Learning to Tolerate the Art of Slow Walking
Picture, for a moment, Manhattan. Important people dressed in suits rush hurriedly down sidewalks, juggling their cellphones, briefcases and coffee mugs. There’s no time to waste, and each confident stride has an extra kick of energy; if you’re faster than the other guy, you’ll get there first and win the contract! Get the promotion! American Dream coming through, make way!
That’s what I’m used to. To me, the reason for a sidewalk, the point of its existence, is to get you to where you’re going as quickly as possible. But here in Oviedo, people seem to have an entirely different interpretation of the sidewalk. They stroll casually along, stopping at every storefront, greeting friends and even just sometimes standing there, having a big time. For ovetenses, the sidewalk seems to be the destination. It’s baffling!
It can get frustrating. I am too busy being American, trying to Achieve and “Be The Very Best I Can Be”. And this group of ladies in front of me, they’re all spread out on the sidewalk. Four of them in a perfect, impenetrable line, and now they’ve slowed down even further. They’re also swaying, walking in unpredictable zig zags, cleverly discouraging any attempt at passing. Devious dawdlers!
There’s no way to fight it, so I’m trying to see the benefit. Life is paced differently here, and perhaps slowing down isn’t such a bad idea. Another thing to remember about Manhattan is that stressed-out grimace of determination on everyone’s face. Here, you don’t see that so much. Try walking at a slow, leisurely pace with a stressed-out grimace of determination. It’s very difficult, and looks ridiculous! So, I’ll slow down. The truth is, I don’t even know why I’m always in such a big hurry anyway.