I walk to work every day beside an incredibly busy street called Naya Baneshwar road. If it were in the states, it would look like a wide two lane street. But since there’s really no reasonable answer why bikes, mopeds, tuktuks, cars and buses can’t share lanes amidst horn blasts and exhaust, the road and its two lanes become an incredibly congested artery as thick with sound as it is with steel.
The action continues on the busy sidewalk. Having become somewhat used to the site of people selling barbequed corn fresh off coals laying in the dirt, umbrella repairmen constructing masterpieces from worn out old scraps, and the wild cannabis that paints good portions of my walk a deep green, I’ve already begun to focus quite intently on my commute.
As I move, I’m continually challenged by a system that everyone understands but me. Perhaps it’s the swift pace I picked up on the DC metro, or the fact that my legs are substantially longer than my neighbors, but everyone seems to walk at half the speed I’m used to. I struggle to pass through narrow lanes of people, but as I meet with commuters walking toward me, I naturally try to pass on the right side and this creates an awkward shuffle that only impedes my attempt to save valuable seconds. (Nepalis pass on you on the right side as they would if they were driving.)
It may seem trivial, but these obstacles in tandem with the muggy afternoon heat, incessant blare of horns, and car exhaust can become quite frustrating at times. They cement the fact that there is indeed a system, but it’s a tempo to which I am extremely unfamiliar.
Speaking of systems I don’t understand, the thought crossed my mind to twist this little entry about walking to the office, into a comment about the office itself… about realizing that yet again that there is a system in place that I don’t understand and a pace to which I am not unaccustomed … about comparing the speed of Washington DC’s T1 internet connections and slick processor speeds to a world of dial-up and power outages… and about subtle cultural differences, expectations and the continual hunt for documents in English. I could then say something clever about how patience is a virtue and there is something to be said about going with the flow and learning a new way of doing things, but that would just seem too cliché.
Posted By Devin Greenleaf
Posted Jun 22nd, 2007