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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Dangers of the Sidewalks

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Tha-thump. Tha-thump. Your ears perk. Tha-thump. Tha-thump. Something is steadily approaching. Tha-thump. Tha-thump. You move off to the right side of the path, so far that you’re teetering precariously on its stony edge, one wrong footstep away from tumbling onto the grass below, but still nothing passes you. Tha-thump. Tha-thump. You brace yourself for the rush of air as the impending biker, skateboarder, or something passes by, but still there is nothing. Tha-thump. Tha-thump. Steady. Beating. Tha-thump. Tha-thump. You don’t dare to look back for fear of losing your fragile balance on the edge of the path, but still nothing has come. Tha-thump. Tha-thump. You grope wildly for answers, mind ricocheting from one idea to the next like a tennis ball in a room full of trampolines. How could the impending vehicle not have arrived yet? (A Poe line flashes through your head: “It is the beating of his hideous heart!”). Tha-thump. Tha-thump. A thin sheen of sweat coats your palms, and you can feel your pulse beating madly in your ears, increasing tempo like a deranged orchestra conductor. Tha-thump. Tha-thump. You long to look back and discover the source of the sound that ails you, but you know you will slip – but now it is too late and (like foolish Orpheus before you) your head has already swiveled around, and (Oh what travesty!) before you can glimpse the origin of the nettling noise, your ankle gives way under the harsh edge of the concrete path, and you tumble down onto the hard earth below, reduced, like Lot’s wife, to mere nothingness.

But then! Amidst the jumble of limbs and backpack straps crisscrossed before your vision, you manage to catch a fleeting glimpse of the distressing din: A boy riding a scooter, nonchalantly chatting with his friends, moving slowly as to match their pace.

Tha-thump, tha-thump indeed.

This illustrated incident illuminates only one of the monumental myriad of misfortunes that can malign the modest migrant. My aim here, however, is to aid the ambivalent adventurer and provide a proper pointer for perfunctory peregrinations.

Point, the First: always anticipate accident. For any mode of movement, defensive driving denotes diversion from death and destruction. Frequent the fringes of footpaths and survey your surroundings superfluously.

Point, the Second: don’t dare distractions. Phones and other frivolous frippery are best safely stowed as they serve solely to siphon scrutiny from more serious circumstances. If electronic employment is essential, avert your attention often to address the sidewalk’s situation.

Point, the Third: practice prodigal politeness. Interaction between individuals is inevitable, so always adopt an acquiescent attitude to avoid accident. Remember: pace of progression is rarely paramount, so practicing politeness is preferable to perturbing passersbyer.

Point, the Fourth: busy bikers beware. Because bikes roam rapidly, the consequences of collision are cruel, and cyclist surveillance is salient for safety. Additionally, avoid attempts at dangerous detours, as this only perturbs pedestrians.

Thus terminates my template for terrain traversing. It is my wish that you have won some wisdom, and that the winding walkways will achieve augmented advances and advantages to avoid accidents.

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