yeah, i’m one of THOSE people, always blocking the sidewalk, moving slowly, in a world that seems to prefer the destination to the journey. just for fun, i googled “slow walkers,” and didn’t find much, but one site in particular, where people can post their experiences in various places around the country. there were three posts having to do with one city, ranting about slow walkers, with comments like, “why don’t you get in your car and drive away?” is that really what people think when they come up behind a person walking slowly – for whatever reason – down the sidewalk? am i really a “moving roadblock?” i’d prefer to think that these three commenters were just coincidentally being rude in the same place. i walk with a cane, and i stumble a little, and weave a little, and need to stop and rest against a lamp-post a little, and i do notice that about half the people i encounter do not seem to notice that i am less mobile than they are, and rather than taking a step to one side or the other, come right at me, not seeming to notice me, and force me to either stop and move out of the way, or take what is for me a precarious step out of their way.
now, i do my best to keep to one side of the sidewalk. i don’t walk right down the middle, i try not to impose my slow waking on other people. and maybe i shouldn’t be, but i am always surprised how many people don’t seem to notice my slow, labored gait. i guess it’s just something to get used to.
being a slow walker has it’s advantages. i have always preferred the journey to the destination, and my “disability” (i still can’t say it without the quote marks) pretty much forces me to slow down and be a lot more aware of my immediate surroundings. sometimes that just means watching for big cracks in the sidewalk, or loose bricks, or curbs without those little built-in ramps, things i need to be careful of or prepare to step over, or avoid. any time is see a bench or sit-able wall, i take advantage of it, and take a few moments to observe the passing scene in a way most people never do. i am a photographer, and any of you who have seen my work might have noticed that a lot of my images are close-ups of walls and such. i find my slow walking helps me to see the small details of the places i walk in more than i used to. i find that to be an advantage.
and if i’m in a hurry, i’ll drive or get driven. i just try not to be in a hurry as often as i used to. i’m a slow walker, and as long as i keep walking, i will always be a slow walker. there’s nothing i can do about it. naturally, i’d rather be a “normal walker,” like i used to be. but i’d rather be a slow walker than a no-walker. and when i become a no-walker (a roller) i’ll be glad to be a roller.
(now playing: frank’s wild years, by tom waits)