Walk of Life (and Pee, Runners, Jaywalking and Salesmen)

When I told a blogging compatriot that I was sketching a post that centred on Walking, her response was similar to what mine would be if I were reading this so far; “It sounds boring”. I’ve already detailed that I find running boring, and hardly enjoy it as a form of exercise. A friend recently stated that he hates running so much he doesn’t like doing whilst playing football – not good for a team mate to admit. I don’t mind running during sports, but I dislike the monotonous thudding of running to keep fit, either indoors or out. I prefer, by a long way, to walk.

This would see strange, I suppose, as the basic movement is exactly the same save for the change of pace. But when I say I prefer walking, it’s because I actually prefer going for a walk, either on my own or with someone. Or even to somewhere. My recent relocation to the city centre means that I can walk to work every day, and after driving for 2 and a bit years, walking is a fair novelty, even in terrible weather. It’s good to get out, listen to some music, talk to a mutual walker, or even something as silly as just looking at the places where I am walking through or past. A favourite pastime of mine when I lived in the West End of Glasgow (that’s a stretch actually, I lived away out in the sticks near Anniesland to be honest) the walking along the canal and into the Kelvinbridge areas were something of a relaxing time, because it felt good to just get out and see stuff, even if it was pissing it down so hard the only thing I could see was the shape of hand as it wiped my face free of the water.

Hillwalking is another thing I really enjoy but never ever get to do enough of it which is partly my fault for not being proactive (uggh, I hate that word) enough to actually get to some hills, or for having friends who say all time “We should go walking” and then either go to the gym or are snared in by a generic game of football on the TV. I need to bag more Munros and the only person stopping that from happening is me.

Walking back from work has given me plenty to write about, and as such this is like a chronicle of all the events that have happened when I have been walking back recently.

- A man was taking a pee. This man was peeing just off Union Street, which is the Aberdeen equivalent of someone shitting on 5th Avenue in New York City. The strange thing was that this man didn’t look like a vagrant, nor was he dressed in a manner that scream mental-homeless person, but his vernacular which consisted of “Argh fucking… Aye, you… fucking… Argh, see them… Polis!” amongst other utterances. He also seemed highly lucid to what was around, namely the number of disgusted people avoiding looking, but taking a heavy swatch, and the people too engrossed in the walk to notice the pee trail.

- Two groups of runners colliding on the pavement. I live very close to a gym. It’s my gym, but I rarely make the effort to go, offsetting my guilt with a “I walked to work today” excuse that holds no water. These running groups are the most banal thing in the world and seemd to me like a torture designed by a coalition of Gym Owners as a constant advertisement to us that rarely go that there are people that take this so seriously that they actually go to a gym to meet people to work with outside of the gym. That’s how cool they are. I watched as, with total glee, two separate groups careered towards each other, ending with a muddle of side steps and rushing one way and the other, before admitting defeat and having to stop half step. It immensely pleased me, for some reason and serves them right for sneaking up on me from behind with their iPod running shoes and grip-designed water bottles of Powerade.

- Jaywalking. Since starting to walk to work I have taken it upon my self to do something that I actually, as a driver, despise. Jaywalking, to use the Americanism, or just walking across the street, is something that is just par for the course in a city centre. No problem anywhere on a road… but the cardinal sin of Jaywalking at a designated crossing point, or even worse, yards from a crossing, makes my blood boil… and is something I have had to swallow and just get on with because it just makes so much more sense to me now – fuck the highway code, I’ll walk when I think it’s clear, not when someone tells me to. And if I make traffic stop that’s there fault not mine.

- Dodging the Salesmen / Charity People. I learned to do this expertly with Charity people in Glasgow, running “The Guanlet” from Central Station to University with the challenge being to not been stopped by Big Issue, Age Concern, Shelter, Oxfam, or any one of these charity signer-upers. Fair play to them, but I became really good at the fake phone call / rushing to a business meeting tactic. So how I found myself almost being conned into buying £50 of Dead Sea Salt by a sales person in the Union Square shopping centre confused me a lot. I just went with the flow and almost found my self £50 lighter and 1kg of salt heavier. Lucky escape that time. I’m getting better at avoiding the pretty young sales people, but it will take time. I’ve been single for a fair while now… and they are quite pretty. Sigh.

Also, it gives me an excuse to post this song too. Do do! Do do-do-do-doo!