The Zombies Were Out
Today was a terrible pedestrian day on the bike path. It is normal for people to be walking slowly on the Mount Vernon trail bike path–especially at the little parks along the way. It is easy to call out “on your left” and slide past. No biggie–you just unclip and slow down when you get to the traffic areas and see the crowds getting thick. There are often a few people not keeping their kids on the safe side of the path and the occasional dog on too long a leash who want to jump out under your tire. But with some care and conversation it is easy for everyone to share the space. But there are also people who are so in their own heads that they are real hazards to themselves and others. Today there were at least three people who were just walking towards the path and starting to cross without even looking up or either way–like they were just walking across their bedroom! One can spot them up ahead before it is too late and in my mind I am just thinking–he is gonna stop…isn’t he?
It is a sort of a road–don’t you think? Pic from the Examiner.com
But they don’t. In one case it was some guy who seemed to be talking to people the other side of the path, in another it was just some older guy looking at his shoes with his wife behind him was looking at hers. There also was a guy who just wanted to walk on the path but felt no need to look to see if anyone was there already. Amazing. When that happens I just holler “heads up” as loud as I can and hope I can scare the crap out of them so they will not get slammed into next time. You have to yell loudly because so many people have earbuds furthering their isolation and even at low speeds sudden stops can be very bad. Do these people walk onto roads that way? The Mount Vernon Trail is a paved path with a broken yellow line down the middle–it is pretty darn official looking and no one can imagine that that it is something other than what it is. But once it gets warm there are these somnambulists who just zombie their way into potential harm. Use brains, don’t eat them! Here is the thing Zombie Man–when I slam into you it is really going to hurt. Let’s work together to keep that from happening. My job is to be super alert to what walkers are doing along the path, your job is to look both ways before you cross. Ok?
Then at the end of the day, I stopped to check something on my phone. I was on the dark nighttime street next to the Starbucks in Alexandria. There was a tourist guy who wanted to ask me about my LEDs and that is fine. The problem was that he came up behind me with the five other people he was with and sort tapped my shoulder from behind. Jeepers! I told him in no uncertain terms that approaching people from behind on dark streets is not a good idea at all. Spring is in the air and people are being weird.