Aim your leaflets with care
Things aren't what they used to be.
Once upon a time, you could walk down the street without a care in the world. Perhaps enjoying the scenery. Perchance deep in thought. Possibly humming a merry tune.
But that was then.
These days, you are lucky to get so much as a glimpse of your environs, shrouded as they are in the fug of the nation's smokers, who seem to be huddled on the peripheries of every high street.
Even the briefest of perambulations seems to have become an assault course through a giant ash-tray, dodging a butt here, a cloud of noxious fumes there, until it seems there is simply nowhere left to go.
If food was involved, it might make me look more kindly
And that's before you even factor in the leafleters.
Outside every station, peppering the streets of every city, there they are, thrusting their wares into your hands with scant regard as to whether you fit their target market in any way at all.
So, no thank you, madam, but I have no interest in learning English. As I make a living from words, I hope that I have already mastered the basics.
And, yes, young man, I realise that the number of fishballs consumed after Yom Kippur has made me a certain candidate for the Guinness Book of Records but, all the same, gastric-band surgery is not high on my agenda right now.
To be fair, as a Jewish girl who marches on her stomach, I freely admit that, if food was involved, it might make me look more kindly upon what was on offer.
Throw in a couple of free pretzels and perhaps tree surgery might take on a whole new appeal. Chuck in a bar of chocolate and, you never know, I may consider your slightly
dodgy-looking discount nail bar (even though a manicure is probably the last thing I'll ever have on my to-do list).
But, as there is no grub up for grabs and I'm clearly on my way to work, I am sure, kind sir, that you will appreciate that a list of secretarial vacancies in the City is fairly low down my must-read agenda.
The trouble is that "kind sir" does not tend to appreciate this in the slightest.
I was somewhat surprised to find myself subjected to a torrent of verbal abuse the last time I demurred - politely - when a leafleter handed me a missive offering services for which I had no use whatsoever.
And so I explained - with consummate courtesy - that surely it was better to refuse, leaving the leaflet for someone who might be interested in what it was offering, than to accept it and chuck it straight in the nearest rubbish bin.
I took his silence as a sign to continue and moved on to the environmental impact of all this printed matter - and how ensuring that these leaflets reached their target audience would at least have meant that a tree did not die in vain and our streets were not littered with fluttering detritus.
"So," he said, as I reached the end of what I hoped was an impassioned and effective soliloquy.
"Are you going to take this bloody leaflet - or what?"