Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Pedestrian dodgeing

Here in Norway pedestrians are considered sacrosanct. At least they consider themselves as such, the drivers play along. It seems to be a fun game, like those trust exercises where you fall into the arms of the person behind you. Only in this game the arms are a two ton truck and you want ot avoid them. The rules go like this; without looking left or right the pedestrian hurdles himself boldly into the crosswalk, eyes fixed dead ahead, trusting that the driver is not a 89 year old with partial blindness (what are the chances really), or a vapid idiot on their cell phone, or any number of potential catastrophes. The Pedestrian crosses at a slow walk, almost a saunter, as if to say “Yes I win, and yes I look great doing it”, he then makes it to the other side and thinks wistfully of the next street crossing. The drivers seem excited for this game as they pay very close attention…most of the time.

This is dumb, If I had a nickel for every time I have seen this in the last couple of months I would be able to buy several cups of coffee ( it is more expensive here). I like that people break for pedestrians, it makes walking in the city far more fun. I am never going to trust another driver though, when I am in the car all the other drivers are dangerous idiots and I need to pay attention in case they do something dumb. That Is my opinion when walking as well. I have stopped Anna several times when she was stepping into the crosswalk, the car that was coming always stopped, but it has been close. Paying attention isn’t hard, you watch the world around you and keep your shit together.

Although, it is really easy to be dumb. I was at the gym yesterday and I wanted to do some tire throws for rotational strength and explosive power. There is a concrete wall about a meter and a half high that I decided to throw the tire towards. As the day was sunny and I was sweaty and gross I decided to take my shirt off. I also had the thought “my glasses might fall off”, so I set them and my shirt on the rock wall and proceeded to thrown the tire like a mad man. After ten throws I switched to my left side, after the second throw I skimmed the top of the wall and knocked my shirt off. “Damn” I thought, now I need to get the tire. Once I got over the wall I thought “Shit, my glasses!”. I spent five minutes looking and dreading what I would find (smashed and twisted metal), apparently I have a very high opinion of myself, as the glasses were fine. If I had paid attention and used my brain I wouldn’t have had to do that. My glasses might have been smashed, and I am in Norway with no insurance or backup pair. It would have been an expensive situation.

I am not advocating paranoia; I am saying pay attention to what you do and how you do it. If you find negative patterns in your behavior address these issues. If you realize that you walk through the world like a zombie wake up. Life is precious; don’t spend it with your head up your ass doing stupid stuff all the time.

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