Walk this way! Or not.

13 May

This photo (St. Paul & The Millenium Bridge, as seen from the Tate) has nothing to do with this post, other than that it's set in London and I took it.

So I’ve posted about some of the walking tours I’ve done this week… Yes, I’m a nerd and — to top it off – I tend to scribble notes when I’m on the tour. Bite me. Moving on…

Let me tell you about the sociology of the Walking Tour. For starters, I’m the YOUNGEST person. On every walk. Nevermind that I’m closer to 50 than the legal drinking age. Every time, I look around and think, “Sweet! I’m on a tour with my PARENTS.”

I always marvel at how fast the guide walks, because I tend to be a fast walker and s/he is usually traveling at my pace. Maybe the strategy is to leave the weak behind and reduce the flock by 50%. (Alan has observed, however, that it’s a specific type of person who takes a walking tour… they tend to be thin and healthy, regardless of age. So maybe there’s not much whittling to be done.)

Yesterday’s walk through Hampstead Village featured two odd tourists. I’ll probably burn in hell for articulating their challenges, but it made for an interesting walk, so I feel I’m within my bounds.

First, there was a man with an obvious full-body twitch. Every twenty seconds or so, he would whip his head around like a peacock and then snap it into place. I always empathize with people who can’t control their bodies and he was no exception.

Unfortunately, I seemed to have an uncommon knack for making eye contact with him, so whenever we locked eyes, I would find myself nodding with exaggeration, hoping to make him feel better about his own twitchiness. (Then I became self-conscious and worried that my bold nodding would be interpreted as mocking, so I over-thought it and started holding absolutely still. Then… well, you can picture the downward spiral this created.)

Separately, there was another gentleman on this walk we’ll call a “gulper.” He may have had a form of Turrets that he learned to control by swallowing, but the end result was a man who sounded like an avalanche beacon. Every 90 seconds, I would hear a bullfrog to my right.

When sandwiched between the two of them, I was on sensory overload, trying to bob my head and cough to help them mask their audio-visual expressions. Needless to say, it was exhausting.

So exhausting, in fact — you know the scene on Billy Madison where Adam Sandler pees his pants to take the attention off one of his elementary school classmates? Well, I seriously contemplated soaking myself so that people could leave this walk remembering only the pissy American.

Fortunately, without me soaking myself, there was another American on this tour who was willing to be the distraction. Of course, I’m talking about the tourist version of Brittany S. Pierce. Eavesdropping on her gave me all the glee of, well, Glee, but I’m pretty sure it lowered expectations of Americans everywhere.

Think I’m exaggerating? Then what do you make of these tidbits, which I overheard:

“I dated a guy who drove a scooter. He named it and painted and named his helmet to match. Whenever it rained, I had to pick him up, because he didn’t want Scooty or Cooty to get wet.”

“My bed is so worn that there is a trench in the middle. It’s kind of like a bed taco.”

And on that note, I’ll sign off. Because while I’m willing to cough, bob my head and otherwise float like a butterfly, I am not — under any circumstances — going to slumber in a bed of lettuce.

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2 Responses to “Walk this way! Or not.”

  1. lexy3587 May 13, 2011 at 12:43 pm #

    your descriptions of the tourists were hilarious! And i want to meet this Brittany S Pierce clone 🙂

  2. Lucas May 14, 2011 at 7:10 am #

    Sadly, I can relate to the bed story. I referred to my bed as the coffin and would make the creaking sound when getting in and bidding wife “good evening” in a Dracula voice. We now have a new mattress and going to bed isn’t quite as fun, though it is much more comfortable.

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