Week 1 of 52 – The Road Warrior

8 Jan

You’ll never guess which movie I started watching yesterday before bedtime!

So I’ve decided to reduce the frequency of my blog posts from daily to weekly. You can think of it like I’m going from being the Sun Newspaper to the Atlantic Monthly (but hopefully with less nudity and more toilets). I’m unsure what the theme of the posts will be but I’m almost positive they will include infrastructure (residential, commercial, municipal, national, trans-national, spatial).

Being back in Ottawa has been like all Matrix and stuff. After living somewhere else (i.e. in a city / country with an apparently cohesive ideology for urban planning) I am now annoyed by the most basic things. Take walking for instance.

Back in Berlin I was never able to quite figure out why the sidewalks were so much enjoyable than in Ottawa. Sure I posted at length about their composition and maintainability but there was something I missed and I think I found out what it is: in Canada the Goddamned sidewalks are barely wide enough for two people to walk side-by-side.

They are perfectly designed if your city is populated by human-sized robots that always motolocate single file, but sadly, this is not the case.

Even this shortest journey that requires three people walking together is super annoying. Note: I mean post-Berlin it’s super annoying – if you’ve never known anything else (or never even thought about it) you’re not going to care. It’s annoying because one person of the three has to walk on the road (dangerous), on the grass (good thing it never rains in Ottawa), in front (this is not Saudi Arabia), or behind (this is not Saudi Arabia).  And invariably what happens during one of these sidewalks commutes, is one encounters another pod of human foot-travelers. Each group has to break up so the other can pass.

I’m not even going to go into the social aspects of isolating one person from the group of three – it’s too horrifying to think about.

And even if there are just two people walking there are problems. When humans walk they don’t move in a perfectly straight line – there’s always a small bit of meandering that takes place. These stupid Canadian sidewalks have forced us to walk in an unnatural manner. It’s subtle, sub-conscious even, but it is there, in the background, slightly increasing your stress level and you don’t even know it.

Because that's what what we need most right now: stress resulting from the most basic human function.

And if you don’t believe me, next time you see someone walking alone down the sidewalk, you will notice that they are almost always walking in the middle. If it was really easy and stress-free to walk on one side of the sidewalk, people would do it when they walk solo. They don’t.

It’s really depressing to me that Canada has managed to screw up the thing that first made humans human – walking. That takes skill.

One Response to “Week 1 of 52 – The Road Warrior”

  1. chapfu January 8, 2012 at 12:54 #

    As a pedestrian I approve this message.

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