You’re walking down the street when you hear the approach. Maybe it’s the clip of its heel or the clap of its bag. You turn, but it’s upon you. And then it’s gone. You’re left in its wake.
You are never safe – in the city, in a neighborhood, on a country road in Asheville, NC in July. It could be anywhere. It is a fast walker.
How do I know such things? Well, I happen to be one. Here are my woes:
- You don’t realize how fast you walk. Meanwhile, your walking companion(s) are gasping for oxygen, and they may or may not have a stitch in their sides.
- You think, Dear stranger, I'm not racing you. This is just my pace. Stop being a competitive American.
- You are always sweating, no matter the temperature or the weather. In summer you look like you just got done with the Ice Bucket Challenge. In winter, you carry your coat even if it’s below freezing. Unless you just started walking.
- People always comment that they see you running. In undergrad, I cannot tell you how many people would tell me they saw me “running” on campus. While I do run, I did not run nearly as frequently as was cited. Nor do I run in jeans and flipflops.
- People remember you. Junior year, I had a painful crush on this girl. We went to this potluck dinner. There are at least 20 people there; I know four. While I’m stuffing my face with tres leche cake (I remember that cake – so good!), someone says, “I know you; I always see you fast walking on campus.” Suddenly the whole room is alight: “Yeah, I always see you!” “You walk so swiftly!” In any other context, these disclosures would be extremely creepy. And then my crush announces, “I’ve always wanted to meet you. I remember watching you walk freshman year.” ……………
- You have nicknames. “Speed Shoes,” “Fast Walker” (how clever), “the Bullet,” etc. Yeah, you can keep them to yourself.
- People tell you they run 12-minute miles, and you stare at them. That is how fast you walk a mile.
- You could walk a marathon in five hours.
- You invite your friend over and tell them it’s a 10-minute walk to your place. Twenty minutes later they arrive red-in-the-face and call you a liar. Well, it's 10 minutes for you.
- Your friends always say, “We can walk there…if you walk slow.”
- You think you must look efficient and busy when you’re on the way somewhere when in fact everyone is like, “Where are you hurrying? Why are you stressed out?”
- You avoid running into people you know because you either have to a.) slow down and chat or b.) do the awkward pass-by where you try to pretend that you don’t notice that your acquaintance is a tortoise.
- You hate couples that walk on the sidewalk hand-in-hand and don’t get out of the way. Actually, you hate everyone that doesn’t step to the side when you approach. Couples and groups just amplify this hate.
- Two seconds on the crosswalk signal? Of course you can make it across the street!
- You both dread and delight in startling helpless, sluggish pedestrians. They always jump once you’re upon them. Middle-aged women on cell phones are the best.
- You wish people were more accepting of your kind.