“Walk this way” on Bayview

The Leaside Observer

Bayview Avenue street sign.

February arrived and so did spring, it seemed. 

On one of these unseasonably warm days I made my way along Bayview to the Leaside Observation Deck. Yep. Lit’s front window. And it is here I sat, struggling to come up with a topic for this issue when the subject literally walked right up to me and I had a front-row seat at Lit to observe and pass judgment.

It would seem there are as many kinds of walking styles as there are people. No two are alike. And not one can really be defined as “normal.” Who among us, at some point, hasn’t seen a walk and thought, “Sweet mother of pearl, WHO walks like that?” Until, that is, we catch our own reflection in a window. I remember when I first caught my own, and was horrified at the stiff bird walking with my head on it. Ah, but let me deflect and assuage my self-loathing by casting judgment on the walk of others I witnessed on this beautiful day, if I may ….

The saunterer: Regardless of whether the traffic light is turning yellow, or a horde of chain-saw wielding zombies is closing in behind them, the Saunterer feels no pressure or guilt and will always move at the S’s own lackadaisical pace. Even more frustrating is the fact that the speed of the walk is inversely proportional to the urgency of your own.

The buzzer beater: I spotted a harried gentleman, with “hair” that looks to be straight from a can of Ronco’s Great Looking Hair #9, fast-walking across the Millwood intersection to beat the light. (Which also reminds me that I should try to dig out my Pocket Fisherman.) His walk was no quicker than anyone else’s but his arms pumped jerkily, like a wind-up toy soldier. All to create the illusion of trying to beat the Don’t Walk signal before it counts down. Gagnant! Winner!

The straight-arm walker: The Straight-Armer has no elbow joints or shoulder rotation. All their walking energy is channeled into the legs. They lean forward with clenched mouth, as if fighting a stiff wind. Or holding one in.

The meanderer: Being born with one leg shorter than the other is the only way to explain why this walker drifts from one side of the path to the other, in a long, slow, oblivious arc. Given enough berth, the Meanderer, with one short leg, walks in a circle so perfect that it would make pi envious.

The wexter: You guessed it; the walker who texts. No one really knows what they look like, as we’ve only ever seen the top of their head.

The Ringo: Air drummer. With head phones in, we are all treated to a visual show of what an amazing musician this person is, in their own mind.

The “Hey Look At Me, I Jog!” walker: Okay, so not a walker, per se. But worth mentioning since there’s always one on a busy sidewalk. Three words: It’s a sideWALK. We know you jog. Your outfit is simply smashing. But there are beautiful side streets where you could actually run.

The searcher: Like a metal detector with legs, and head darting like a bird, the Searcher searches. Loose change? A possible lottery ticket? A points card? Nothing escapes them. And they claim their prize fast, changing direction without warning, or worse, stopping on a dime to pick up a dime. If you’re tailgating, you could find yourself starting a conga line that would rival one on singles night at Club Med.

The captain of industry: Two days before, I spotted this walker exiting Smokin’ Cigar in a billowy blue haze. With a backward-leaning gait, he brandished his stogie with theatrical waves of his hand and loud-talked important business into his phone. At one point, he bellowed his very clever one-liner: “That’s when I said, ‘If this weather is climate change, I’ll buy another five thousand shares!’” Wheezy guffaws petered out into a sanatorium-worthy coughing fit.

Three Americanos later, I discovered my last walk of the afternoon. As I packed up my gear and got my coat on, I headed to the door to the downstairs of Lit, with a slightly frantic, short-striding shuffle. The telltale sign of the unmistakable gotta pee walk.

Keep on walkin’!

Along with being co-founder of advertising agency Grip Limited, and partner in ManleyUnderwear.com, David Crichton has won numerous awards for his writing, including a Kitchener-Waterloo Kiwanis Club Silver Trophy, in Grade 7.