Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The politics of walking

I should really get around to having EFTPOS II towed away. While the engine runs fine, the electrics are naff and the only thing holding the rust together is the paint job. If I lived anywhere else, I'd miss the wheels. But not here.

Between the Green Belt, the old Maori tracks, the ziggy-zaggy paths marked by white wooden rails and/or white painted steps, who needs a car? Walking requires no WOF, rego, petrol, insurance, parking fines, speeding tickets, panel-beating. No helmet. No licence plate. Wellington is beautiful. Houses in various states of existence clinging to the hills. Unexpected vistas, unreachable when driving. Walking through the town is like passing through the pages of a pop-up book. Probably a Grimm story. At least, that's the vibe on the street.

Single Male Walking is different from other pedestrians. DPF reckons it is overkill to cross the street if a woman is approaching in the opposite direction. However, I've observed many women crossing the street to avoid me, at times walking recklessly into heavy traffic to do so. In rare displays of empathy, I've even crossed the road so they don't have to. Yes, it is overkill but I still do it.

For some reason I have yet to fathom, people seem to remember my face. That's a fairly good deterrent, if it ever got to the improbable stage where I reversed the habits of a lifetime and decided to attack a passer-by. If that's not enough, my sartorial eccentricities would be a giveaway. Wearing a possum fur hat can do that. It's not the eye contact. No chance of that. I don't go walking to pick up chicks anyway. I go walking to get from A to B.

Yet this fear on the streets persists. Is it some strange vibe that women walking alone think everyone's going to rape them? Don't flatter yourselves. Or, at the very least, learn self-defence and stop projecting your irrationalities onto harmless weirdos.