First off, I’d like to apologize for not writing in what has been a rather long time, considering my previous frequency of posting. I’ve just been ridiculously exhausted of late, and so, since writing requires a certain amount of brainpower, it’s been pushed aside for other more basic things like trying to sleep, trying to smile and trying to function at work. Despite still being chronically tired, I will make a real attempt to post more often. Now…
Throughout my life, sidewalks have held a lot more meaning to me than just a slab of concrete next to a road, created in order to ease the trials of people travelling by foot. Sidewalks are the highway of humanity, where people are paraded on display to each other and where the strangest little stories are created. So in this belated post, my sleep-deprived mind will be rambling about sidewalks. (And for anyone who read this post and enjoyed it and didn’t think it was really stupid, I have a short-story that I wrote a while back about sidewalks, and I’d be happy to share that with you upon request).
Follow the current.
Few things will increase your personal navigation-skills as the sidewalk. From watching out for little children and dogs hidden behind other people’s legs to darting out of the way of that large biker who seems unable to step aside for anyone, it tests our alertness and agility in an unexpected dance-pattern. I really enjoy this neat little dance, because even though it is just getting from one place to the next, there are so many tiny trials and tribulations along the way, all disguised in the form of singular humans, that it becomes a small adventure to me. And just being carried forward in that stream of people struggling in the same direction as you is like an out of this world experience. If you have ever been to a large city, you know what I mean. The beat of the feet on the sidewalk is the true city’s pulse.
Look and let your mind loose.
One of my favorite things in the world is sitting down outside a cafe in a strange city and just people-watch. Just sneakily take a quick peek at people and then in your head asses exactly who they are, where they are going, where they’ve been just now and what their immediate future holds in store. Oh yes, 95% of the time the stories that come to mind will be completely off the mark. But even so, it doesn’t matter in the least. These are all strangers that you will only see and hear for a few brief seconds, and they will never have to be informed of the twisted plot that your brain just created for them. It’s a wonderful way to pass an afternoon, and get yourself used to the multitude of mankind that flourishes on the big-city pavement.
The physical aspect.
I am rather accident-prone. *coughs*. Well pretty damn accident-prone. Not that I’ve broken anything. I just get minor cuts and bruises on average twice a day, and if I move, more. I still remember with some fondness the story of how I was walking next to my brother on the flat sidewalk and all of a sudden just disappeared. I had tripped. On nothing. It was like my knees just bent of their own will. But not all places have smooth and easy to traverse on sidewalks. St. John’s where I live right now is actually quite bad for it. The front of my shoes are all beat up because of the cracks and snags in the concrete. If you walk in the right parts of town you’ll find people’s hand-prints and names scribbled while it was still wet and fresh. Downtown there’s a guitar, immortalized by the perfect shape it left on the pavement. And if you don’t look down to study the bumps and slopes of the grey landscaped in front of your feet, how are you supposed to find all those lucky pennies that have fallen heads up?
From when sidewalks were just a path trampled through the grass next to the dirt-road, till when someone decided they would manifest it with concreted or stone, it has been the friend and confidant of people like me who enjoy to experience the world they are in while travelling through it. It gives us a chance to set our own pace, to meet new faces, to have those few seconds of smiling at a strangers dog as they pass you and the stranger smiling back. It’s where someone will stop to ask you for the time or a cigarette or directions, and you might end up having the most exciting conversation of the week. It’s the place where you see someone so outrageous you will have to hold your breath for several paces before you can burst out laughing without them hearing. It’s the place where you can get from one point to the next but make sure that you experience every single step of the way. I know I do.