Some people drive to work. Others bike or hop on the train, bus, light-rail, or ferry. Still others run, walk, scoot, or rollerblade. There are, perhaps, a few that cartwheel, skip, grapevine, ride a hovercraft, tesselate, or apparate.
But it is a small minority indeed that speed-walks to work. In fact, from what I can see, I’m the only SWLKR, making me the Bay Area’s foremost speed-walking commuter.
Speed-walking is like walking, except faster and dorkier. I like to keep my arms up and moving at a brisk pace to avoid finger swell, one of the foremost dangers of long periods of speed-walking.
As the Bay Area’s expert SWLKR, you probably have a lot of questions for me, and these I am happy to answer if you leave them in the comments below.
For now, I give you 10 tidbits, just a sample of the mind-juice I’ve squeezed from my walking grapes.
1. No one else speed-walks to work.
2. Speed-walking past someone is, by far, the most awkward way to pass someone. Especially if there’s a stoplight coming up. And they’re your co-worker. And you stand behind them because you don’t want them to see you in your tennies and backsweat. And then you walk at a normal pace so you don’t have to talk to them, but end up taking the elevator with them anyways.
3. Speed-walking up a hill makes one look just as foolish and out of shape as running on a flat stretch of land.
4. Speed-walkers get more love from the general public than other kinds of commuters. To date, I’ve gotten two thumbs up, countless smiles, and one (friendly) comment.
5. If you’re speed-walking, it’s a shorter step to running across the street to avoid waiting for a red light than if you’re just walking.
6. Wearing tennies, athletic capri pants, and a backpack in downtown San Francisco at 7:45 am in the morning is a great way to avoid fitting in with the corporate culture or getting respect from people who dole it out based on appearance.
7. Sweat still happens, but like most liquids, it dries.
8. People are often frightened by speed-walkers, the bizarre combination of quick but not-too quick movement that makes them think someone’s trying to sneak up on them but no it’s just me, your friendly office employee heading downtown to do some thought work.
9. There are three major hills I have to overcome as I head into town from the Richmond, but they don’t always pay off in beautiful views. Rather, the views come when you least expect them, like when I saw the Golden Gate bridge randomly yesterday and a rainbow today.
10. Beauty is everywhere. I saw a bird fly from a blossoming tree branch as two flowers fell to the ground and thought it was incredible. Then I realized what a romantic sap I was and that I probably shouldn’t share that moment with anyone.
11. If you keep your eyes open, you’ll see something new everyday. And I think that’s the most important lesson of all.