Thursday, September 4, 2014

Walking Tough

Being moderately polite and an Englishman in New York, I like to get out of the way of someone coming in my direction. That's not always possible these days, but the intent is still there. It has therefore been unsettling to swerve towards people I'm trying to dodge. And weird.

Years of urban living made me quite good at removing myself as an obstruction without reducing my own velocity nor ending up in anyone else's path. I never thought about how I moved, I just got out of the way and kept going. Walking with a stick and without full control has revealed some of that mechanism, and its unfortunate side effect.

To keep moving, I was shifting my center of gravity to one side, and moving my body to the other side, all timed to coincide with crossing paths with the oncoming person. The net motion was that my center of gravity didn't move a lot—and I could keep traveling forward—but my body moved to one side, so I was out of the way. Neat and efficient, when you can do it.

As I've got stronger, some of the automatic behaviors are returning, but certainly not all. In this case, I think I have been shifting my center of gravity, but can't move my body at the same time. The net result is that I lurch towards things that I am trying to avoid.

Now I understand what's going on, it's easier to prevent. It's yet another thing to think about while I am walking, but I am less likely to crash into things I don't intend to, so Progress!