Sunday, October 16, 2011

Watch for walkers

As I have grown older, walking has become my favorite form of exercise. Most days in the late afternoon, I take a brisk walk near my home in Manchester.

Fortunately, I have plenty of room to take my jaunts. I live near the city park, and during my lifetime, the city has done a nice job developing the park for walkers. From humble origins, a nice greenway has been developed that is a blessing for the city.

The path I usually take meanders through the park back under the Murfreesboro highway. At that point, I take the sidewalk at the bottom of the hill and walk back toward the town square.

The hill there is steep, and in recent years, I have appreciated more what a formidable adversary gravity is. It didn't used to be that challenging, but the relentless march of age has made it more difficult.

A few years ago, the city put a walk signal at the intersection of Fort Street and the highway. I like that because I enjoy walking through the town square as I make my way home. All a person has to do is press a button, and the sign there tells him or her when it is time to cross the road.

In theory, this is a very safe way to cross the road, but I have recently had to cut out that portion of my walk. Unfortunately, many drivers do not know or care that there is a walk signal there for pedestrians. More than once I have had to dance around cars that have tried to turn me into road kill.

The most recent example was a couple of weeks ago. I was walking across the road when a driver turning from Fort Street on to the Murfreesboro highway almost knocked me off my feet. The driver was talking on a cell phone, did not slow down, and missed me by only a couple of feet.

It made me angry, and I wish I had done a better job of thinking on my feet. If I had, I possibly could have gotten the driver’s license plate information. Better yet, I could have "bumped" into the car and flopped onto the pavement.

After that, I could have made one quick call to Bart Durham, and I would have been on the road to Easy Street. There are many healthy-looking people in his commercials that have gotten a lot of money. Durham makes it look simple.

All kidding aside, the unfortunate aspect of my experiences is that I do not think there is anything that can be done to thwart these uncaring drivers. If drivers see people walking across the road and still do not slow down, then they obviously do not care.

I know I am stereotyping here somewhat. The majority of drivers are fine. However, it just takes a few reckless people to cause a horrifying accident.

My thoughts keep going back to that last driver who cut me off. She was talking on her cell phone and appeared oblivious to what was going on.

Her actions are a sign of times. Some people believe they are so important that they can't be away from their phones for a few minutes. Technology is nice, but I view driving my car as an opportunity to get some peace and quiet. Obviously, others do not think that way.

I still take a nice walk. I've just had to modify it somewhat.

That's too bad. Then again, I don't want to become someone's personal hood ornament.

The entire purpose of my walks is to get into better physical shape and not to become a stain on the road.


Anonymous said...

I thought this piece was going to be about zombies and The Walking Dead. Imagine my disappointment ...

Chris said...

In a way, it was....except the zombies were drivers.