Thursday, August 11, 2011

Defensive Walking

We all know we have to be defensive while driving a car. Here in México even more so, because traffic laws, stop signs (big as houses on some corners), roundabouts, stoplights, etc, are just 'suggestions' in the eyes of the local driver.  Also there are a lot of Chilangos in town (people who live in Mexico City where driving is the craziest I have ever experienced, including Bali - no rules at all - and driving in Australia with the steering wheel on the other side of the car, and driving on the other side of the road). They drive what to us appear to be narco cars ($$$$$$Mexico City$$$$$), although I am not accusing anyone of being a narco....ok, let's say they all look like CSI's in their Hummers and Giant Towncars.  Lastly, I don't think they give driving lessons to anyone in Mexico. If they can read the book (which is in pictures for those who are analphabetic), they get a license.  Scary.

But enough of white knuckle driving ranting, let's talk about walking. Last week I had to go to centro for some errands.  I didn't drive, it's 12 blocks. It would take me longer to get through traffic and find a parking lot than it takes to walk it.  Plus I like to work up a good sweat. Only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun, guess I am a mad dog.  The streets are loaded with pedestrians, with sidewalk sellers leaving very little sidewalk to walk on, bus stops with people lined up down the block.  People strolling along slowly, people hustling to get somewhere, people blocking the narrow sidewalks chatting, and buses jumping curbs trying to make tight turns. I walk very defensively, watching the pace of those in front of me, keeping an eye out for errant buses, and the tricky part is you also have to look down a lot to avoid potholes in the sidewalks.

I am going to make an embarrassing confession here.  I like to watch Top Model. Here we get America's, Brazil's, and Mexico's.  I have no idea why....other than when I was Jean Benet Ramsey's age my goal was to be Miss America (talk about misguided goals).  Thing is, I learn a lot from that show.  I could give a shit about the fashion industry.  But I love photography, and what they do is so creative.  Anyhow, that's not important. What I have  learned from those shows and taken to the streets is creative walking.  I am a fast walker. I have a hard time slowing down. My goal is to get from Point A to Point B, period. Not a window shopper.  I have used many methods I learned about walking a runway and having to share the runway with another 'model'.  I am able to get by the folks lingering and walking waaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy too slow for me.  In fact, I almost feel like it is an exercise in courteous runway walking to walk in centro.  The only thing I use the shop windows for is to check my posture. It hurts my back to see people slump. 

One last thing. When I first started visiting Mexico in the 70s, I was bothered by the vendors hassling me to buy stuff.  Now I realize that they are hawking because it is their job. I have found that a simple smile and no gracias will get them off your back, not offend them, and not work up my ire.

Perhaps you read ire in my blog today.  It's stress. Nothing new.  Have a good day.


Theresa in Mèrida said...

I cracked up when I read this. I can just see you runway walking.
Husband says that people here walk like they drive. They veer off at the last moment avoiding impending crashes.
I usually walk to downtown and take a bus back, the Amapola (catch it at C67 x 64 y 62 nearer 62) at stops right in front of my house and if you get on the right one it has a/c. The short ride revives me from all the walking downtown. The Sambula lets you off at La Ermita because it goes down C 62.


Linda Dorton said...

I don't know why the response I wrote yesterday didn't print. I will write down this bus info because the only reason I don't think to take the bus home is the intimidation factor. There are so many buses and stops, it is an art I shall try to work on this year. Thanks for the info. And I'm glad you liked the post.

PQ/CQ said...

We like to walk to, but we have promised ourselves that we will master some of the bus system so we can adventure without renting a car. I chuckled over your post as I am a closet "Top Model" viewer also! Pat

Beryl Gorbman said...

I don't like Top Model as much as Project Runway, but I get your point. Yes, walking downtown is an adventure. But sometimes it's fun to just be part of a moving, organic crowd, each person with a specific destination and in his own world..... Thanks for the amusing article.

Linda Dorton said...

I love Project Runway...I took sewing lessons in 5th grade and made many of my own clothes..specializing in "A-line" skirts....but there have been NO new shows. I've seen the reruns enough times already. There are new top models on tho! Mexico's AND the new America's! These are my only soap operas until Breaking Bad and Dexter return.

I enjoy walking downtown, I like the people watching and the variety of negocios taking place all over the place. It's a fun activity in itself if you are in the mood for the defensive walking method. Glad you enjoyed the post.