My name is Denise (hello) and I like to go fast.
I am not in a rush.
I am not stressed.
I’m not trying to save time.
If I am walking for the sake of walking, I do not go fast. But if I am on my way somewhere, I like to go fast and in long, cadenced steps.
Don’t tut when I run for the metro. Don’t ask me why I’m out of breath. It’s not that difficult to understand. Mr Bugatti-Veyron does not drive the fastest car in the world because he’s in a hurry. He just likes to go fast (and has lots of money and possible erection problems (joke, Mr Bugatti!! Please can I have a lift to the the shops?)).
People from the suburbs tell me they don’t like the city because Parisians are always rushing. They grant all the respect in the world to those who take their time. That is allowed and that is deemed honourable. But people who go fast are caught up in the sinful stresses of life.
But my point is simply that fast is engaging, a challenge and fun. It’s why we have sports days, the 100m sprint and the Olympics. And the Guinness World Records has a whole category devoted to speed; proof that people think pace is important. We don’t dispute it in sport, so why question speed on the street?
The challenge of speed and improvment is a basic aspect of the human desire to advance. And it feels good to do things faster and better. So why should this buzz be constrained to competitions?
Come on! Let’s run around in every direction, take four stairs at a time, slalom toddlers, slipstream grannies and race fellow pedestrians across the street.
This is how I go about my day. I like it. If I was in a computer game I would be racking up bonus points by the thousand! I try not to charge into people (minus 20 points), and if I do, I say sorry (honest and audible or game over, loser). And I am not being impatient. It just pleases me.
Am I the only one who is thrilled to find myself in an imminent pedestrian pile-up which instinctively reads the speed and distance of its potential bumpees, allows or compensates for their trajectories, and untangles in an impromptu ballet of passers-by that the Bolshoi would take months to master?
And speed is just a part of it. Loading myself up with a maximum of items before moving rooms tickles me too. I never make two trips if I can possibly make one. Balancing plate on cup, with bag hooked on finger, laptop under arm, book wedged in waistband and phone between teeth gets everything I need into one place swiftly, leaving one hand free to grab anything of interest along the way, greet passing strangers formally, switch off lights, straighten pictures or get dogs to give me their paw. I know this is riskier than really required, but I like to live dangerously, what can I say?
I even do it when I’m cleaning my flat. To a casual observer it looks like I’m cleaning in an alarmingly disorganised way, but don’t worry! I am in fact being extremely time- and effort-efficient. Not to save time or effort, you understand. Just for the sheer hell of it. If I can take off my t-shirt without removing my sweater, I’ll surely try (I have hurt myself repeatedly and broken things avoidably, but when it works it works and boy it feels good).
When I ask you to pass me something that can be flipped – flip it! Don’t pick it up (yawn), walk over to me (sigh) and put it in my hand (boo!). Where is the fun or the challenge in that? I could do that myself. Chucking it at myself on the other hand, is just plain ridiculous.
So please don’t mock me or tut in the street. I have the right to speed past you even if you’re on crutches (alas, no points). There is a person out there who holds the speed record for geting into a suitcase (?!). I’m just walking fast. Overtake me on an incline or race me up stairs. Just please don’task me, “What’s the rush?”.