Like many people who live in big cities, I don’t own a car. I also don’t own a bike (even though I am strongly considering getting one this summer). I am a public transportation user but when I can, I walk where I need to go. Apart from my undiagnosed driving anxiety and my fear of biking in a city which was exacerbated by the movie One Day (spoiler alert), I have always preferred walking. Walking allows me to observe the world and for that, I appreciate it. Yet when you live in a city, there are inevitable frustrations that come with being a pedestrian. Hew are a few:
Driving in a city can be rough. I actually take my hat off to those who do it on a daily basis. But there is also a certain segment of the driving population who have made a unanimous decision to be pricks. For example, when there is huge yellow sign that says it’s a pedestrian right of way, why do I and other pedestrians have to stand in the middle of the road, praying for a driver to let us walk past? Then there are the drivers who can’t make up their damn mind once they’ve violated the pedestrian rule and they glare at you, the pedestrian, like it’s your fault for causing the commotion.
Some of my favorite people in the world are bikers and I may become a seasonal biker very soon. Still, bikers are insufferable to the pedestrian. For some reason, bikers act like road rules don’t apply to them. They are forever running red lights, constantly getting in the way way, and all-around act like they own the freaking road. I get it, when you’re a biker, you’re the most vulnerable on the road but can you please stop acting like you’re the only ones trying to get somewhere? When you’re a driver, you hate pedestrians. When you’re a pedestrian, you hate drivers. But do you know what pedestrians and drivers have in common? A hatred for bikers. I can’t believe I might be one of you in a few months. Ugh.
3. Pedestrians who walk slowly.
Because I try to be a good Catholic and would never wish hell on anyone, I don’t think there is a special place in hell for slow pedestrians. But I am convinced that pedestrians who walk slowly will spend a longer time in purgatory. Maybe this is a Chicago thing because New Yorkers will push you out the way if you walk slowly. But there is a special segment of the Chicago population, that take their sweet time when walking and especially do so during rush hour (the pedestrian version), and this makes me want to scream. One of two things need to happen – either everyone in Chicago who is a pedestrian needs to be required to go to New York for pedestrian training or we need to start issuing tests for pedestrian licenses.
4. Getting cat-called.
Do you know what happens when you walk everywhere especially when you happen to be female? Some men will shout out all sorts of offensive and obnoxious remarks about your appearance. And it doesn’t matter how you look that day – you could be pouring sweat from a run and have the appearance of a disheveled science-fiction creature. Yet, someone will cat-call you and follow it up with something like, “Hey girl, you’re looking good in those tights. Maybe I could go for a run with you sometime?” I always wonder what goes through someone’s head when they cat-call. Like, what do people who do this think is going to happen? Maybe one day, in the interest of sociological experiments, I’ll turn around and say, “OMG. You’re the man I’ve been waiting for my entire life. Let’s get married!” I’ll let you know what happens.
5. Everything takes forever.
Being a pedestrian requires a lot of patience. Patience for drivers, for bikers, for other pedestrians, and for people who cat-call you. But there are few things that are more frustrating than having to take forever to get from place to place. It’s actually the main reason I want to get a bike – I could cut my destination time by 70% if I bought a bike. When you’re a pedestrian, you are sadly at the mercy of your feet and in case you haven’t noticed, it’s not always the most efficient mode of transportation.