The (Endangered) Commuting Pedestrian

Posted by on March 24, 2006.

Ever since man tamed and mounted his first steed (the woolly mammoth, unless I'm much mistaken) we've had an excuse not to walk to work - not that we needed one.

From that day, we've labored to find a less interactive method of getting to our destinations, because let's face it, if we wanted to spend our mornings filling oat bags and pulling on reins we'd get married and have children.

As anyone who has been bitten by a llama or trod on by a dromedary camel can tell you, a Chevy is a much more docile choice when trekking to the bazaar for the latest 50-Cent album. Mankind certainly cannot be blamed for choosing latter over the former, especially when taking into consideration that there is simply no way to attach Dub Spin Bellagio 24-inch rims onto a draft horse. We are, quite simply, left with no other choice.

But if the Chevy you drive decides to take an out-of-chassis sabbatical during the winter months (as my '97 Cavalier has previously decided) one is left with very few choices. Rendered obsolete by so much as high-humidity, I'm told that the malady that affects the Cavalier has something to do with 'wiring'. This is akin your doctor telling you that your recent skin condition has something to do with 'anatomy'. I decided I'm not getting it fixed until a solution arises that is so convenient I can't say no... for instance, if I got home and there was an 'easy-button' in the fridge, next to the Budweiser... along with someone to push it for me.

I digressed, all you need to know is that I'm not fixing my car any time soon. And so I walk to work. Every day, I get up, drink a cup of coffee and then suit up like a Sherpa who's about to cross the Sea of Tranquility. I don't care what says the temperature is, if I look outside and don't see people running through sprinklers or melting onto the pavement I'm going to wear fourteen layers of wool to work. Sir Edmund Hillary wore less at Camp Three than I do while taking a shower. I've been told it's an iron deficiency, but whatever.

Once you get over the thrill of doubling up with pain (due to the intense atrophy that took over your body during the previous two decades spent eating Cheetos on the couch and playing Metal Gear Solid) you start to wonder why more people don't save some money by walking. Until, that is, you have to carry anything larger than a post-it note for any duration. Nothing says "Determined Missionary" to the neighborhood quite like a guy walking down the street with a binder. No matter what you're carrying, or how you're schlepping it around, when people see you, walking placidly down the street, they will place you into one of the following demographics:

  • Compulsive drunk-driver
  • Dispossessed bike messenger
  • Government surveyor
  • Overgrown sixth-grader
  • Militant environmentalist

This is why people do not make eye contact if/when they pass you. Most people I pass in the morning would hardly bat an eye if I fell on them and shattered my hip like a plate of glass. Given, everyone I walk by in the morning is either a compulsive drunk driver, a dispossessed bike-messenger, a government surveyor, an overgrown sixth-grader or a demonstrating environmentalist, so I wouldn't really want their help anyways.