I’m late, I’m late, I’m late!
Just kidding; I am never late. Ever. I’m late if I’m not early.
However, I have a tendency to walk like I am perpetually running late for something. Like the bus stop is a five-minute walk and I am three minutes behind, except that I drive a car and I watch the traffic report while I get ready in the morning, after I wake up at least two hours prior to when I have to leave.
Part of me wants to associate this habit to the fact that my dad is very tall, so whenever we went somewhere together when I was a child, I had to practically jog the whole time to keep up with his freakishly long strides. I did not complain about this; I was a bottomless well of childhood energy and welcomed every opportunity to burn some of it up, and jogging through the mall in order to keep up with my dad was a perfectly appropriate situation where someone wouldn’t yell “WALK!” at me.
In reality, I’m sure I was more speed walking than jogging, but I digress. The habit stuck with me indefinitely, from bobbing and weaving through the slow students in college, so many of whom seemed to just sort of waddle about as slowly as possible while staring at their phones and trying to hog the whole sidewalk. Inside my head, I was yelling at them all to move your ass! I am in a huge rush. . . to get to my car . . . to get home . . . where I have nothing to do and no plans and no roommate and no urgent deadlines to meet. Whatever; just move it!
I’ve been called out for this behavior when walking on the beach at night with friends (which I dearly miss, but my friends have moved away, and I have moved away from the beach, which used to be my calming sanctuary where I could just drive the five minutes to lie down on a towel, bury my toes in the soft, white sand, listen to the symphony of the waves, and just sort of let my busy, busy mind float away on the soft salt air. . . )
“Dude, walk slower!” they would say—a rather rash, unwelcome jolt from my quiet reverie (a little rude, if you ask me). “What’s wrong with you? This is supposed to be a leisurely stroll, not a 15-meter dash.”
“Well why didn’t you tell me? I thought we were working out.”
“If we were working out, we wouldn’t be carrying a bottle of Jager.” (We were around 19–22 at this time, so really, it was perfectly logical for one to have equated “working out” with taking shots of Jagermeister straight from the bottle while speed walking on the beach at midnight).
At work, at 30, I find myself speed walking to the bathroom. Like if I don’t get there quickly, it very well may vanish from existence. And I’m sure it has remained right there in the same place it has been ever since it was built there however many years ago (yeah, I didn’t do a whole lot of research on the expansion of this college).
Sometimes I catch myself, and I say to myself, “Self, why don’t you walk a little more slowly? Do you see anyone else in such a mad hurry? Won’t slowing down a bit help the day go by faster?” Then I try to slow down, but it is almost painful to do so; it literally requires a continuous, conscious effort. Besides, if I really want to make the day go by faster—if I really need to burn off some of that compulsive speed-walking energy—I’ll just march straight back to my desk, grab my bottle of water, and go speed walk around the building a couple times. If nothing else, it’ll get me out of that arctic freezer of an office where I’d otherwise be sitting shivering in a cardigan, but that is a complaint for a whole different post, perhaps one entitled, “Why the Fuck am I Freezing in July?”
For the time being, I should really just invest in a waistcoat and an antique pocket watch and accept myself already.