I’m what you might call a “hurried walker”. When I’m out and about, moving from point A to point B, I tend to do so as quickly as possible. While I certainly wouldn’t rank myself very high amongst the world’s great speed walkers, I do feel like I have a comparable intensity to my gait. While this seems like a beneficial trait for someone that does quite a bit of errand running, I’ve noticed there’s a significant downside to being a fast walker; women think I’m chasing them.
I guess I can’t really blame a member of the opposite sex for being a bit frightened when they hear my loud, clomping footsteps coming up behind them. It seems like the world is full of creepy ass bastards looking to make skin suits out of everyone they see. Back in the day, it was easy to spot weirdos and adjust your walking path accordingly but ever since relatively normal looking guys started eating people, potential victims definitely have to have their head on a swivel at all times.
That being said, seeing someone walk faster and knowing it’s because of you is a bit of a kick to the old self esteem department, especially when you affiliate yourself with the “good guy” side of the spectrum. I find myself wanting to yell out to the individual trying to escape from me, “Don’t worry ma’am, I’m not chasing you!”, though the language barrier is definitely a problem here in Germany. If they don’t know English, all they see is a short, squat man with messy hair and a five o’clock shadow yelling at them in a foreign language. That tends to exasperate things.
I feel like there has to be some sort of solution for this that doesn’t require extensive physical therapy to soften my footsteps. While I don’t want to be seen as a dangerous predator, sacrificing speed could potentially put me into a vulnerable situation myself. I’m sure there’s some form of crazy that would just love to lock me into a closet full of doll clothes.
I do smile a lot when I’m about and about, but I’ve been told my smile can look a bit crazed at times. This combined with the speed walk and you have yourself a recipe for nightmare fuel. I’ve worked on learning to smile in a more normal fashion but I think the issue comes down to people not necessarily knowing what I’m smiling about. It’s one thing if I had an ice cream cone or balloon in my hand as those are things to be happy about. But random smiles with unknown catalysts can be unnerving.
Seeing as this is a problem I’m sure many people have, I propose the development of a t-shirt ( the prototype is at the beginning of this article) that will illustrate an individual’s true intentions should they be of the fast walking variety. This will be a shirt that one has to apply for through the justice department and will only receive it if they have a clear criminal record. That way, sinister people who would try to use the t-shirt to their advantage wouldn’t be able to do so (though it doesn’t really protect against the people that are super sneaky about their psychotic crimes).
I’m currently working on this project and will get back to you with the results.