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10 January 2006 @ 12:00 am
...for a council worker  
This morning I donned my beanie and went for a run along the river, armed with a clutch of chrysanthemums. For a while I held off unloading the gift, relishing the sensation of running with flowers. But then I saw a man with a briefcase, and offered him a generous "good morning." He was pretending not to see the obvious, so I said "for you!" which forced him into overt rejection: "I don't want them, thank you." Likewise the next guy offered nothing but an ironic greeting and an averted gaze. But it was the third man, the man on the park bench, who was the drollest of the all: "are you well?" he asked, as his labrador pawed me. "Indeed," I insisted; but he let me just stand there, holding chrysanthemums in the rain. A passing cyclist didn't want them. A pedestrian blocked me with his brollie. I started cursing the English; but, even then, I was aware of my psychological triumph. I felt myself settle on their Yorkshire consciences, and not let go. Rejection only spreads the message.

In the end it was a fluro-coated council worker who lifted his hand. He had just switched on the flashing pedestrian lights and was heading back to his truck when I overtook him. The angle allowed him to watch my retreating form as it blithely sped past peak-hour pedestrians, uniformly depressed. So I hope that he interpreted me as an angel, even if the story centres on reward: you switch on the lights, a jogger delivers flowers.