Tag Archives: walking

Fucking. Walk.

17 Aug

I don’t know how it is where you live, but here in New York City it’s fucking crowded. Stand still at any major thoroughfare for ten minutes and you might see ten to fifty thousand people pass by. It’s incredible to consider, really, that the quantity of people filtering in and out of Times Square on a weekday afternoon is around the same as the student body of Ohio State University, but on OSU’s campus there will be fewer Black Hebrew Israelites and shills trying to pull you in to see third-rate comedy acts. I have to assume that the sheer number of people in New York City is dumbfounding, because while there are plenty of people rushing about on the streets of the Big Apple, there are nearly as many just fucking standing around like retards looking for someone to tell them what to do.

I don’t remember it always being like this. In fact, I recall a time when folks in Manhattan moved around pretty quickly. That was back in the late 90s, when women wore all black and left their high heels at the workplace. Men were feeling relative comfort as offices everywhere abandoned necktie policies in an attempt to keep up with burgeoning dot-com businesses and their Free Beer Fridays and foosball tables. Back then, people barreled down the street with a kind of bitter, resolute purpose, unwilling or unable to step aside for anyone lest they lose a precious three seconds of life to traveling. Walking along the streets of New York was like slipping into the fast lane constantly, looking for any break in the stream to weave in and start stepping in rhythm. New York lunch hours were hurried affairs, people wasting as little time as possible in grabbing a pound of wilted lettuce and croutons from the local deli to scarf it down at their desks. Efficiency was the order of the day.

Then something changed: New York became nicer. It was already becoming nicer throughout the 1990s, but right after 9/11 it was a veritable gushy love fest. Women stopped wearing all black and those ridiculous goggle-eyed sunglasses, men’s work fashion became even more casual until today when many dudes look like they’re wearing pajamas to the office. And goddamn it, people started walking slower. Makes sense, really, that after facing death one would decide to take time to smell the roses. But there aren’t many roses on the streets of New York, and while you’re ambling along like a crippled penguin there are fucking five hundred people behind you that have some place to be. Fucking walk for crying out loud. If you don’t have anything to do today, then sit down. But get out of the pedestrian lane.

I wish I could blame it all on tourists, but the fact is that resident New Yorkers probably comprise most of the culprits shuffling around like space cadets. Thirty years ago, if you didn’t quicken your step you’d get your purse snatched. Now it’s safer: bicyclists have their own lanes to pedal along instead of vying for space with taxi cabs and city buses. Bloomberg’s plopped down a dozen or more open air plazas in the most congested areas of Manhattan for people to crowd into. It’s a nicer city, sure, but people still have shit to do. If you’re out and about and you notice yourself being passed by people on crutches and small insects, then hang up your fucking cell phone and walk or step the fuck aside. As a friend once put it: it’s just walking, you don’t need a degree. And if you’re one of those unconscionable people who stands on subway steps to finish your cell phone call at the expense of people streaming in and out of the station, then I hope that cell phone gives you brain cancer and I hope that the cancerous tumor contracts HIV. Fuck you.

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