I’m zipping down Park Avenue. Now I’m on 54th Street trying to cross during a grid lock. I glare at the driver of the black SVU, as I choose which end of the car is safest to pass. Okay, the front, I think. There’s barely enough room from his bumper to the Volvo in front, but I make it past only to get to the other side where there are fur junior executives side by side blocking the side walk. I’m going at a clipped pace, and I don’t like to be slowed down. I wait for the guy on his lunch hour to pass going the other way, then I aggressively move past the four juniors and go right in front of them to let them know they’re blocking the sidewalk.
There’s nothing that gives me greater pleasure than walking In Manhattan. I feel free and carefree. It’s great to pick up speed while walking, listen to a book, a podcast, or good music, while going from block to block, surprised I’ve already made four miles. It’s my favorite way to decompress.
On the other hand, I’m realizing how I resent anyone getting in my way. I feel like I own the city, and I take it personally when others aren’t mindful that they are not the only ones on the block. There are the slow moving tourists, the entitled young professionals on their way for frappuccinos, and teens hanging with no room left for pedestrians. However, the worst are the moms and nannies, tow-and three deep with Mercedes strollers. They hinder anyone who wants to walk down any given block in residential areas.
These are the certainties of walking in the city. I hadn’t realized I was taking something that means the world to me, and turning into an exercise of futility. There’s rarely a time I don’t encounter some obstruction. I made it personal. I saw their obliviousness as something to be challenged. I wanted to awaken the unconscious amblers to their foolish ways. But I realized I’m simply a righteous foot traveler. I’m in it for myself, and anyone who gets in my way, anyone who is doing what they do for themselves is the enemy. Nothing relaxing about that. Do I find I need conflict? Apparently so. After witnessing myself get all self-righteous in contrast to the unknowing, I am on a mission to transform my walking life. Will I have patience with myself as I begrudgingly let go of my abhorrence of the inevitable? Only time will tell. I am preparing to learn to go with the flow. I don’t know if I will, but that’s the plan, and I’m sticking to it.
I smiled as I read this, thinking of your long walk downtown on Thursday. Like you, I love walking in the city and feel affronted by those who get in my way.
Hate those strollers! You should see people trying to wrangle the doubles onto an elevator!