While walking on the Schuylkill River path in Philadelphia today, we made some observations on the people who walk, run, and cycle on it.
The first observation we made was that there were not very many people on the path today even though it was a really nice day. It was cool enough for a jacket, but it was still very pleasant. It turns out that most people come out when the weather is hot, which is weird because there’s almost no shade on the path.
If it is a hot day and you’re driving on the highway on the opposite side of the river, then you can see the river path on the other side. The people walking on the path look like ants from the highway. There is one line of people walking in single file going one way, and another line going the other way. It looks really funny from the highway, but if you are in the thick of it, it’s not so fun. If you get off of the path for any reason, you literally have to merge back on to the path the same way you merge onto a highway during rush hour.
One of the more annoying things about walking on this path, is that if you’re walking along and somebody running behind you catches up and passes you, they run past narrowly missing running into you, even if no one is coming in the other direction. I don’t know why they can’t move over a little bit. People on bikes are even worse. Most people on bikes move over when they pass somebody, but other times you’ll be walking along and a biker will zip by within a foot of you. Interestingly, it is the “serious bikers”, the ones with the “outfits” who are the worst. In any case, it is very unnerving and we take care to walk in a straight line so that we don’t get bowled over. I wouldn’t care if they gave me a little room when they pass me, but when they pass me like that, it is kind of annoying. So basically, many people on the path have no manners, making the stereotype Northern city person as being rude all the more true for us.
Another thing we noticed about the people who run on the path is that most of them are listening to music as they run and sometimes the volume is so loud that we can hear them approaching from about ten feet away. People on the path rarely talk to one another because they’re just running along ignoring everybody else with their eyes staring blankly ahead. There was also this guy on the path today who we thought was probably insane. He wasn’t wearing a shirt and he went to a little side path and began to dance. Maybe his music had inspired him to an unusual degree, but anyway, he soon stopped dancing and went forward about five steps when he quickly started dancing again. When he was finished, he quietly started running down the path again. Nobody even looked at him and they all continued on like nothing was at all out of the ordinary. Maybe he comes by every day and dances, or maybe everybody just chose to ignore him.
People in cities don’t seem very human sometimes. Lots of them seem cold, uncaring, unsocial, and rude. We like rural folk much better.