Saturday, January 23, 2010

Notes on a Slow Walk

I've signed up for Slow Club, an 8-week experiment in living life more slowly. Every week we have a task to perform. My first was to walk a walk I do regularly, but slowly. The following are notes I took on Thursday as I walked to the sandwich shop at lunchtime. Don't expect any startling insights...

Thursday, 12.38

Rush out of office. Remember - slow walk! Pause in corridor. Rattle of air conditioning unit. Somewhere a chair scrapes. Floorboard creaks as I move on. Wave to Jon as I walk out to stairwell.

High-pitched note - from building site over road? Small squares of sunlight dapple the road below. A drill somewhere.

Spots of light on stairwell from spotlights. Become conscious of my own footsteps, slow and irregular as I take notes - as I pause when I jot words down.

As I pass the First Floor, lift door slides shut. Out of the window: stone arch, two workmen on a crane over the road, 2 more inside above them. Doors open and close all up and down. Sudden distant shriek of people talking as they go past outside.


Outside. Chilly. Other people walking down the road past me, all going the same direction as me.

Two men through window in an office - one hunched over computer with tie over his shoulder, the other leans back in his chair, apparently napping.

Workman leans on corner. Below, past railing on basement window on corner - window boxes with small evergreen trees and ivy.

I feel the need to speed up as I approach the workman, lest I be looked at funny. I resist it.

A Volvo parks as I pause on the corner to write. Piles of planks on the corner pavement. Cars parked all along. Bike. Robert comes the other way, I say hello. Girl on phone follows, also the other way. A crocodile of kids behind me. Man with BBC pass approaches, concentrating on his phone (texting?) rather than what's ahead. He looks up in time to see me and not walk into me.

Cab on corner by pub with suitcases in open boot. Coming up to main road now, more people walking up and down.

Two men sat outside pub smoking. One has hat and (I presume) photo reactive glasses (not sunglasses?). Cross road. Gut on a bike with sunglasses (white frames) looks at me funny as he passes. Cross road. Cross of St George painted on lorry.

Pace of different people interests me. Cashpoint. Rejected! Bah!

Want to speed up, get back so I can check bank balance. Resist.


Speed up a bit to get across road before traffic kills me (I'd already started crossing before it went). People on phones everywhere. Man on phone - first person I've seen smiling.


Walking back


Cracks in pavement. People on phones - notice more people talking to each other. The people in company smile more. Two men stand on opposite corner having conversation. Woman leans on railing smoking and looking at phone.

Walk back down other side of road. Bike I passed last time has a horn on it. Jogger. "Thieves, beware" warns a sign on a post. Am overtaken by Lyr walking back to the office.

Another bike, tied to a lamppost, strange I didn't really register it on the way out (was it there?). It has a rear-view mirror attached to handlebar - hangs below it, I wonder how effective it is.

Leafy designs on cornices above doors. People now coming against me. Round window by side door to office.

I realise I came halfway round block same way back - wonder if I should have come back other way. See more people on way back, going upstairs. Have to pay attention! Walk slowly upstairs, feel my leg muscles tense and release, feel my weight going down into the floor/stair. Back in the corridor under the rattling aircon. One of lights in corridor isn't on.


Back in office - taken half hour on walk that'd normally take less than 10 minutes. Conscious of the cold in my fingers and nose.


Lucia said...

I am fascinated by this! Hope you post more about your tasks. x

An Unreliable Witness said...

I'm certainly going to try some of this Slow Walking lark.



petemaskreplica said...

As I sorely lack ideas for writing at the moment there will certainly be more! (It does kinda tie in with some of the music I'm writing at the moment too, but more of that anon.)

UW, it's all relative. If a half hour slow walk means to the kitchen and back, why the hell not, eh?