Recently, I was invited to meet a television production company at well-known studios just outside London. Having supplied its colour, make and registration number in advance, I was directed to park my car just outside the studios.
After the meeting, I began to take my leave and was asked to wait for ‘security’.
Wondering what this meant, I shut down my tablet and packed my bag. Then, much to my surprise, a big burly man in a black uniform entered the room and, holding it open, stood by the door.
My hosts, very politely, said their goodbyes and informed me that this big fella would escort me back to Reception and out of the building.
Well, I may be a sensitive soul but, as I walked down the corridor to leave the studios, I felt very un-nerved by this unknown character walking behind me.
Why was he there?
Was I in danger?
What was this danger?
From where would it come?
In what form would it be?
As my heart beat faster, my imagination ran wild.
And then it struck me.
Perhaps I was not in danger at all. Perhaps I was the threat. Perhaps this man was not protecting me from someone but was protecting someone from me.
What had I done?
What had I said?
To paraphrase Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid: ‘Who was this guy?’
It was all very worrying.
Luckily I found my way out of the building without being beaten or stabbed, or having beaten or stabbed anyone else, made my way to my car and, with some relief, drove home.
Since this incident, I have carried a picture of this man in my head.
Suddenly, people like him appear all over the place: outside pubs and clubs, at train stations and on the streets. Everywhere I look.
Who are these people?
How qualified are they?
What powers do they have?
How are they allowed to behave?
Who are these guys?
I know, in Britain, the police have been revealed to be a devious, untrustworthy bunch but give me a suitably qualified, legally endowed British copper any day.
These puffed up cowboys with puffed up muscles in puffed up jackets give me the creeps.