I usually bike to work during the tail end of the morning rush (if there is such a thing in Manchester, VT). I arrive calm and refreshed from the cool morning ride. One day last week, however, I had to go home and then return to work around noon. As my luck would have it, the traffic light turned for the worse just as I approached the crosswalk, so I had to wait for the next cycle. When the pedestrian light started flashing and beeping, I proceeded briskly across. Two cars snuck ahead of me as they took their right hand turn over the crosswalk. OK, more power to you. Then as I was rolling along, trying to get on my bike, a car barely squeaked in front of me to enter the corner store, a popular local spot.
This same car suddenly started backing up quickly, as a pickup truck was in the unusual process of backing straight out into the street. In the meantime, my sandal had fallen off, but not onto the ground. I squeezed the sandal against my leg into the side of my bike as I rolled past the small parking lot’s entryway. The truck screeched out just as my back passed the entrance, took a quick left and then bolted forward. Needless to say I glared at him as he passed by, hands spread out and said “really?!”
Just as I thought to myself, “what is going on in this town?” it hit me – it’s lunchtime.
I entered the store in a huff, grabbed myself a snack, and watched as others were cavorting and cajoling with each other while standing in line. After paying, I stomped away in the same mindset as countless others (even that blasted truck driver) who just want to get to where they are going. Unfortunately, most in this country live with a half hour lunch, where they’re expected to find and eat some food, go the bathroom, do errands, and recharge for the afternoon.
I get that; been there, done that. If I were to write a letter to the editor of our local newspaper to try to break people out of this dangerously hurried mindset, it might go something like this…