Comforting the dreaded pedestrian ‘Walk of Shame’

November 12, 2010

“BE CAREFUL!” yelled an irate driver through his open passenger window, rolled down, I assume, for the express purpose of berating my curb-mate. The unlucky fellow had stepped into the crosswalk prematurely, trying to beat the light, and had nearly been mowed down at 7:50am on a Friday – what a way to start the weekend!

But the driver who balled him out was three cars behind the action. He had no reason to get involved, and I felt for the poor victim. Calgary drivers aren’t so careful themselves, and I’ve reamed out more than a few while hiking this concrete jungle. But while it’s easy to slink away unknown in your glassed-in Cavalier, it’s much harder to keep your head up when you have to walk down the street step-in-step with the witness to your humiliation.

He was a small man, with scuffed shoes and a shabby, beat-up briefcase. His shoulders slumped down further after the attack. He hung his head as we crossed the street together. My heart went out to him and I tried to think of something to say to ease his embarrassment. But, really, what can you say?

So instead, I did something. I gave him a knowing half-smile, then made a jaywalker’s mad dash across all four lanes of 7th Avenue.

There are many ways to let a man know that he is not alone.

(image source)


A short note on the injustice of other people eating bacon at 7:10AM

May 21, 2009

My walk to work takes me through one of Calgary’s swankiest neighbourhoods. Wandering through The Better Homes and Gardens Theme Park so early in the morning can be pretty demoralizing to those of us not booked on a flight to Cannes this week. I can deal with picturesque window treatments and carefully landscaped lawns. Current model BMWs cutting me off on the sidewalk? No problem. But…

A line was crossed today. There is one house on the route so magnificent, so architecturally breathtaking in all its cedar shingled glory, that even its Home Depot outdoor potters transend our reality to honour the sublime. Anyways, that house, that family, was cooking bacon at 7:10 this morning! Is it really so much to ask that there be just a little pinch of justice for those of us with empty stomachs trudging by in beat-up sneaks? 

But then again, what a wonderful way to find out, at 7:10am, that yes, it is possible to have everything.