Feet on the Road

Pedestrian-Crossingby baldilocks

Today I walked to the library to print out the postage that Amazon sent me so that I could return a non-operational shredder that stopped working after a few months (yes, I oiled it). Then I walked over to a UPS store to send the package. It was a nice little trek.

I’ve been without a car since the summer of 2014. LA is not like eastern cities. If you don’t have a car, you’re almost nothing and many drivers treat you like it, especially if you’re pulling indicators of your car-less status, like a rolling backpack or a personal shopping cart. I use both regularly, after having injured the entire right side of my body while carrying a heavy load on my shoulder. Ah, old age.

When I get rich, I’m going to set up a camera on some busy corner to document and snitch on all the drivers who barely miss—or hit—pedestrians as the latter are crossing the street with the right-of-way. Usually, this happens when the driver is making a right turn. But I’ve had more than one driver make a left turn right in front of me.

There are nice drivers, however; those who stop when I’m trying to cross an intersection where there is no signal and even those who mess up because they didn’t see me and apologize when they realize that they’ve erred. And it could be worse; I’ve seen what Nairobi pedestrians have to deal with.

Outside of dodging drivers, there’s an interesting side to long walks in big cities: the small businesses to which one is necessarily oblivious when driving down the street. Capitalism is still breathing, even in California. Call it an upside.

Being stripped of many of my material possessions has opened my eyes to many things—my own obliviousness, for one.

Plans: more walking. My legs hurt, probably from yesterday’s walk. I’ve been sitting around too much.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel will be done in 2016. Follow her on Twitter.

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