The other day, I was walking from building to building at work when someone I don’t know fell into step behind me and exclaimed “that’s a brisk gait!”
I’d normally appreciate this kind of weird vocabulary, but in this case, it sounded like he was making fun of me. I normally walk fast, but at work I walk really fast, especially when I’m trying to get from one place to another in the very brief amount of time that constitutes my break. So, yeah, I do have a brisk gait, but it seemed kind of dumb for him to comment on it.
So I turned to this person I’d never even met and said “Are you making fun of me?”
“It’s a funny walk!” he said, “Like this!”
And then he proceeded to perform this exaggerated Muppet walk that looked like a power walker having a fight with somebody but only being allowed to move the arms and only below the elbows.
I do not walk like that.
I snapped, “I don’t walk like that and I’m at work. I have things to do. You probably do, as well.”
“No no, I didn’t mean that,” he backpedaled, although at that point I wasn’t interested in this thing that he tried passing off as an apology.
Seriously? You make fun of the way I look? Dude, you are a 50-year-old man wearing a Mark Ecko hoodie and a Tampa Bay Bucs hat. I don’t think you’re in the position to deride anyone’s appearance, especially the appearance of someone who walks like a totally normal person who just happens to have somewhere to go.
I have always walked fast. To start, my father is 6’2”. That doesn’t sound like a lot now – at least not compared to Graham, who is 6’4” – but when you’re four years old and trying to keep up, it’s pretty tall. And like me (or rather, I am like him), my father’s legs make up the long majority of his body. We are long people. We don’t so much walk as we stride.
(Actually, my dad only strides sometimes. Mostly, he ambles. It’s a peculiar walk and I will be happy to show you sometime in person but for now just picture a stretchy cartoon cowboy who doesn’t move his arms very much and actually still says “howdy” fairly often.)
So I’ve been walking fast ever since I was a kid just to match pace, and once I got older, I mostly had jobs that required me to move fast. Food service. Bartending. A fitness center (a few of them, actually). By the time I moved into cubicle monkey office work, the kind that makes your ass flat and the rest of you flabby, I was already in the habit of walking fast everywhere. It’s just how I am.
I don’t look weird, by the way. I may walk fast, but I don’t jut my elbows out or swing my hips around. I just walk in a regular way that might be a little bit faster than what this apparently slow idiot at my work is used to seeing.
I just can’t figure out why, barring an injury or disability or other real issue, anyone would choose to walk slow. Don’t you have things to do? Don’t you have to be somewhere? I assume you do, that’s why you’re ambulatory in the first place. What’s the hold up? Are you trying to “stop and smell the roses,” even though there are no roses and you’re just being a shitty lump in the supermarket parking lot? What are you waiting for?
I mean, just…just move your ass. You may think it’s silly to have a “brisk gait,” but I think it’s stupid to hold everybody up because you’re too lazy to get a goddamn move on.