Brixton bus stop. 8.30am.
I saw this woman three days in a row before I worked out what she was doing. She was well-dressed – in a beige skirt suit, with her hair in a discreet clasp – and looked to be in her late thirties. Each time I saw her she was on her mobile phone, conveying concise instructions to the following effect:
‘Well, if you and Angie could take that road and the cul-de-sac leading off from it, that would be a real help because I’m up against it this morning… yes, we have the rest of the week to do those streets, so perhaps we should just take them in order east to west… I really can’t fit it all in today, and you just can’t tell who is going to be in… I agree, better to divide it up and report back mid-morning… if you just make a note of where you stop each time that would be perfect… there’s a lot to get through…’
Have you worked it out? Surveyor? Market researcher? Election campaigner? No: Jehovah’s Witness! I had never seen them planning their routes before, but I suppose it’s obvious that they must do. They have a quota from on high, after all.