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Davis, California

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Column: Life in the fast lane

I’m generally a pretty easygoing person. I wouldn’t consider myself particularly impatient. I tend to go with the flow in most cases. I attribute my laidback attitude to my desire to avoid confrontation at all costs. I never know the right thing to say in a heated face-to-face interaction, and more likely than not, I will just end up cowering away in shame. So why let it escalate that far, right?

However, like any normal human being, there is that one thing that gets my goat. The straw that breaks my camel’s back. To move away from animal expressions, the kryptonite to MY Clark Kent. That one irritating tendency, that single thing a person can do to royally piss me off is … walk slow.

I know. That was probably anti-climatic. You were probably hoping that I would say something heavy like A) genocide, B) litterers or C) bikers without a bike light. But my vice is simply slow walkers, and I will tell you why it should be yours, too.

The most obvious reason is life is short. Some people may like to mosey their life away and take their good, sweet time getting from A to B, but I prefer efficiency. When I have some place I need to be, I just want to be there already. If I could teleport there, I would – but the technology is just not available yet. So in the meantime, if I want to burn holes through my shoes power walking at six miles an hour, then people should allow me that right and get out of my freaking way.

I was on my way to class the other night. I prefer to get there 10 minutes early to avoid being that one awkward person sitting on the floor. All was going smoothly until I came up behind two friends lolly-gagging the night away and occupying the whole sidewalk. One might suggest I simply step off the sidewalk and go around them. Well, it had been raining, the street had puddles and I was wearing my canvas Converse shoes. Why should I risk gangrene when they could have either stepped aside courteously like slow walkers should do, or even better just move their legs a little faster?

A counter-argument to my position might be that I am an Amazon woman. Yes, I am 5-foot-10. How can I realistically expect everyone to cater to my needs and walk just as fast as I do? Well, I pose to you the anomaly that is my 5-foot-tall best friend. Only two inches separate her from being legally considered a midget and she is the speediest of speedy walkers. A shopping trip with her is actually an intense aerobic workout. I can barely keep the pace, and I usually end up dehydrated or with a pulled muscle.

If she can keep up, then I have complete faith in the rest of humanity. My suggestion to cure my slow walker woes – and alleviate this annoyance from everyone else’s life – is that speed laws be instated for pedestrians. Before you think I’m insane, remember it is just a suggestion. According to Wikipedia (the most valid of valid sources, I like to think), the average walking speed for a human being is three miles an hour. What a wonderful world it would be if someone walking below that speed could get ticketed!

Besides benefiting my life, I truly think it would benefit everyone in the long run. It’s a well-known fact that America has an obesity problem, so really, walking speed regulations would only help resolve the issue. We can post signs by the walking speed limit signs that read, “Pick up the pace, and drop the pounds!” It’s both encouraging and practical. I would fully support this.

If you want me to be realistic, then yes, I know this dream of mine will probably never come true. So in the meantime, can people just follow the same rules as vehicles and scoot to the right to let the faster traffic pass? Not only would it make my life easier, but it will save you from abiding by future walking laws I will in fact pursue if you continue to make my life hell.

AMANDA HARDWICK is going to start flat-tiring anyone who is not keeping the pace. If you don’t want her to (even though she probably will anyway), e-mail her at aghardwick@ucdavis.edu.

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