I am a Pedestrian.
I prefer the sidewalk under my feet, the wind in my face, the exquisite scents in the air, the sounds rushing past my ears, and the completeness of walking.
I walk everyone. I walk back and forth to work five days a week. This is a thirty minute walk when it’s cold and forty when it’s warmer. I walk the Meewasin Trail for fun. The river is intoxicating every day of the year. I walk to the Farmer’s Market, to nearby shops, to Eighth Street for groceries. Occasionally, I walk far. It is approximately an hour’s walk from my apartment to the big, Canadian bookstore that I frequent. I’ve walked there about three times in the last three years. It is somewhere I usually take the bus to.
This time of the year I start to dread walking. It is getting colder. There are days below minus degrees and talk of wind chill. There will be ice and cars will pay even less attention to little, old me as they rush to and fro.
Vehicles don’t pay enough attention to pedestrians now. In the last month, I’ve almost gotten hit twice. The last time I could smell burning rubber after he applied the brakes.
Almost getting run over is a GREAT way to end the day!
The other time the person turning left was not paying attention; good thing I was. I will admit, I don’t always pay attention.
I will admit that I forget the rules sometimes. My generation, a mostly car-less one was “taught to walk on the left, facing traffic, so that we could see cars coming and move onto the shoulder.” (p. 38) There were also less sidewalks then. However, cars went slower, injuries were less serious, and drivers took responsibility for everyone’s enjoyment of the road. Now, there are times when it feels like I’m the only one noticing pedestrians.
I will take responsibility for my own safety but I want the vehicles out there to be aware that they are not the only ones using and enjoying the roadways.
I enjoy relying on my body for my own locomotion. I enjoy walking. There are many benefits to my walking.
“…went out for a walk the following afternoon. I was out for an hour. I walked two hours the next day, an hour the day after that, then three hours a day later. Somewhere in the course of those first several days, I stopped being depressed.” (p. 16)
Since I was a child, I’ve enjoyed walking in the rain. Though, here in the Prairies, that usually means that I am walking in the rain and the wind.
This is not a gentle tropical breeze that I am talking about.
This is updrafts and messy hair and wind tunnels.
How many umbrellas do I go through in a year?
1? 2? 3? Just one umbrella died this summer, at least. It’s a good thing my mom sells Avon. She always has inexpensive umbrellas hanging around for me to commandere.
I suppose, one day, I should buy a high end model. I worry though that our winds would treat such an umbrella the same as the others. Maybe, I should just go for cute. 🙂 Oh look, they even have a warranty. Though, I have a feeling that Mary Poppins had a Burberry.
I know some of you may be wondering why not bike to work? For me, it’s a matter of paying attention. My mind tends to wander here, there, and everywhere. I feel it is safer for everyone if I keep my time behind the wheel to a minimum.
I am a pedestrian.
“I think I can recall a desire to gain knowledge of the city I lived in …. by walking its streets.” (p. 32)
You can live in a city for centuries and never really know it until you walk its streets.
On a recent Sunday morning, I went meandering. I walked back from the university along Temperance, turned a corner, and suddenly had no idea where I was. It took about ten blocks before I could suddenly go, “ah ha, I am here and I know where I must go to get back on track.”
I love that. I love getting lost walking in a city that I supposedly know.
I am a pedestrian.
All quotes are from:
Step By Step: A Pedestrian Memoir
by Lawrence Block
New York: William Morrow, 2009