’ve juste made my life a lot better.’
He had rather intense eyes, and an unusual pronunciation. I wonder what he’d just realised that I hadn’t.