Bookmark #176

Why I do what I do? Well, the answer is hidden in why I walk, but to get there, you must walk with me. Ah, you’re here already. You know the first thing I do whenever I move somewhere is to walk in the neighbourhood—even when I’m travelling. It’s one of the best ways to understand a place. When you’re moving too fast, say, in a taxi, you often see people, but you miss their faces.

You see that old man there? He likes sitting at the bus stop every day at around six-thirty. I know he likes sitting there because he’s not in a hurry to catch the bus. Instead, he’s always sitting there with his legs folded. I wonder what he waits for, but I never ask him. I just nod. He nods back.

I look forward to seeing—careful! There’s no sign, but there’s a hole in the sidewalk. They never closed it. You wouldn’t know, you barely take any walks, especially in this part of town. That’s okay. It’s why I make sure I always tell people about the pit here.

Anyway, as I was saying, the first thing I do is take a walk in the neighbourhood. You make friends that way. There’s a group that loads their truck right down the block. One day, I stopped and offered to help them. I admit I wasn’t much help that day, but now we just all smile and nod at each other.

Around the corner, you’ll find a few cabbies who I’ll smile at when we cross the road. I often get a cab here when I don’t have the luxury to walk. Oh, yes, it is a luxury. It is a luxury to go somewhere in your own time. I’m not like a lot of other walkers. They only walk for leisure. To me, leisure is part of it, part of it is getting where you’re going. I believe, if you go too fast, you miss stuff.

I often help people with directions. I’ve realised they only stop to ask those who are walking fast, like us right now, because we know where we’re going. The café is just around the corner. You see, people need someone who knows where they’re going but not going there fast. That is, in fact, why I prefer walking. There has to be someone slow enough to help others with directions.

Ah, we’ve reached the coffee shop. It’s cold. Let’s go inside. Oh, you want to sit outside. Well, that works for me. We’ll sit outside.