Tag Archives: walking

The Directionally Disabled Diva

I was walking in my neighborhood the other day when someone pulled over and asked me where a particular street was, which unbeknownst to this hapless soul, made about as much sense as asking Kim Kardashian for acting advice.

Why?

Because it’s not only possible, but 111 percent probable that if you dropped me into any area within a 20-mile radius of my house and gave me directions using only North, East, South and West, I would end up somewhere 40 miles away from my house.

A compass is as foreign to me as self-editing and maps are simply pretty pictures with lots of distracting colors that are entirely impossible to a) understand b) look at while driving and c) fold back up.

In other words, I have no sense of direction.

I’ve brought this up before, but was reminded when that guy asked me where that street was and 10 minutes later I realized I sent him in the completely opposite direction. This would be excusable in my warped brain if the street in question wasn’t literally ¼ mile from my own and the subject of a post a couple of years ago.

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  Someone decided that the “Milford” street sign in my neighborhood had suddenly graduated into something else a little sexier.

I thought maybe this directional disability would get better with time, but alas, it’s almost gotten worse. It’s not that I haven’t made a valiant effort to understand directions–I’m aware that north, east, south and west exist—it’s just that I don’t quite understand where they are in relation to where I am or want to be.

Highways aren’t referenced by specific names like 1-96 or 131, but rather “health food store highway” and “one that takes you to the gas station that has my favorite gum that everyone else stopped carrying. “

And while not many people ask me for directions after that first time, I actually feel much worse for people trying to give me directions somewhere. Here’s how it typically goes:

Other person: Go east on that road about five miles.

Me: Is east left or right?

Or

Other person: Head north on that street.

Me: If we’re standing in my driveway, is that behind me or in front of me?

In my head I see a flat map with north at the top, south at the bottom and the other two things on the sides. How this translates into real life is somewhat more complicated. Until someone paints a big N, E, S or W in the sky, I’m pretty much screwed.

But instead of lamenting the fact that my internal compass is as reliable as a Magic 8 ball, I’ve just accepted the fact that I might not always know where I’m going — on foot or in my life, for that matter — but that it never hurts to ask.

Unless you’re going to ask me where to go.

In that case, you’re pretty much screwed.

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Talking Trash

When the weather permits, I do a lot of walking. And even though I’ve ranted before about the perils of pedestrian life, there is another facet of this endeavor that I have neglected to address until now.

I’ve held off addressing this in hopes that my eternal annoyance would disappear like my motivation to write has in the past couple of weeks. However, while walking the other day I was hit with another bolt of inspiration.

Wait. It wasn’t a bolt of inspiration. It was a mother freaking 7-11 Slurpee cup thrown out of a car going way too fast and blasting ridiculous music.

I WAS HIT IN THE BACK WITH TRASH!!!

Yes, my friends, one of my biggest pet peeves EVER is that of litter and the idiots who perform this inconsiderate and absolutely revolting act of using the world as their dumpster.

Now I ask you, what type of person just throws their shit out the window? What do they think is going to happen to it? It’s just going to magically disappear and that McDonald’s bag is going to be composted back into the soil that will later harvest the potatoes used to make the greasy French fries that once occupied said bag thrown on the side of the road?

I’ll tell you what type of person—a lazy person.

And I can just about guarantee that this lazy person is not driving a high-end sports car with delicate white satin seats that cannot be soiled by caviar juice, therefore necessitating the immediate removal of whatever caviar comes in out the car window.

In other words, I think the 1996 Ford pick-up with the window decal of Calvin pissing on the “Dodge” logo can handle having a burger wrapper on the floor for an hour.

But it’s not just getting blasted in the back with a Slurpee cup or a fast food bag, as there is litter all over the place. Between cigarette butts, junk food wrappers and even the occasional roadside bra that would likely have a more exciting story to tell than I ever will, crap is all over the place.

And I don’t know about you, but there are plenty of trashcans in my house. Maybe I’m fancy, but I have never been to the house of someone who doesn’t own a trashcan, and every gas station I have ever been to has had a trashcan.

There really is just no excuse, other than laziness.

OK. I have to admit that while I’ve never chucked a cup out the window or a wrapper on the grass, I used to have a habit of spitting out my gum in random places. It was part mini-rebellion, part lack of piece of paper to throw it in.

But I tried one too many times to throw it out my car window only to have it fly right back in or get stuck on the outside of the window and took it as a sign from the universe to change my ways. I realized that my actions could hurt people and some ant family could get stuck in that wad on their way to go ruin a picnic.

Or at the very least, gum would get stuck in my hair. Again.

Anyway, my point is that I WAS HIT IN THE BACK WITH TRASH!!! Pelted with dried Icee and disgust at the state of society! Forced to use both caps lock and exclamation points!

The world is not your trashcan and you should treat it as such. The last thing we need is a chipmunk picking up discarded cigarette butts and a nicotine addiction.

Or even worse—gum in her hair.

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Pedestrian Crossing

While I hate to curse things, I think it’s safe to say that spring has finally sprung in these parts.

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This means a) the eternal battle with the woodchuck in my yard has begun b) I can take walks without coming home and molesting the space heater and c) it won’t be long now until I start complaining about how hot it is.

But first I’m going to complain about something else related to point “b” above —assholes who drive cars and shouldn’t drive cars because they’re assholes who don’t respect the rights of pedestrians.

Pardon my language, but this pedestrian is rather PO’d.

Picture this scenario: A lovely 30-something year old woman is enjoying a walk in the fresh air, probably composing a wonderful blog post in her head that she’ll immediately forget the second she makes it back home.

The next thing you know, some Catholic school kid blasting vulgar rap out of his janky-ass car drives by and honks and/or yells something that no one on Earth can understand. However, the noise still scares the crap out of the lovely 30-something-year-old woman powerwalking up the street.

Why is that a thing?

While I’ve been known to yell at stupid drivers in their cars, the only time I might feel compelled to yell out of my car at a complete stranger walking on the street is if a bear was about to attack them. Even then, I might wait and see what develops from that situation first.

Now I know what you’re thinking: It’s probably because the lovely 30-something-year-old woman is hot and doing some sort of sexy cougar catwalk, drawing attention of all who pass by.

Not so much.

Those days are well in the past. Plus, age knows no bounds with douchebag driver behavior, as you get it from older guys, too (which really just makes it more sad.) And if you think I’m picking on men, let me throw out another scenario that happens with both of the sexes.

A lovely 30-something year old woman is enjoying a walk in the fresh air, creating stressful scenarios in her head of events that will probably never actually happen.

She approaches a stop sign, sees the coast is clear and proceeds to step into the street. All of a sudden someone driving while talking on their phone rolls up and through the stop sign, almost running over our Polish pedestrian.

News flash: Waving, nervously smiling and mouthing “sorry” does not help when you almost make me a hood ornament. One of these times I might throw myself onto the hood of your car and create a dramatic scene, just to freak you out.

Don’t doubt the extent of my crazy.

My point is that a windshield is not a force field of invincibility, and being inside a car does not mean you are outside the realm of normal social conventions. When approaching pedestrians, do not yell or repeatedly honk, and WE SEE YOU PICKING YOUR NOSE.

If you feel the need to verbally express yourself while operating a motor vehicle, might I suggest car karaoke? A few verses of “Dancing Queen” or Rage Against the Machine will surely exercise your lungs and your demons without leaving pedestrians crossed or imbedded in the grill of your car.

I think that’s a win-win for all.

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Backseat Driver

When it comes to driving, I would say I’m pretty average.

I’ve never been in an accident (insert superstitious knocking on wood here) and have only had one ticket—the story behind that one a post of it’s own. I admit I have my moments and we all know that I’m directionally disabled, but I generally drive rather aware of my surroundings.

With that said, I sometimes feel like 98 percent of people shouldn’t be allowed to operate a vehicle when it’s apparent they can’t operate a turn signal.

Maybe I’m getting old and cranky, but lately I find myself wanting to run people off the road if only so I can get out and school them on the fact that there are two lanes for a reason and speed limits are not beginning points for negotiations.

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In other words, if patience is a virtue, I am void of vehicular virtue.

So in the interest of keeping my road rage to a minimum, I  present to you a few observations and suggestions to anyone driving with their head up their ass.

  • If you beep your horn .03 seconds after the light changes green, I can promise I will shut off my car, lay on the hood and feed birds for an hour.
  • Pulling out in front of me and then proceeding to go ridiculously slow is not excused by the fact that you have those little family people stickers on the back window of your minivan or a WWJD bumper sticker.

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WWJD? He would go the speed limit.

  • However, pulling out in front of me and then proceeding to go ridiculously slow might be excused by the fact that you have a decal or bumper sticker representing a Detroit sports team or love of animals. Go team and go rescue a cat. 
  • While I appreciate caution, there is no need to stop completely when making a 90-degree turn where there’s no stop sign, stop lights or opposite-direction traffic.
  • However, there is a need for me to sing  everything from “Dancing Queen,”  to Rage Against the Machine at the top of my lungs. When it comes to car karaoke I’m sort of a professional, so your  stares will only encourage my behavior.
  • FYI: A car is not an invisibility force field that shields you from the general conventions of society. We can see you pick your nose. I don’t know if you lost your keys up there or what and to each their own, but when the intense picking of your honker causes you to forget that green means go, I will honk.

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Pick a lane, not your nose.

  • Finally, if you drive a semi truck, please do not race the semi truck in the lane right next to you, forcing all of us to watch this sad little drama play out. Nobody wins, especially the lines of cars stuck behind you. How’s your driving? Slow and reckless at the same time, a driving dichotomy if there ever was one.

And let’s not forget a couple things in regards to pedestrians—namely me—as I tend to take a lot of walks in the summer and prefer not to fear for my life.

  • If I’m walking and you’re driving, honking at me and yelling out your window will not encourage me to wave back. It will encourage me to flip you off, as it will scare the shit out of me.

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  • On that note, if you’re talking on your phone as you roll up and through a stop sign and almost run me over, waving, giggling and mouthing “sorry” does not help. One of these times I might just throw myself onto the hood of your car and create a dramatic scene just to freak you out.

Like I said, I am void of vehicular virtue.

You’ve been warned.