September 28, 2019KR BlogBlogEnthusiams

On Being a Pedestrian in a World of Drivers

I can drive. That is, I’m physically capable of driving, but I just don’t. There are many factors that have contributed to this state of affairs, including having lived most of my life in New York City where I don’t need it and preferring a more contemplative way of getting to where I’m going. It has been a life-changing decision.

The way people who don’t live in New York look at me when I tell them I’m car-free is possibly my favorite part of the whole pedestrian scenario. I’ve considered a photo project that involves shots of their faces in vehicular-related shock after my mobility revelation. Their voices dropping to a gentler decibel as they ask, wide-eyed, “But how do you go anywhere?”

Aside from walking or the rare uber ride, I employ a little thing called public transportation, which exists in all kinds of places that people wouldn’t expect. Although I don’t do it solely for green reasons, I’m also not displeased with the reduction of my carbon footprint.

There are certain ways that my buggy-free lifestyle has made me see the world differently. For one thing, there’s a lot more room for looking as a walker or passenger. Where non-pedestrian transportation is concerned, I can’t necessarily tell you what roads to take, but I am an expert in rippled bodies of water, changing leaves, peculiarly shaped trees, bus-window-framed building tops, and, my favorite, the startled, smiling, nose-picking people in the cars beside me.

I also like to walk, to slow things down, to pass the scenery around me at a pace leisurely enough to enable actual seeing, to dwell on marginalia that would be lost in the whizzing world of cars. I realize that it may one day be necessary for me to drive regularly, and I’m fully prepared to do so, but for now I’ll be walking. See you on the side of the road. I’ll be the one stooping down to look at something inconsequential to everyone else.