Being crowded when I walk is creepy, annoying…I don’t like it. Too often I sense someone just a few steps behind me, I cannot shake them, it drives me nuts.
I slow down, they slow down. I speed up, they speed up. I want to kill them. I turn it into a game instead.
You, too, can do this and leave the world a more peaceful place. (Follow me…)
Years of walking in the city sharpens the senses and while some might wonder whether my senses are sharp at all, I have gotten pretty good at a thing or two. In particular, I have gotten good at ID’ing whatever is walking, jogging, or running behind me.
Depending on the pace of the walker or runner, the slap of the shoe, the wheezing or hacking of the walker, I can pretty easily identify things like age, weight, and so forth. I can even make a good guess at gender. (My guess success rate is better than 50-50.)
So the other day when I could not lose a small group hanging behind me, I let myself be amused and started forming a picture of one of the walkers.
I guessed I had a young man or late teen on my heels. (I chose late teen.) He talked a lot and walked with a heavy slapping footstep. I decided he was a bigger nerdy boy, probably wearing sandals…no, not sandals, flip flops, the same flip flops he first proudly wore several summers ago when he was 13.
He laughed at his own jokes and thought everything was funny. He said “look” a lot and talked fast and loud and with a wheezy slur. I estimated he would be tall and thick, just starting to show an overweight future. No sense of fashion, obviously, but if I were correct and accurately identified a teen boy, this was a freebie. So he would be wearing baggy orange or purple and a dollar store t-shirt…no, scratch that….this kid sounded a bit nerdy, remember? A Spider Man t-shirt! He would be wearing a Spider Man t-shirt! (I was certain of the Spider Man t-shirt.)
He and his friends stayed close behind and I was eager to tally my score, but I wasn’t going to turn until I had him down completely.
I listened for more clues and paid attention to his friends and I decided the boy was out with his sisters. (He wouldn’t have a girlfriend, too awkward, and certainly not two.) They were Asian. Accents are simple to pick up. I began to put a few remaining pieces together based on that alone. Stereotypes are a horrible thing, but useful.
He would have a bowl haircut, thin bangs, and a few unshaven whiskers on his cheeky round face. Glasses, for sure. Probably wire rims, probably dirty. He’d look like he could kick your ass in chess. He would be one of the few people I would see that day with a digital wrist watch. His sisters would be ignoring him.
Now I was ready…
I picked up my pace to put a little more distance between me and them before turning around (I didn’t want them plowing into me) and guess what I saw? I saw victory! Holy cow! Take a look!
Ha! It doesn’t take much to make my day. I went down the path, nearly at a sprint, so I could stop and take a picture.
Let’s take a look. I am good at many things, but rarely have I been so good at this game. Of course I missed a few things. I should have known he’d have a Darth Vader t-shirt (so obvious!) and why didn’t I peg the color black? Otherwise, did I miss anything?
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