Get out of my way! This is a phrase that quite often flits guiltily through my thoughts, and the reason for this is that I am a self-confessed fast walker. I just naturally bound along at a fair old pace, getting to wherever I am going as quickly as my legs will realistically take me, short of breaking into a trot. I can’t help it – I just can’t walk slowly. And I don’t want to either. Walking quickly keeps you fitter and saves you time. It’s a win-win, surely?
However, as I negotiate the people hazards around me, it is clear that I am in a minority. Most people seem to be happy to amble. This is even more accentuated if you live in a tourist town – which of course many readers no doubt do – as the last thing you associate with a tourist is a zippy mover. Tourism is all about dawdling, looking round you, wandering about (often aimlessly), and just breathing in the atmosphere of a different culture. That’s fair enough, I can excuse that. I’ve occasionally been known to do it myself. But what annoys me is people going about their daily routines who have no business shuffling along like a sloth dragging an anchor, particularly if walking three abreast on a narrow pavement.
I was once leaving my office at work and I spotted a chap I knew from another department heading through the door ahead of me. He laboured under the misfortune of being a remarkably dull man, and conversations with him were invariably tedious, so I thought I would hang back and give him time to disappear into the distance. I studied my phone for a few minutes, and after judging that sufficient time had passed, I strode through the front door, turned left, and there, no more than 150 yards ahead of me, was Mr Dull, mournfully dragging one foot in front of the other at a pace that I would have described as pedestrian, were it not for the fact that all the other pedestrians were quicker than him.
I had no option but to begin walking behind him, hoping he would reach the station before I did, but it was soon obvious that this would not happen. However slowly I tried to walk, I was rapidly gaining on him. It was almost magical how he appeared to be moving his legs yet not advancing any further along. In the end I nipped down a side street, went round the block, and still got to the station well before him.
This got me thinking about ‘slow people’. If they walk slowly, do they think slowly, eat slowly, take longer to do their jobs? Do fast legs translate into fast brains? Should prospective employers do tests for this? Or are fast people likely to rush things and be less careful? All questions which are probably unacceptable in today’s world, so let me immediately apologise for ‘slow-shaming’. Right, must dash!