as I go up the escalator I try to get my brain started up ready for work. Just at the top in the shelter of the lift area is" Pop Bottle" man. There most mornings with a litre pop bottle with a dark liquid in it, about half the volume the bottle will hold, I expect it is a famous brand. He is usually just finishing a cigarette. No idea if it is a pre-bus journey pause or if he has just arrived. I do know he is not supposed to smoke there but like many others I say nothing.
Now I have a theory about how my brain works, if that is the right word, it has lots of little flash cards with pictures or information on them and it does a compare, refine or discard thing when trying to identify something or find an answer for me. Normally it whizzes through this process quickly, so quickly that I don't even notice but if I am tired, more than half asleep or making it think about two things at once the process can slow down enough that I do notice it.
For example one morning walking to work, in the days when that was all I did and buses were not involved, I saw something coming towards me. My brain goes into identification mode. First thought the something is flying therefore, BIRD, happy with the initial sort I got for a bit more definition, a hint of red, ROBIN, it gets a bit closer and an element of size penetrates, the next mental statement is more indicative of my tired mind, BIG ROBIN, it lands a short distance off turns sideways on and with a triumphant last filter of facts my brain announces, PHEASANT!
Now early on in the journey experience as I crossed the bridge a lady was coming in the other direction, tired brain automatically goes into its sort, filter and refine mode. Working a little faster than with the Pheasant it matches general appearance against people I know and gets ready to send instructions for an appropriate reaction to the rest of me.
My brain panicked I think at the speed of the approach decided it was a Lady from Church, similar features and hair colour. It discarded the fact there was no reason for that retired lady to be in this location at this time of the morning and rushed a beaming smile of delighted greeting to my face. And as the smile was returned, with overtones of surprised pleasure, my brain finished its checking and announced , you don't know her!
The "Not the Lady from Church" became over the next six years the "Smiling Lady", that one mistake developed into many a mornings friendly greeting, smiles, nods, hellos and mornings. A last cheering encounter before entering the dark portals of work. Ok the portals are well lit but rarely do I find getting there lights up my day. Yip I should be glad I have a job to go to and in the main , overall I am, but on a day to day basis...