Walkers of the World

I walk a lot. I walk to my bus stop. I walk from my bus stop. Sometimes I catch a different bus and I walk even more. And on one particularly nice day, I walked all the way home from work - it took me about 55 minutes. I see lots of people walking the streets at any given time. But I'm not here to talk about the statistics of walkers around the world - I want to share some of rather interesting annoyances we encounter day to day.

First and foremost (this is what led me to chronicle this specific rant), the beeping. I'm walking along Route 59 for a total of 5 minutes and I get beeped at 3 times. Are these loco drivers trying to signal that something is wrong with the way I'm walking? Are they telling me my lights aren't turned on? Am I about to sink my feet into the remains of a dead squirrel? Usually, that's not the case. These horn-beepers are simply filling their 'Scare One Girl' quota. I must look a sight when, after hearing an earsplitting honk two feet from me, I jump a few inches in the air. After one such incident two years ago, I decided that no matter what variety of beep I hear, I will not turn around. I will not pass GO. I will not collect $200. I will simply forge straight ahead with my eyes trained forward. Just to show them I don't scare easily (and they'll have to find another source of quota fulfillment).

Then there's the staring issue. It seems that drivers pay more attention to walkers-by than their cell phones - or the road before them. Once the first Walker of the World made his or her appearance on the streets, there must have been a definite rise in traffic accidents. "Don't drink and drive" hardly applies (unless you have a mini-bar in your car) - it should be updated to "Don't stare and steer". It's one thing if they paid us for the entertaining scenery, but they don't. One foolproof trick I play is to walk together with the cars, not against them. This way, all gawkers get to see is my receding figure (which gives me the same satisfaction as copyrighting with an embedded watermark). Or I can wear a mirrored suit.

Another problem I must contend with is musiclessness. I so yearn to stride in beat with my iPod. But of course the earbuds have to be shocking white, thereby enhancing plugged-in visibility by 200%. Then people will really have what to beep at - in which case I won't hear a thing ;)

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