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Opinion

Various sidewalk travelers create apprehension

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September 23, 2010

Have you ever found yourself dreading the walk to classes, not because you are not particularly looking forward to the class, but just the act of walking itself? Of course, we have all been there; some of us have even voiced our dreams of teleportation out loud.  But what is it about our daily sidewalk promenades that make us so reluctant? You can blame it on fatigue (and perhaps on Friday mornings that is the legitimate reason), but I think the blame can be put on the five types of people you meet on UW-River Falls’ sidewalks.

The first kind of person that you may encounter on the sidewalk is the ever speedy but surprisingly stealthy bicyclist. Generally, it can be quite difficult to predict the exact moment when they will be whizzing past you. Any normal person just walking down the sidewalk is most likely deaf to the signs of a potential bicyclist attack. But if you listen carefully, you will undoubtedly recognize the whirring buzz of the wheels as well as the clicking of the spokes as the distant biker races toward you. Really open your ears to these distinct sounds and know that it may take some training. Your time will be well spent, lest you want to be frantically diving out of the way of these two-wheeled speed demons.

Speaking of speed, allow me to introduce the second category of people that you may meet, a group that I like to call the “Speed Impaired.” They come in two different types of inconvenient.

First, there are the people who walk way too slow, but for whatever reason you cannot pass. There isn’t really anything else that irritates me more than when I have somewhere to be and I am stuck walking behind Mr. Dawdle.  Seriously, drink some caffeine, listen to “Wannabe” by the Spice Girls (yeah) or catch a ride with a bicyclist; anything to get you moving. Thank you.

Next, there are the people who walk way too fast.  You know these guys instantly because they step on the backs of your shoes and breathe on your neck.  It’s just creepy, so take some notes from Mr. Dawdle and back off.  (Now you are thinking, “what a hypocrite; she wants people to walk slower and faster?”  Exactly.)

Have you ever been casually walking through campus when out of nowhere, this group of people all start sprinting toward you. Confusedly, you look around for the fire but see nothing. In the time it takes to figure out what is really going on, that same group of runners completely surrounds you on the sidewalk and all you can do is pray that you don’t literally get run over. Terrifying, right? At least with bikers, you have the option of diving for your life.

Let’s all take a walk down memory lane for a moment and think about something as simple as elementary school hallway rules. Every time you left the safety of your classroom you first got into a single file line and stayed on the right side of the hallway. Second grade teachers all around the country know this is the best way to keep mayhem at bay. The same rule should apply twelve years later on the sidewalk.

And let’s not forget the smokers who are number four on this list. You can easily find these ones for they leave a toxic smoke trail wherever they venture, which is not usually far from any building (twenty-five feet people). Clearly you failed Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.), but as a review, this is what you need to know: cigarettes will kill you and potentially me. So do us all a favor and spend your money on something that will make your life worthwhile.

And lastly, the next group of people you will hopefully meet are the little tikes from the CHILD Center. Okay, they don’t aggravate me, but anything that cute is worth mentioning.

Alright, so the five types of people you meet on the UWRF sidewalks are definitely not as profound or meaningful as the five people you meet in Heaven, but they are a big part of our daily lives in very small ways.  Acknowledging that they exist is the first step to positively dealing with them which gets you a step closer to class.

Ashley Cress is a student at UW-River Falls.

Comments

Raissa on 27 Sep 2010: Clearly, you haven't been invaded by skateboarders yet. Worse than bikes here.