October 18, 2002

A Nagging Zig Zagging

I feel a little foolish. I find myself unable to stand still or walk in a straight line these days. With the sniper still at large, I am zig zagging in suburbia. I don’t seem to feel this compulsion when I am working downtown.

Jason Kottke reports seeing this walking phenomena in it’s “natural” state on a wind-swept, rough crossing on the Nantucket ferry. There is nothing natural about the way I am walking.

I have become ultra aware of my surroundings. My head quickly scans right and left as I walk down the street: not the smooth head rotation of an owl, but more like the independent staccato eye movements of a chameleon. I attempt to observe in all directions simultaneously while trying to blend into the background.

Conventional wisdom about urban safety is being turned inside out. Some suggest walking in unlit, dark streets rather than in bright light to avoid detection. I want to move in odd eccentric paths, bobbing my head left to right and up and down, but I have a hard time maintaining the stance. To do so means accepting my heightened, albeit justifiable paranoia. And I feel foolish. And angry.

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