Perilous being a Pedestrian

Have you seen that advert when the woman is using a Microsoft computer which allows her to draw on it etc. I really like the advert, not because it’s Microsoft – heaven forbid!, but because of the title she gives herself. I sit in a lot of meetings when it comes to that moment when we all have to introduce ourselves and we go round the table. People have so many wonderful and impressive titles and jobs and when it comes to me I just say my name and suffer the resulting silence when people await further mentions of esteem only to be disappointed. When the woman in the Mircosoft advert introduces herself she says, author, travel writer and blogger – what a great job title! – I want it so bad! Anyway, this week’s waffle is all about being a pedestrian, not a blogger, author or travel writer, and how perilous it is becoming!

I was worried that I was going to have to delay this blog post due to the change in the weather. Why? you ask (please participate). Well at the beginning of the week it was wet and rainy (perfect weather for me) and the idea of the blog came to me while I was walking to work in the rain but as the week progressed the weather changed once again to be hot and sunny. However, this morning the rain has started again (hooray!) so it almost seems, yet again, appropriate. Before you read/listen to the rest of this waffle, I would like to just state clearly at the start that I am being quite generic in my discussion and waffle. I know I am probably going to be making sweeping generalisations here but please be assured that I know this and before you quickly attack the comment box below with shade casting or harsh words I just wanted you to know that I realise that there are some lovely drivers out there and I am probably talking about just a few…well…inconsiderate ones. So, with the rain cascading down and me huddled underneath my brand new umbrella I would like to tell you why I think it is so perilous for a pedestrian walking to work in the rain!

  • Umbrellas – Before writing this waffle I was going to carry out some mathematical calculations although completing this might have meant trawling through the internet looking for the specifications of umbrellas and pavements. I have this feeling that someone should have completed this calculations before me because I am wondering whether pavements are getting smaller or umbrellas are getting bigger. As I am walking through the rain and I come across a person approaching from the other direction, there is a moment of panic. Just like looking at a gap and thinking ‘Can I drive my car through there?’ I look at the available amount of space and wonder can we actually pass with our umbrellas up. Some people have already started to carry these HUGE golfing umbrellas which appear to be covering not only themselves and their bag and their dog, but also several small children who are walking near by, the passing old lady with her shopping trolley and the local scavenging pigeon! If I see one of this HUGE umbrellas heading for a collision course, then I know there is no hope and have to perform the collapse action, putting the umbrella down and just sharing the shelter of the passing ginormous umbrella with the pigeon etc, before putting my own umbrella back up. However, it becomes more of an ‘umbrella dance’ when two normal size ones approach. Do you the perform the down and up action, when someone attempts to lift their umbrella over yours while you crouch and try to go under or, the more advance, tilt and return action when you both tilt your umbrellas to one side while you pass and then quickly return the to the upright position. I tend to go for the latter approach for passing umbrellas although I do suddenly get wet since nothing is actually covering me for a moment and the water which has congregated on my own umbrella runs off, maybe covering that unlucky pigeon. You also have to demonstrate some mastery with this action in order to avoid poking anyone else in their head, arm or any other part of their body!
  • Over hangs – We are always being told not to look at our phones when walking. Yes we do appear to spend a lot of out time looking down rather than up and about. If it is raining and windy then we are trying to control our umbrellas while adjusting them quickly in order to shield ourselves from the driving rain and buffeting wind. If you fail in this skill check you can instantly find yourself with an inside out umbrella or, even worse, a quick impression of practically perfect Mary Poppins as you sail off into the sky! Walking with head and umbrella down is a good tactic to try and avoid the Mary Poppins look, but this means that you don’t really see anything approaching. And this actually brings me to the second perilous obstacle that we need to avoid. No, not approaching people. Over hanging trees! I’m not sure who are responsible for these trees and/or bushes, but as I walk there are areas when the trees/bushes have ground out over the fences/boundaries and are intruding onto the pavement. Not only are they intruding they are intruding at a very low level. More particularly right at umbrella level! So, as I am walking along tackling the wind and rain in a constant battle – whoosh! My umbrella gets knocked backwards by a low hanging branch and, as the branch pings back from the umbrella it releases the rain it has been collecting in preparation for my approach all over me!

  • Road Puddles – As I approach close to work the amount of traffic gets more and more and, and I’m sure this is not an optical illusion, the pavements get narrower and narrower. Now the pavements are not always in the best condition and there are often large areas of puddles on them which you either need to try and negotiate by trying and to make that dexterous jump, hoping and praying that you will not slip or misjudge the landing and actually end up in the puddle or try to walk around them, which usually means increasing your walk to work by at least fifteen minutes. But there are some puddles which makes life for the pedestrian even more perilous. The ones on the edge of the roads! If you are lucky, or know your route well, you know, as a pedestrian, where these perilous places are and can be prepared. But one moments lapse in concentration or walking along an unfamiliar piece of pavement and you are doomed. You have managed to avoid the over hanging trees and completed the dance of the umbrellas as you passed people only to be soaked from the waist down by the passing car which drives through the puddle by the side of the road at speed. I realise that sometimes it is not possible to avoid these puddles, but slowing down would be preferable rather than, as I have seen some drivers do, accelerating towards them and seeing what percentage of the pedestrian they can soak as they continue their own personal journey to work. I have just bought a brand new umbrella and was intrigued by the name on the label which accompanied it. It bold letters it was labelled – ‘SHIELD’ and I am currently perfecting the drop down and crouch maneuver in order to protect myself from the dousing that can occur from these puddles.

  • So that’s it. Why I think it is so perilous for a pedestrian walking to work in the rain. I could actually write a completely different waffle focusing on other perils which plague pedestrians but this will have to wait for another day and another cup of coffee. If you have any other perils which you think pedestrians have to content with on a rainy day then please let me know in the comments below. If you have enjoyed this blog post then please do bookmark me and come back. I do write these waffles often on a range of subjects.

    Until then I would just like to say have fun and I’ll catch you all later and, until then, consider yourself waffled!

    2 comments for “Let Me In! – Simon’s Cat – YouTube

    1. February 19, 2017 at 2:00 pm

      Would be cool to play an one off, one of the dungeon crawls you made! Maybe the 8 level one!!!

    2. March 21, 2017 at 12:05 am

      I miss those early days so much. The current state of rpg’s , the rpg xubculture if you like, doesn’t feel like it did back then. I can’t quite put my finger on it.

      I was introduced to Advanced D&D 1st Edition, by my sisters boyfriend (the BEST boyfriend of the many she had IMHO..), who showed me S3 Expedition to the Barrier Peaks module after discovering I enjoyed computer based adventure games, I was hooked immediately and it wasn’t too long before I was hanging around the local game shop, Games Gallery, from which I was invited to join in a game run by the assistant manager, who was to become my long and good friend Steve, who was coincidentally, the reason I got to work at the local branch of Games Workshop for a time. Working there, in those days, before it became a Warhammer only shop, was amazing. It was the proverbial kid in the sweet shop!. Staff discount made it even sweeter – 50% off GW’s own products, and 25% off everything else. We also ran a great rpg club, with about 60-80 members at its peak.
      I was always the GM for my main group as no one else had the time it took to prepare a game properly, though after a few changes to the group, and people from the club popping up, I eventually got to play. Games by a company called Fantasy Games Unlimited (FGU) were very popular in all of my groups. FGU sold games such as Bushido, Aftermath,Space Opera, Chivalry & Sorcery, Freedom Fighters, and Bunnies & Burrows, but there were many many more games, by many different companies, covering all sorts of genres – and I still have them all. Many were, as was the style back then, table and chart and rule HEAVY. We loved that. Comparing themto the current crop of “rules lite” systems, I would certainly go back to the old games instead. We played these games sometimes 5 days a week, as for a time we were all unemployed. It was all we did.
      I often spent days creating scenarios, making maps, creating player characters as well as npc’s. I found it quite therapeutic, as is miniature painting – thousands of the little buggers packed away testify to the time I spent doing it. My “toy soldiers” as my brother in law calls them…
      I used to get quite attached to my favourite characters, and whilst one or two died over the decades, most did not.
      For almost all of my characters I would go overboard by most people’s standards. I like to have an image for my characters, whether a photo or artwork. Sometimes I will see an image and that is the base for the whole character, built around the image.
      I always believed as a player, that giving the GM a detailed background, list of goals, motivations, friends, contacts and enemies, will help the GM bring my character into the game more, by using some of what I have given him in the game. As a GM I like to see what players come up with for their characters, and will often use it in the game. It involves the player more, makes the game more personal if part of the game is suddenly about them, and it can help the players become more invested in their characters.
      For myself, I would often map out the characters home, create a family tree, siblings, etc.
      For our Star Trek RPG (by FASA Corp), I created the whole crew of a 500+ personnel star ship… All as detailed player characters. Unnecessary and a bit OTT I know, but it helped bring every department on the ship alive, every member of the landing party was a person not simply a red shirt.

      I am often bemused whilst watching streams when I see the gm of a streamed game pull some “new” idea out of his box of tricks, and the players are like “wow!”, “that’s original”, “I would never have thought of doing it that way!”, knowing we did it 30-40 years ago.

      The games my most recent group and I played/ran, were very detailed games with a lot of depth. Quite dark games too, mature themed, and often very emotional and intense. Having played with the same people for nigh on 20 years, you create a bond, a closeness and familiarity that allows you to communicate in a way you couldn’t, with people you don’t know very well.
      I have been brought to tears several times in recent years during the last (decade long) game we played ,as some scenes were simply too emotional or powerful, overwhelming (GM was a bastard – but an EXCELLENT GM).

      Sadly the group folded, but the GM offered to keep the game going for just me, which he did for a few years, which to be honest I really needed, as it helped me through a bad depression at that time).
      Over the years I have experienced a lot of things because of rpg’s, and made some great friends, too. I have a lot to be grateful for, regarding rpg’s. I was discussing with my brother in law, my collection of rpg’s and miniatures. When he realised how much they are worth, (some regularly sell for £100’s!) he always tells me to sell sell sell. He doesn’t grasp what they mean to me .
      Yet I won’t. Part of me hopes and prays that I will get a local group together (even some of the old group!) and start using them again. But aside from that, as my memory fails, little by little each year, these boxes and books and miniatures on the shelves are my constant reminders of happy and sad and exciting moments, and great fun, and more importantly, great friends.

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