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Archive for January 20th, 2010

The recent decent weather we’ve been having (at least in DC) has reminded me of one of the reasons that I moved into the city from Northern Virginia in the first place: the fact that I can walk to work.

I’ve been lazy of late, taking the bus and often waiting for so long that I could be halfway to work by the time it came. But by walking, you get one perk that the bus doesn’t always offer: people watching.

Sure, when you’re on the bus, you’re generally packed in with about 30 other people – all avoiding eye contact while trying to maintain their own personal space, of course. But that doesn’t always give you the opportunity be observant. Personally, I’m usually just trying to keep my balance and not give an accidental lap dance to whoever’s seated in front of me.

But I digress.

By walking to work, I noticed that I’ve seen the same distinct types of commuters nearly every day.

1) The Eternal Multi-tasker

The Eternal Multi-tasker is at the very¬† least on his or her cell phone while walking, but often manages to accomplish much more. I’ve seen TEM chatting via bluetooth, reading the newspaper, and occasionally double checking something on her PDA. All at a very fast clip. To be honest, I can’t help but be a little impressed. For as much of a multi-tasker as I consider myself, I can generally only walk and talk on the phone at the same time. Forget this reading nonsense.

2) The Shifter

Sometimes I swear that The Shifter is there for the sole purpose of being an obstacle that drives you crazy. Kind of like the green turtle shells in Mario Kart. He usually doesn’t walk that fast, so when you try to get around him, his sixth sense kicks in, and he manages to move right in front of you. This can continue for several blocks, so the best way, I’ve found, to get rid of a Shifter is to ditch him at the light. Make a mad dash across the intersection and hope he continues his slow shift…but behind you.

3) Speed Racer

However fast you’re going, it’s not fast enough for Speed Racer. She’s the one you see weaving in and out of crowds on the sidewalk, whose stride looks like a sprint. And if she gets caught at a red light? Well, don’t get in her way when it turns green, because she’ll be off like a shot. You might just get run over.

4) The Awkward Runner

There are two things that make The Awkward Runner awkward. One, is the length of the run. Most often you’ll see TAR running for a bus. They’ll start speed walking (but without the skill of a Speed Racer) when they see a bus in the distance, heading their way. Then, they’ll reach a point where they think, “shit, I’m never going to make it – I should run!” And so they do…for about half a block, before they switch back to speed walking and praying that they’ll make it.

And nine times out of ten TAR has a backpack or messenger bag on (awkard thing number two). Have you ever tried to run while wearing a backpack of some sort? There’s really no easy way to do it. It flops all around and you feel like a fool. And then when you finally reach the bus doors all the kids laugh at you because they saw you running up the street and you wish that you’d just gone back home and gotten your mom to drive you to school and….

I mean…you get the idea.

The point is, you’re almost never going to see an Awkward Runner if you take the bus.

Unless you get a window seat. And I’m running late one day.

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