Bob McPhail 6:31 a.m., May 19
Yesterday, I went on a walk from my apartment in University Heights to Hillcrest. My mission, was to buy a pound of coffee at Peets, my other goal was the opportunity of doing a good three mile walk. Generally, I walk the alley as far as I can, then cruise over to Richmond to get to University, yesterday was no exception. The weather was perfect, not too hot, not too cold, I wore my sunscreen and hat, had my ecco-friendly shopping bag, my sensible shoes, I was hydrated, I had a good but small lunch, I like to take good care of myself. Once upon a time I lived in the country and walking was my favorite way of going anywhere. City life changes that whole experience for me; let me explain. I still enjoy looking at all the flowers and trees and the wonderful magic of impressions in concrete, bird song, architectural playfulness, wind chimes, I appreciate where I am living, the automobile however creates a threat that keeps me vigilant, and that I don’t appreciate. I’m not talking about cars parked here and there and everywhere, that is to be expected. What isn’t expected is the driver backing out at unsafe speed, I don’t like that anywhere, from your garage into the alley, Trader Joe’s back lot, any parking lot and whether walking or driving I prefer people to be paying attention. It’s difficult to pay attention while fastening your seatbelt, finishing your phone call or cup of coffee; you know what I mean; being distracted. Like I said, I am pretty vigilant walking or driving; it’s scary out there. Back to yesterday, crossing at crosswalks and using traffic signals is second nature to me now, it has to be, otherwise I am unseen. Yesterday I felt invisible. At one point, I had to yell “hello” to a driver making a right on red, she didn’t even look to see if I was coming; I know this because I try to make eye contact with the driver I am walking in front of. Seriously, I almost got hit four times yesterday! One driver didn’t notice a stop sign, another did a “California stop” and there I am in the middle of a cross walk feeling like I am playing “chicken”. I don’t want to hit anyone and I don’t want anyone to hit me or the people I love, even those I don’t know. I pray for all beings to be happy. I also pray you stay focused when you are walking, driving, or on your bicycle. Be here now. I hope you are not reading this while you are driving or walking.