Posts Tagged ‘ heavy backpack ’

An Open Letter to Slow Walkers

Today I walked to a coffee shop to do homework. Therefore, I was toting a rather heavy backpack. Despite that, I was still trudging along at a fairly swift clip.

I’m not a slow walker. I’ve had people give me crap in the past for walking too fast (“slow down and smell the roses, Bethany,”) but those people are simply under the wrong impression that because I walk quickly, I’m not enjoying the walk. On the contrary– I find a slow walk to be irritatingly wasteful. Why spend more time than necessary between points A and B?

But I digress.

There was a marathon going by my house today. Therefore, the sidewalk, while not riddled with people, was certainly more inhabited than is usual for a Sunday morning.

As I trudged along, heavily laden, a wide-set middle aged human male bearing a camera stepped from his post on the side of the road right into the middle of the sidewalk. Right into my path.

The thing that’s great about sidewalks is that they’re wide enough for three or more lanes of foot traffic.

The thing that’s terrible about sidewalks is that one carelessly (strategically?) placed human being can effectively block the entire sidewalk.

The wide-set human male meandered, making a speedy pass too awkward too risk. My shoulders ached from my backpack, which felt heavier as each step slowed. Finally, after attempting and failing to pass the wide-set male multiple times in the length of half a city block, the sidewalk opened into a driveway. I hauled ass and scooted around him. He seemed surprised to see me, which indicated to me that either a) he was oblivious or b) my Converse-clad footsteps are quieter than I thought.

This certain human male is, unfortunately, just one example of  Slow Walkers. I call that category the Space-Taker.

Another class of Slow Walker is the Tourist.

Tourists tend to travel in packs of three or more, oblivious to the plight of people who work in the neighborhood they’re ogling. As they slowly travel down the sidewalk, they often abruptly stop to point and comment about something in a window, a busker, a hobo, or anything that seems strange to their innocent Tourist eyes.

Tourists also tend to tote umbrellas. (Worst thing ever.)

As a Local and a Swift Walker, I find Tourists to be the worst Slow Walkers.

Other categories of Slow Walkers are Parents, Partiers, Texters, and Talkers.

I would like to extend a plea to all Slow Walkers, everywhere.


You can enjoy the sights and sounds just as thoroughly if you’re propelling yourself along at a normal, quick pace. You don’t HAVE to walk side by side with your friends, especially when people are trying to pass you in order to get to work.

(And on a sidebar, people who don’t make room for people coming the opposite direction, forcing them to step into the street, are real douchebags.)

If you must walk slow, please just do humanity a favor and don’t occupy the entire sidewalk with your body. There’s enough room for all of us, people! And if you put your umbrella away we’ll be friends even more.

And a warning: Slow Walkers, every time you Walk Slow in front of a Swift Walker, you risk being punched in the back of the head. Or the kidneys.

That is all.


In which Bethany Chooses not to Make Excuses for a Late Post

Today on my way home from SE Portland, I stopped a few bus stops early to go into the coffee shop of my employ, and as I was walking home (a walk that’s actually quite nice when it’s not rainy,) when I had a sudden realization.

I really like walking with a sort of heavy backpack.

When I have food and clothes upon my back and a shoulder bag with a book and a journal, it’s easy for me to pretend that that’s all I have in the world.

I imagine how simple life would be if all my possesions fit into a backpack and a shoulder bag. Maybe in this imaginary life I would strap a ukulele to my pack, and play it on busy street corners when I ran out of money, and after I had a few dollars I would sit in a coffee shop with my journal and record all the interesting events of the day.

If I were a wandering vagrant, maybe it would be more difficult to get distracted from God by the materialism of our culture, and maybe I would be a person more in touch with the Creator and the Cosmos.

In this imaginary life, maybe I would be free to travel anywhere I could walk, ride a bus, or afford a plane ticket to. Maybe if I had a companion we could jump onto trains and hitchhike.

I really like walking with a backpack.

The rich Lake Oswego people drive by, some of them rubbernecking as if they believe the imaginary life I’ve written for myself. Maybe they think I’m a wandering vagrant, on my way to the next wayside where I’ll spend the night. But I have them fooled.

Just up the road, I live in a house with a refrigerator and a pantry, where my mattress, bass, guitar, and desktop computer all sit on the floor because the farthest I’ve taken my minimalist dream is to the point of no furniture.

But still… I like the idea of being able to carry everything I own.

I like walking with a heavy backpack.

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