I love walking through crowds.

Some things sit deep in the bones. For me walking through crowds is one of those things.

I grew up in the heart of downtown Toronto, so I got lots of practice.

I have to be alone. It’s pretty much an individual sport.  I prefer to have a destination as well.

It’s not absolutely necessary, but helpful, because then one walks with more of a sense of purpose.

It can be with or against the crowd, though going against the flow completely presents a bigger challenge.

Reading the flow. Looking for the gaps as they open and close. Anticipating them. Weaving in and out seamlessly, like water in a maze. Kind of like parkour without the gymnastic s.

Sometimes the crowd gets too thick to read, or too erratic. When it’s filled with old women, junkies, children, and dogs all at the same time it makes it too difficult to see a clear path. That’s when you retreat to the edge of the sidewalk, walking that narrow strip of concrete at the edge of the sidewalk, moving fluidly, dodging lampposts on one side, and traffic or parked cars on the other.

Then there is the challenge of the crowded subway platform. Weaving through, whilst looking for the break, the slight space with the best chance of being near the door when it opens, and feel that little inner victory for calculating correctly.

In the best moments it becomes quite poetic, with a beautiful flow, gliding through the human urban landscape.

One thought on “CROWDWALKING

  1. One of the best places for crowd walking and people watching is Nordstan, which you know because you’ve been there with me. It’s interesting to see how they (mostly Swedes) negotiate the crowds, with their eyes pointed down or staring blankly at nothing in particular. They’re obviously making an effort not to make eye contact. I always look at their faces, into their eyes, which probably makes them pretty uncomfortable, but I find it’s the best way to avoid getting bumped into. They move out of the way in a hurry.

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