Pedestrian Quotes

We've searched our database for all the quotes and captions related to Pedestrian. Here they are! All 100 of them:

My experience in Amsterdam is that cyclists ride where the hell they like and aim in a state of rage at all pedestrians while ringing their bell loudly, the concept of avoiding people being foreign to them. My dream holiday would be a) a ticket to Amsterdam b) immunity from prosecution and c) a baseball bat.
Terry Pratchett
It's going to look pretty good, then, isn't it," said War testily, "the One Horseman and Three Pedestrians of the Apocalypse.
Terry Pratchett (Sourcery (Discworld, #5; Rincewind, #3))
Watch out for that pedestrian!" "It's on the street, it knows the risks it's taking!
Neil Gaiman (Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch)
You know what we call pedestrians in Morganville? Mobile bloodbanks.
Rachel Caine (Midnight Alley (The Morganville Vampires, #3))
To hear never-heard sounds, To see never-seen colors and shapes, To try to understand the imperceptible Power pervading the world; To fly and find pure ethereal substances That are not of matter But of that invisible soul pervading reality. To hear another soul and to whisper to another soul; To be a lantern in the darkness Or an umbrella in a stormy day; To feel much more than know. To be the eyes of an eagle, slope of a mountain; To be a wave understanding the influence of the moon; To be a tree and read the memory of the leaves; To be an insignificant pedestrian on the streets Of crazy cities watching, watching, and watching. To be a smile on the face of a woman And shine in her memory As a moment saved without planning.
Dejan Stojanovic
As the taxi entered the intersection, the two drivers in the attorney general’s entourage slammed on the brakes. Both Suburbans fishtailed out of control. Ducking in the back seat, Blake could smell the burning rubber from tires skidding on the asphalt and hear the pedestrians screaming and car horns sounding off in rebuke.
Chad Boudreaux (Scavenger Hunt)
I have always, essentially, been waiting. Waiting to become something else, waiting to be that person I always thought I was on the verge of becoming, waiting for that life I thought I would have. In my head, I was always one step away. In high school, I was biding my time until I could become the college version of myself, the one my mind could see so clearly. In college, the post-college “adult” person was always looming in front of me, smarter, stronger, more organized. Then the married person, then the person I’d become when we have kids. For twenty years, literally, I have waited to become the thin version of myself, because that’s when life will really begin. And through all that waiting, here I am. My life is passing, day by day, and I am waiting for it to start. I am waiting for that time, that person, that event when my life will finally begin. I love movies about “The Big Moment” – the game or the performance or the wedding day or the record deal, the stories that split time with that key event, and everything is reframed, before it and after it, because it has changed everything. I have always wanted this movie-worthy event, something that will change everything and grab me out of this waiting game into the whirlwind in front of me. I cry and cry at these movies, because I am still waiting for my own big moment. I had visions of life as an adventure, a thing to be celebrated and experienced, but all I was doing was going to work and coming home, and that wasn’t what it looked like in the movies. John Lennon once said, “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.” For me, life is what was happening while I was busy waiting for my big moment. I was ready for it and believed that the rest of my life would fade into the background, and that my big moment would carry me through life like a lifeboat. The Big Moment, unfortunately, is an urban myth. Some people have them, in a sense, when they win the Heisman or become the next American Idol. But even that football player or that singer is living a life made up of more than that one moment. Life is a collection of a million, billion moments, tiny little moments and choices, like a handful of luminous, glowing pearl. It takes so much time, and so much work, and those beads and moments are so small, and so much less fabulous and dramatic than the movies. But this is what I’m finding, in glimpses and flashes: this is it. This is it, in the best possible way. That thing I’m waiting for, that adventure, that move-score-worthy experience unfolding gracefully. This is it. Normal, daily life ticking by on our streets and sidewalks, in our houses and apartments, in our beds and at our dinner tables, in our dreams and prayers and fights and secrets – this pedestrian life is the most precious thing any of use will ever experience.
Shauna Niequist (Cold Tangerines: Celebrating the Extraordinary Nature of Everyday Life)
I kicked off my shoes and pulled his hand away from the wheel so I could straddle his lap and hold him. His grip on me was excruciatingly tight, but I didn't complain. We were on an insanely busy street, with endless cars rumbling past on one side and a crush of pedestrians on the other, but neither of us cared. He was shaking violently, as if he were sobbing uncontrollably, but he made no sound and shed no tears. The sky cried for him, the rain coming down hard and angry, steaming off the ground.
Sylvia Day (Reflected in You (Crossfire, #2))
I was raised the old-fashioned way, with a stern set of moral principles: Never lie, cheat, steal or knowingly spread a venereal disease. Never speed up to hit a pedestrian or, or course, stop to kick a pedestrian who has already been hit. From which it followed, of course, that one would never ever -- on pain of deletion from dozens of Christmas card lists across the country -- vote Republican.
Barbara Ehrenreich
But this is what I'm finding, in glimpses and flashes: this is it. This is it, in the best possible way. That thing I'm waiting for, for that adventure, that movie-score-worthy experience unfolding gracefully. This is it. Normal, daily life ticking by on our streets and sidewalks, in our houses and apartments, in our beds and at our dinner tables, in our dreams and prayers and fights and secrets - this pedestrian life is the most precious thing any of us will ever experience.
Shauna Niequist (Cold Tangerines: Celebrating the Extraordinary Nature of Everyday Life)
S'mimasen," Alyss said repeatedly as they brushed against passerby. "What does that mean?" Will asked as they reached a stretch of street bare of any other pedestrians. He was impressed by Alyss's grasp of the local language. "It means 'pardon me,'" Alyss replied, but then a shadow of doubt crossed her face. "At least, I hope it does. Maybe I'm saying 'you have the manners of a fat, rancid sow.
John Flanagan (The Emperor of Nihon-Ja (Ranger's Apprentice, #10))
Places matter. Their rules, their scale, their design include or exclude civil society, pedestrianism, equality, diversity (economic and otherwise), understanding of where water comes from and garbage goes, consumption or conservation. They map our lives.
Rebecca Solnit (Storming the Gates of Paradise: Landscapes for Politics)
In the holy solipsism of the young Now I can't walk thru a city street w/out eying each single pedestrian. I feel thier vibe thru my skin, the hair on my neck --- it rises.
Jim Morrison (Wilderness: The Lost Writings, Vol. 1)
New York is the only city in the world where you can get run down on the sidewalk by a pedestrian.
Russell Baker
In many of the more relaxed civilizations on the Outer Eastern Rim of the Galaxy, the Hitch-Hiker's Guide has already supplanted the great Encyclopaedia Galactica as the standard repository of all knowledge and wisdom, for though it has many omissions and contains much that is apocryphal, or at least wildly inaccurate, it scores over the older, more pedestrian work in two important respects. First, it is slightly cheaper; and secondly it has the words DON'T PANIC inscribed in large friendly letters on its cover.
Douglas Adams (The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, #1))
...quantum mechanics—the physics of our world—requires that you hold such pedestrian complaints in abeyance.
Brian Greene (The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory)
There is no logic that can be superimposed on the city; people make it, and it is to them, not buildings, that we must fit our plans.
Jane Jacobs
We proceeded to make way across the mighty Hooghly River, a monstrous offshoot of the Ganges, where we contemplated for a moment, our thoughts seemingly caught in the roaring southward current; there we gazed, toward where the city transitions into mangrove jungle, and somewhere a bit further to the southwest where all the rivers split infinitely like capillaries, where those famous Bengal tigers trod among the sunderbans. Peering in that direction, Bajju gripped the vertical bars just above the horizontal pedestrian railing, breathing slowly and silently, knees locked, still, despite being on arguably the busiest and loudest bridge in the world.
Colin Phelan (The Local School)
Flying daggers don't kill people, Chloe thought, leaping sidewise at the last minute to avoid one, grabbing the pedestrian rail. People kill people.
Celia Thomson (The Fallen (The Nine Lives of Chloe King, #1))
Just as modern motorways have no room for ox-carts or wandering pedestrians, so modern society has little place for lives and ways that are too eccentric.
A.C. Grayling (The Meaning of Things)
believe that this way of living, this focus on the present, the daily, the tangible, this intense concentration not on the news headlines but on the flowers growing in your own garden, the children growing in your own home, this way of living has the potential to open up the heavens, to yield a glittering handful of diamonds where a second ago there was coal. This way of living and noticing and building and crafting can crack through the movie sets and soundtracks that keep us waiting for our own life stories to begin, and set us free to observe the lives we have been creating all along without ever realizing it. I don’t want to wait anymore. I choose to believe that there is nothing more sacred or profound than this day. I choose to believe that there may be a thousand big moments embedded in this day, waiting to be discovered like tiny shards of gold. The big moments are the daily, tiny moments of courage and forgiveness and hope that we grab on to and extend to one another. That’s the drama of life, swirling all around us, and generally I don’t even see it, because I’m too busy waiting to become whatever it is I think I am about to become. The big moments are in every hour, every conversation, every meal, every meeting. The Heisman Trophy winner knows this. He knows that his big moment was not when they gave him the trophy. It was the thousand times he went to practice instead of going back to bed. It was the miles run on rainy days, the healthy meals when a burger sounded like heaven. That big moment represented and rested on a foundation of moments that had come before it. I believe that if we cultivate a true attention, a deep ability to see what has been there all along, we will find worlds within us and between us, dreams and stories and memories spilling over. The nuances and shades and secrets and intimations of love and friendship and marriage an parenting are action-packed and multicolored, if you know where to look. Today is your big moment. Moments, really. The life you’ve been waiting for is happening all around you. The scene unfolding right outside your window is worth more than the most beautiful painting, and the crackers and peanut butter that you’re having for lunch on the coffee table are as profound, in their own way, as the Last Supper. This is it. This is life in all its glory, swirling and unfolding around us, disguised as pedantic, pedestrian non-events. But pull of the mask and you will find your life, waiting to be made, chosen, woven, crafted. Your life, right now, today, is exploding with energy and power and detail and dimension, better than the best movie you have ever seen. You and your family and your friends and your house and your dinner table and your garage have all the makings of a life of epic proportions, a story for the ages. Because they all are. Every life is. You have stories worth telling, memories worth remembering, dreams worth working toward, a body worth feeding, a soul worth tending, and beyond that, the God of the universe dwells within you, the true culmination of super and natural. You are more than dust and bones. You are spirit and power and image of God. And you have been given Today.
Shauna Niequist (Cold Tangerines: Celebrating the Extraordinary Nature of Everyday Life)
You missed a pedestrian,” I said. “You want to go back and hit her?
Rick Riordan (The Sword of Summer (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, #1))
He walked with equipoise, possibly in either city. Schrödinger’s pedestrian.
China Miéville (The City & the City)
Today is your big moment. Moments, really. The life you've been waiting for is happening all around you. The scene unfolding right outside your window is worth more than the most beautiful painting, and the crackers and peanut butter that you're having for lunch on the coffee table are as profound, in their own way, as the Last Supper. This is it. This is life in all its glory, swirling and unfolding around us, disguised as pedantic, pedestrian non-events. But pull off the mask and you will find your life, waiting to be made, chosen, woven, crafted." -Cold Tangerines
Shauna Niequist (Cold Tangerines: Celebrating the Extraordinary Nature of Everyday Life)
The landscape is best described as 'pedestrian hostile.' It's pointless to try to take a walk, so I generally just stay in the room and think about shooting myself in the head.
David Sedaris (When You Are Engulfed in Flames)
When I start reading I'm somewhere completely different, I'm in the text, it's amazing, I have to admit I've been dreaming, dreaming in a land of great beauty, I've been in the very heart of truth. Ten times a day, every day, I wonder at having wandered so far, and then, alienated from myself, a stranger to myself, I go home, walking the streets silently and in deep meditation, passing trams and cars and pedestrians in a cloud of books, the books I found that day and am carrying home in my briefcase.
Bohumil Hrabal (Too Loud a Solitude)
Everything is redeemable, Martha. Even decisions that end up with you unconscious and bleeding in a pedestrian underpass, like me. Although ideally, you want to figure out the reason why you keep burning your own house down.
Meg Mason (Sorrow and Bliss)
I stop dead in my tracks. Someone behind me walks into me and swears (stopping abruptly in central London is a heinous crime, and immediately gives the people around you permission to kick you).
Beth O'Leary (The Flatshare)
So, Acheron," Kyrian said, hijacking their conversation. "What happened to your car? I saw the busted fender on it. How unlike you to crash into anything." Nick cringed as Acheron turned towards him with an arched brow. "Hey now," Nick said, holding his hands up in defence of himself, "it was not my fault.I was minding my own business when the trash can went suicidal, came out of nowhere, and jumped in front of the car." "It was on the curb, Nick," Ash said drily. "Along with a number of screaming pedestrians, running for their lives." "That's your story. I'm sticking to mine... And there ought to be a law about homicidal trash cans, and fines for people who put them on the street. They're really dangerous.... Just saying.
Sherrilyn Kenyon (Inferno (Chronicles of Nick, #4))
I admired the English immensely for all that they had endured, and they were certainly honorable, and stopped their cars for pedestrians, and called you “sir” and “madam,” and so on. But after a week there, I began to feel wild. It was those ruddy English faces, so held in by duty, the sense of “what is done” and “what is not done,” and always swigging tea and chirping, that made me want to scream like a hyena
Julia Child (My Life in France)
I walk home in a sort of trance. It’s not until passing pedestrians give me double takes and odd looks that I realize I’m crying. I don’t try to stop. I let the tears fall. I cry for the girl I used to be. I cry for me. It’s a foreign experience. Self-pity is not an indulgence that I allow myself. This doesn’t feel like pity, though. It feels like self-compassion, and the realization makes me cry harder. No one should need a diagnosis in order to be compassionate to themself.
Helen Hoang (The Heart Principle (The Kiss Quotient, #3))
God is an immensity, while this disease, this death, which is in me, this small, tightly defined pedestrian event, is merely and perfectly real, without miracle—or instruction.
Harold Brodkey (This Wild Darkness: The Story of My Death)
The Frays had never been a religiously observant family, but Clary loved Fifth Avenue at Christmas time. The air smelled like sweet roasted chestnuts, and the window displays sparkled with silver and blue, green and red. This year there were fat round crystal snowflakes attached to each lamppost, sending back the winter sunlight in shafts of gold. Not to mention the huge tree at Rockefeller Center. It threw its shadow across them as she and Simon draped themselves over the gate at the side of the skating rink, watching tourists fall down as they tried to navigate the ice. Clary had a hot chocolate wrapped in her hands, the warmth spreading through her body. She felt almost normal—this, coming to Fifth to see the window displays and the tree, had been a winter tradition for her and Simon for as long as she could remember. “Feels like old times, doesn’t it?” he said, echoing her thoughts as he propped his chin on his folded arms. She chanced a sideways look at him. He was wearing a black topcoat and scarf that emphasized the winter pallor of his skin. His eyes were shadowed, indicating that he hadn’t fed on blood recently. He looked like what he was—a hungry, tired vampire. Well, she thought. Almost like old times. “More people to buy presents for,” she said. “Plus, the always traumatic what-to-buy-someone-for-the-first-Christmas-after-you’ve-started-dating question.” “What to get the Shadowhunter who has everything,” Simon said with a grin. “Jace mostly likes weapons,” Clary sighed. “He likes books, but they have a huge library at the Institute. He likes classical music …” She brightened. Simon was a musician; even though his band was terrible, and was always changing their name—currently they were Lethal Soufflé—he did have training. “What would you give someone who likes to play the piano?” “A piano.” “Simon.” “A really huge metronome that could also double as a weapon?” Clary sighed, exasperated. “Sheet music. Rachmaninoff is tough stuff, but he likes a challenge.” “Now you’re talking. I’m going to see if there’s a music store around here.” Clary, done with her hot chocolate, tossed the cup into a nearby trash can and pulled her phone out. “What about you? What are you giving Isabelle?” “I have absolutely no idea,” Simon said. They had started heading toward the avenue, where a steady stream of pedestrians gawking at the windows clogged the streets. “Oh, come on. Isabelle’s easy.” “That’s my girlfriend you’re talking about.” Simon’s brows drew together. “I think. I’m not sure. We haven’t discussed it. The relationship, I mean.” “You really have to DTR, Simon.” “What?” “Define the relationship. What it is, where it’s going. Are you boyfriend and girlfriend, just having fun, ‘it’s complicated,’ or what? When’s she going to tell her parents? Are you allowed to see other people?” Simon blanched. “What? Seriously?” “Seriously. In the meantime—perfume!” Clary grabbed Simon by the back of his coat and hauled him into a cosmetics store that had once been a bank. It was massive on the inside, with rows of gleaming bottles everywhere. “And something unusual,” she said, heading for the fragrance area. “Isabelle isn’t going to want to smell like everyone else. She’s going to want to smell like figs, or vetiver, or—” “Figs? Figs have a smell?” Simon looked horrified; Clary was about to laugh at him when her phone buzzed. It was her mother. where are you? It’s an emergency.
Cassandra Clare (City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments, #6))
I am the saint at prayer on the terrace like the peaceful beasts that graze down to the sea of Palestine. I am the scholar of the dark armchair. Branches and rain hurl themselves at the windows of my library. I am the pedestrian of the highroad by way of the dwarf woods; the roar of the sluices drowns my steps. I can see for a long time the melancholy wash of the setting sun. I might well be the child abandoned on the jetty on its way to the high seas, the little farm boy following the lane, its forehead touching the sky. The paths are rough. The hillocks are covered with broom. The air is motionless. How far away are the birds and the springs! It can only be the end of the world ahead.
Arthur Rimbaud
Is anyone anywhere happy? No, not unless they are living in a dream or in an artifice that they or someone else has made. For a time I was lulled in the arms of a blind organism with breasts full of champagne and nipples made of caviar. I thought she was true, and that the true was the beautiful. But the true is the ugly mixed up everywhere, like a peck of dirt scattered through your life. The true is that there is no security, no artifice to stop the unsavory changes, the rat race, the death unwish - the winged chariot, the horns and the motors, the Devil in the clock. Love is a desperate artifice to take the place of those two original parents who turned out not to be omnisciently right gods, but a rather pedestrian pair of muddled suburbanites who, no matter how bumbling they tried, never could quite understand how or why you grew up to your 21st birthday.
Sylvia Plath
She described to us six lanes' worth of unadulterated fear, populated exclusively by motorists whose driving education had been paid for by the blood of pedestrians.
Jeff Deck (The Great Typo Hunt: Two Friends Changing the World, One Correction at a Time)
To walk is to lack a place. It is the indefinite process of being absent and in search of a proper. The moving about that the city mutliplies and concentrates makes the city itself an immense social experience of lacking a place -- an experience that is, to be sure, broken up into countless tiny deportations (displacements and walks), compensated for by the relationships and intersections of these exoduses that intertwine and create an urban fabric, and placed under the sign of what ought to be, ultimately, the place but is only a name, the City...a universe of rented spaces haunted by a nowhere or by dreamed-of places.
Michel de Certeau (The Practice of Everyday Life)
Just as modern motorways have no room for ox-carts or wandering pedestrians, so modern society has little place for lives and ways that are too eccentric
A.C. Grayling (The Meaning of Things: Applying Philosophy to Life)
The stark, pedestrian images used by filmmakers (probably out of financial necessity) expressed nothing, symbolically or metaphorically. The only purpose they served was to remind me that a huge chunk of my life is completely over, even though I will probably live 60 more years. There are so many things that will never happen to me again, and I never even noticed when those things stopped occurring. And this does not mean I wish I had my old life back, because I like my new life better; I was just shocked to discover how much of what used to be central to my existence doesn't even matter to me anymore.
Chuck Klosterman (Killing Yourself to Live: 85% of a True Story)
The real problem with his type of OCD--chronic fear of hurting other people--was that you thought so much about not running over children, not sideswiping pedestrians, not poisoning strangers with germs on your hands--essentially not killing a world full of strangers--that you ended up hurting the people you loved most. He saw that now.
Cammie McGovern (Say What You Will)
But this is what I’m finding, in glimpses and flashes: this is it. This is it, in the best possible way. That thing I’m waiting for, that adventure, that move-score-worthy experience unfolding gracefully. This is it. Normal, daily life ticking by on our streets and sidewalks, in our houses and apartments, in our beds and at our dinner tables, in our dreams and prayers and fights and secrets – this pedestrian life is the most precious thing any of use will ever experience.
Shauna Niequist (Cold Tangerines: Celebrating the Extraordinary Nature of Everyday Life)
Streams of pedestrians dodged them on the sidewalk as they stood with her hand in his, but neither of them noticed. The blaring mixture of car horns, laughter, and music from a nearby club thrashed and echoed around them, but neither of them heard the noise. Simply lost in one another in that moment, nothing else existed. Emily tore her gaze from his…
Gail McHugh (Collide (Collide, #1))
Today's Gypsies, who have lived in Prague for only two generations, light a ritual fire wherever they work, a nomads' fire crackling only for the joy of it, a blaze of rough-hewn wood like a child's laugh, a symbol of the eternity that preceded human thought, a free fire, a gift from heaven, a living sign of the elements unnoticed by the world-weary pedestrian, a fire in the ditches of Prague warming the wanderer's eye and soul.
Bohumil Hrabal (Too Loud a Solitude)
The multicolored or grey lights touching their faces, but never really touching them...
Ray Bradbury (The Pedestrian: A Fantasy in One Act)
Here in Prague they say that although the traffic police are communists the drivers are fascists, which would be all right if it were not that the pedestrians are anarchists.
Len Deighton (Funeral in Berlin)
I am closer to who I want to be when I am alone lately. With people, I hear my voice and I just wonder who or what I’m doing all this for. Spreading myself out in front of people. Devaluing my ostensible worth by being so readily available to almost any random pedestrian who wanders into the crosswalk of my focus. If someone is within an earshot I shoot off at the mouth.
Carrie Fisher (The Princess Diarist)
Large portraits of Mao on wooden boards several feet high stood at main street corners. Painted to make the old man look extremely youthful, healthy, and fat (a sign of well-being in China), these pictures provided a mocking contrast to the thin, pale-faced pedestrians walking listlessly below them.
Nien Cheng (Life and Death in Shanghai)
Today is your big moment. Moments, really. The life you’ve been waiting for is happening all around you. The scene unfolding right outside your window is worth more than the most beautiful painting, and the crackers and peanut butter that you’re having for lunch on the coffee table are as profound, in their own way, as the Last Supper. This is it. This is life in all its glory, swirling and unfolding around us, disguised as pedantic, pedestrian non-events. But pull of the mask and you will find your life, waiting to be made, chosen, woven, crafted. Your life, right now, today, is exploding with energy and power and detail and dimension, better than the best movie you have ever seen. You and your family and your friends and your house and your dinner table and your garage have all the makings of a life of epic proportions, a story for the ages. Because they all are. Every life is. You have stories worth telling, memories worth remembering, dreams worth working toward, a body worth feeding, a soul worth tending, and beyond that, the God of the universe dwells within you, the true culmination of super and natural. You are more than dust and bones. You are spirit and power and image of God. And you have been given Today.
Shauna Niequist (Cold Tangerines: Celebrating the Extraordinary Nature of Everyday Life)
Three years in London had not changed Richard, although it had changed the way he perceived the city. Richard had originally imagined London as a gray city, even a black city, from pictures he had seen, and he was surprised to find it filled with color. It was a city of red brick and white stone, red buses and large black taxis, bright red mailboxes and green grassy parks and cemeteries. It was a city in which the very old and the awkwardly new jostled each other, not uncomfortably, but without respect; a city of shops and offices and restaurants and homes, of parks and churches, of ignored monuments and remarkably unpalatial palaces; a city of hundreds of districts with strange names - Crouch End, Chalk Farm, Earl's Court, Marble Arch - and oddly distinct identities; a noisy, dirty, cheerful, troubled city, which fed on tourists, needed them as it despised them, in which the average speed of transportation through the city had not increased in three hundred years, following five hundred years of fitful road-widening and unskillful compromises between the needs of traffic, whether horse-drawn, or, more recently, motorized, and the need of pedestrians; a city inhabited by and teeming with people of every color and manner and kind.
Neil Gaiman (Neverwhere (London Below, #1))
I want him captured; I don’t care who he is. Looking at such a man’s face is anticlimactic; attaching a name, even more so. We know what he did; any information beyond that will inevitably feel pedestrian, pale, somehow cliché: “My mother was cruel. I hate women. I never had a family. . . .” And so on. I want to know more about true, complete people, not dirty scraps of humans.
Michelle McNamara (I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer)
We're going nowhere, " Joan said grimly. Traffic on the narrow street was at a complete standstill. A chill settled in Sophie's stomach: it was the appalling fear that her brother was going to die. "Sidewalk," Nicholas said decisively. "Take it." "But the pedestrians—" "Can get out of the way. Use your horn.
Michael Scott (The Magician (The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel, #2))
Poetry restores language by breaking it, and I think that much contemporary writing restores fantasy, as a genre of writing in contrast to a genre of commodity or a section in a bookstore, by breaking it. Michael Moorcock revived fantasy by prying it loose from morality; writers like Jeff VanderMeer, Stepan Chapman, Lucius Shepard, Jeffrey Ford, Nathan Ballingrud are doing the same by prying fantasy away from pedestrian writing, with more vibrant and daring styles, more reflective thinking, and a more widely broadcast spectrum of themes.
Michael Cisco
Nero drove them out at full throttle, under heavy pursuit. The transport went careening down the street, sending pedestrians and other vehicles in all directions. "Nero!" Darling shouted. "Some of us aren't suicidal back here." "Then strap your ass down. Or lose it." Nero jerked to the right. This time, Darling landed on Hauk. Hauk put him back on his feet. "Nuh-uh. You have to buy me dinner before you crawl on top of me, baby. No one gets a free ride on the Hauk train.
Sherrilyn Kenyon (Born of Fury (The League: Nemesis Rising, #6))
We made it outside to the pedestrian plaza and I asked her, “Do you need a medic?” I thought she might be sick. If I was a human and I’d had to be in the pavilion with all those other humans for the past two and a half hours, I’d be sick.
Martha Wells (Network Effect (The Murderbot Diaries, #5))
What would things look like if Satan really took control of a city? Over half a century ago, Presbyterian minister Donald Grey Barnhouse offered his own scenario in his weekly sermon that was also broadcast nationwide on CBS radio. Barnhouse speculated that if Satan took over Philadelphia (the city where Barnhouse pastored), all of the bars would be closed, pornography banished, and pristine streets would be filled with tidy pedestrians who smiled at each other. There would be no swearing. The children would say "Yes, sir" and "No, ma'am," and the churches would be full every Sunday...where Christ was not preached.
Michael S. Horton (Christless Christianity: The Alternative Gospel of the American Church)
Also-and this is critical-you are not ugly." She blinked. Nick's eyes danced with amusement. "Remember, Isabel. It was your brother who said it. I would not dare to take credit for such pretty words. I would have said something more pedestrian. It takes a great orator to come up with -" "Not ugly." She gave a little shake of her head. "What a lovely compliment.
Sarah MacLean (Ten Ways to Be Adored When Landing a Lord (Love By Numbers, #2))
It never ceases to amaze me how prosaic, pedestrian, unimaginative people can persistently pontificate about classical grammatical structure as though it's fucking rocket science. These must be the same people who hate Picasso, because he couldn't keep the paint inside the lines and the colors never matched the numbers.
Abbe Diaz
Frequently, beauty is playful like dancing sunlight, it cannot be predicted, and in the most unlikely scene or situation can suddenly emerge. This spontaneity and playfulness often subverts our self-importance and throws our plans and intentions into disarray. Without intending it, we find ourselves coming alive with a sense of celebration and delight. The pedestrian sequence of a working day breaks, a new door opens and the heart recognizes the silent majesty of the ordinary. The things we never notice, like health, friends and love, emerge from their subdued presence and stand out in their true radiance as gifts we could never have earned or achieved. Beauty
John O'Donohue (Divine Beauty: The Invisible Embrace)
Everything in Louisiana is about layers. There are layers of race, layers of class, layers of survival, layers of death, and layers of rebirth. To live with these layers is to be a true Louisianian. This state has a depth that is simultaneously beyond words and yet as natural as breathing. How can a place be both other-worldly and completely pedestrian is beyond me; however, Louisiana manages to do it. Louisiana is spooky that way.
Don Lemon (Transparent)
It was bad enough to be swallowed up by the intrinsic anger of New York City traffic and its seemingly mad competition between cars, cabs, the ubiquitous delivery trucks, the kamikaze bike messengers and the always-in-a-damn hurry pedestrians.
Nora Roberts (Three Fates)
Cities must urge urban planners and architects to reinforce pedestrianism as an integrated city policy to develop lively, safe, sustainable and healthy cities. It is equally urgent to strengthen the social function of city space as a meeting place that contributes toward the aims of social sustainability and an open and democratic society.
Jan Gehl (Cities for People)
People say they want to read about life but that's not what they want at all. They want a version of life. Don't you realize, someone else's version of someone else's life is still fiction? It's still a story. But it has no imagination. That's what you people have done. You've murdered imagination.
Andersen Prunty (The Driver's Guide to Hitting Pedestrians)
Walk some night on a suburban street and pass house after house on both sides of the same street each with the lamplight of the living room, shining golden, and inside the little blue square of the television, each living family riveting its attention on probably one show; nobody talking; silence in the yards; dogs barking at you because you pass on human feet instead of wheels.
Geoff Nicholson (The Lost Art of Walking: The History, Science, and Literature of Pedestrianism)
As children get older, this incidental outdoor activity--say, while waiting to be called to eat--becomes less bumptious, physically and entails more loitering with others, sizing people up, flirting, talking, pushing, shoving and horseplay. Adolescents are always being criticized for this kind of loitering, but they can hardly grow up without it. The trouble comes when it is done not within society, but as a form of outlaw life. The requisite for any of these varieties of incidental play is not pretentious equipment of any sort, but rather space at an immediately convenient and interesting place. The play gets crowded out if sidewalks are too narrow relative to the total demands put on them. It is especially crowded out if the sidewalks also lack minor irregularities in building line. An immense amount of both loitering and play goes on in shallow sidewalk niches out of the line of moving pedestrian feet.
Jane Jacobs (The Death and Life of Great American Cities)
Then, with the barricades complete, the posts assigned, the muskets loaded, the lookouts placed, alone in these fearful streets in which there were now no pedestrians, surrounded by these dumb, and seemingly dead houses, which throbbed with no human motion, wrapped in the deepening shadows of the twilight, which was beginning to fall, in the midst of this obscurity and silence, through which they felt the advance of something inexpressibly tragic and terrifying, isolated, armed, determined, tranquil, they waited.
Victor Hugo (Les Miserables)
In accordance with the first system I have named two years 2011 and 2012. This strikes me as deeply pedestrian. Also I cannot remember what happened two thousand years ago which made me think that year a good starting point. According to the second system I have given the years names like ‘The Year I named the Constellations’ and ‘The Year I counted and named the Dead’. I like this much more. It gives each year a character of its own. This is the system I shall use going forward.
Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
Equally arresting are British pub names. Other people are content to dub their drinking establishment with pedestrian names like Harry’s Bar and the Greenwood Lounge. But a Briton, when he wants to sup ale, must find his way to the Dog and Duck, the Goose and Firkin, the Flying Spoon, or the Spotted Dog. The names of Britain’s 70,000 or so pubs cover a broad range, running from the inspired to the improbable, from the deft to the daft. Almost any name will do so long as it is at least faintly absurd, unconnected with the name of the owner, and entirely lacking in any suggestion of drinking, conversing, and enjoying oneself. At a minimum the name should puzzle foreigners-this is a basic requirement of most British institutions-and ideally it should excite long and inconclusive debate, defy all logical explanation, and evoke images that border on the surreal.
Bill Bryson (The Mother Tongue: English and How It Got That Way)
Not only is it a wholly remarkable book, it is also a highly successful one – more popular than the Celestial Home Care Omnibus, better selling than Fifty-three More Things to do in Zero Gravity, and more controversial than Oolon Colluphid's trilogy of philosophical blockbusters Where God Went Wrong, Some More of God's Greatest Mistakes and Who is this God Person Anyway? In many of the more relaxed civilizations on the Outer Eastern Rim of the Galaxy, the Hitch-Hiker's Guide has already supplanted the great Encyclopaedia Galactica as the standard repository of all knowledge and wisdom, for though it has many omissions and contains much that is apocryphal, or at least wildly inaccurate, it scores over the older, more pedestrian work in two important respects. First, it is slightly cheaper; and secondly it has the words DON'T PANIC inscribed in large friendly letters on its cover.
Douglas Adams (The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, #1))
The Gedalists were nearly run down by a Dodge truck on which two grand pianos had been loaded: two uniformed officers were playing, in unison, with gravity and commitment, the 1812 Overture of Tchaikowsky, while the driver wove among the wagons with brusque swerves, pressing the siren at full volume, heedless of the pedestrians in his way.
Primo Levi (If Not Now, When?)
Enrique Peñalosa, the former mayor of Bogotá, Colombia, sees things in a much simpler light: “God made us walking animals—pedestrians. As a fish needs to swim, a bird to fly, a deer to run, we need to walk, not in order to survive, but to be happy.”38 That thought is beautiful, perfectly obvious,
Jeff Speck (Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America, One Step at a Time)
Your own exploration therefore has to be personalized; you're doing it for yourself, increasing your own store of particular knowledge, walking your own eccentric version of the city.
Geoff Nicholson (The Lost Art of Walking: The History, Science, and Literature of Pedestrianism)
You didn't think it was possible for a woman to wander the streets in the same spirit and manner as a man. A female pedestrian was subject to constant disruptions: stares, comments, catcalls, gropes. A woman was raised to be always on guard: Was this guy walking too close? Was that guy following her? How, then, could she ever relax enough to experience the loss of sense of self, the joy of pure being that was the ideal of true flânerie?
Sigrid Nunez (The Friend)
His [the pedestrian's] elevation transfigures him into a voyeur. It puts his at a distance. It transforms the bewitching world by which one was 'possessed' into a text that lies before one's eyes. It allows one to read it, to be a solar Eye, looking down like a god. The exaltation of a scopic and gnostic drive: the fiction of knowledge is related to this lust to be a viewpoint and nothing more.
Michel de Certeau (The Practice of Everyday Life)
Business or profession?' 'I guess you'd call me a writer.' No profession,' said the police car, as if talking to itself. The light held him fixed, like a museum specimen, needle thrust through chest.
Ray Bradbury (The Pedestrian: A Fantasy in One Act)
One thing I have learned about attention is that certain forms of it are contagious. When you spend enough time with someone who pays close attention to something (if you were hanging out with me, it would be birds), you inevitably start to pay attention to some of the same things. I’ve also learned that patterns of attention—what we choose to notice and what we do not—are how we render reality for ourselves, and thus have a direct bearing on what we feel is possible at any given time. These aspects, taken together, suggest to me the revolutionary potential of taking back our attention. To capitalist logic, which thrives on myopia and dissatisfaction, there may indeed be something dangerous about something as pedestrian as doing nothing: escaping laterally toward each other, we might just find that everything we wanted is already here.
Jenny Odell (How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy)
Each pedestrian could see no halo but his or her own, which never deserted the head-shadow, whatever its vulgar unsteadiness might be; but adhered to it, and persistently beautified it; till the erratic motions seemed an inherent part of the irradiation, and the fumes of their breathing a component of the night's mist; and the spirit of the scene, and of the moonlight, and of Nature, seemed harmoniously to mingle with the spirit of wine.
Thomas Hardy (Tess of the D’Urbervilles)
Go to any police-and-community meeting in Brooklyn, the Bronx, or Harlem, and you will hear pleas such as the following: Teens are congregating on my stoop; can you please arrest them? SUVs are driving down the street at night with their stereos blaring; can’t you do something? People have been barbecuing on the pedestrian islands of Broadway; that’s illegal! The targets of these complaints may be black and Hispanic, but the people making the complaints, themselves black and Hispanic, don’t care. They just want orderly streets.
Heather Mac Donald (The War on Cops: How the New Attack on Law and Order Makes Everyone Less Safe)
Modern literary theory sees a similarity between walking and writing that I find persuasive: words inscribe a text in the same way that a walk inscribes space. In The practicse of Everyday Life, Michel de Certeau writes, 'The act of walking is a process of appropriation of the topographical system on the part of the pedestrian; it is a special acting-out of the place...and it implies relations among differentiated positions.' I think this is a fancy way of saying that writing is one way of making the world our own, and that walking is another.
Geoff Nicholson (The Lost Art of Walking: The History, Science, and Literature of Pedestrianism)
God exacted interest like a loanshark, you paid and kept paying and still He broke all yr bones, one Yom Kippur, at the beginning of her 30th year, God had written her name once again in the book of loss, Bertha Schneider, let her lose everything, God had written in that pedestrian prose of His. rub it in, pile it on, and let her eat cake, the kind wrapped in plastic, God had scratched in the margin.
Andrea Dworkin (The New Woman's Broken Heart: Short Stories)
There is no English equivalent for the French word flâneur. Cassell's dictionary defines flâneur as a stroller, saunterer, drifter but none of these terms seems quite accurate. There is no English equivalent for the term, just as there is no Anglo-Saxon counterpart of that essentially Gallic individual, the deliberately aimless pedestrian, unencumbered by any obligation or sense of urgency, who, being French and therefore frugal, wastes nothing, including his time which he spends with the leisurely discrimination of a gourmet, savoring the multiple flavors of his city.
Cornelia Otis Skinner (Elegant Wits and Grand Horizontals)
Frank Sinatra stopped his car. The light was red. Pedestrians passed quickly across his windshield but, as usual, one did not. It was a girl in her twenties. She remained at the curb staring at him. Through the corner of his left eye he could see her, and he knew, because it happens almost every day, that she was thinking, It looks like him, but is it? Just before the light turned green, Sinatra turned toward her, looked directly into her eyes waiting for the reaction he knew would come. It came and he smiled. She smiled and he was gone.
Gay Talese
Las Vegas suggests that the thirst for places, for cities and gardens and wilderness, is unslaked, that people will still seek out the experience of wandering about in the open air to examine the architecture, the spectacles, and the stuff for sale, will still hanker after surprises and strangers. That the city as a whole is one of the most pedestrian-unfriendly places in the world suggests something of the problems to be faced, but that its attraction is a pedestrian oasis suggests the possibility of recovering the spaces in which walking is viable.
Rebecca Solnit (Wanderlust: A History of Walking)
when it comes to empathy and compassion, rich people tend to suck. This has been explored at length in a series of studies by Dacher Keltner of UC Berkeley. Across the socioeconomic spectrum, on the average, the wealthier people are, the less empathy they report for people in distress and the less compassionately they act. Moreover, wealthier people are less adept at recognizing other people’s emotions and in experimental settings are greedier and more likely to cheat or steal. Two of the findings were picked up by the media as irresistible: (a) wealthier people (as assessed by the cost of the car they were driving) are less likely than poor people to stop for pedestrians at crosswalks; (b) suppose there’s a bowl of candy in the lab; invite test subjects, after they finish doing some task, to grab some candy on the way out, telling them that whatever’s left over will be given to some kids—the wealthier take more candy.25 So do miserable, greedy, unempathic people become wealthy, or does being wealthy increase the odds of a person’s becoming that way? As a cool manipulation, Keltner primed subjects to focus either on their socioeconomic success (by asking them to compare themselves with people less well off than them) or on the opposite. Make people feel wealthy, and they take more candy from children.
Robert M. Sapolsky (Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst)
what does travel ultimately produce if it is not, by a sort of reversal, 'an exploration of the deserted places of my memory,' the return to nearby exoticism by way of a detour through distant places, and the 'discovery' of relics and legends: 'fleeting visions of the French countryside,' 'fragments of music and poetry,' in short, something like an 'uprooting in one's origins (Heidegger)? What this walking exile produces is precisely the body of legends that is currently lacking in one's own vicinity; it is a fiction, which moreover has the double characteristic like dreams or pedestrian rhetoric, or being the effect of displacements and condensations. As a corollary, one can measure the importance of these signifying practices (to tell oneself legends) as practices that invent spaces.
Michel de Certeau (The Practice of Everyday Life)
First, if it is true that a spatial order organizes an ensemble of possibilities (e.g., by a place in which one can move) and interdictions (e.g., by a wall that prevents one from going further), than the walked actualizes some of these possibilities. In that way, he makes them exist as well as emerge. But he also moves them about and he invents others, since the crossing, drifting away, or improvisation of walking privilege, transform, or abandon spatial elements.
Michel de Certeau (The Practice of Everyday Life)
The long poem of walking manipulates spatial organizations, no matter how panoptic they may be: it is neither foreign to them (it can take place only within them) nor in conformity with them (it does not receive its identity from them). It creates shadows and ambiguities within them. It inserts its multitudinous references and citations into them (social models, cultural mores, personal factors). Within them it is itself the effect of successive encounters and occasions that constantly alter it and make it the other's blazon: in other words, it is like a peddler carrying something surprising, transverse or attractive compared with the usual choice. These diverse aspects provide the basis of a rhetoric. They can even be said to define it.
Michel de Certeau (The Practice of Everyday Life)
Frank grabbed a tourist brochure stuck under the napkin dispenser. He began to read it. Piper patted Leo’s arm, like she couldn’t believe he was really here. Nico stood at the edge of the group, eyeing the passing pedestrians as if they might be enemies. Coach Hedge munched on the salt and pepper shakers. Despite the happy reunion, everybody seemed more subdued than usual—like they were picking up on Leo’s mood. Jason had never really considered how important Leo’s sense of humor was to the group. Even when things were super serious, they could always depend on Leo to lighten things up. Now, it felt like the whole team had dropped anchor. “So then Jason harnessed the venti,” Hazel finished. “And here we are.” Leo whistled. “Hot-air horses? Dang, Jason. So basically, you held a bunch of gas together all the way to Malta, and then you let it loose.” Jason frowned. “You know, it doesn’t sound so heroic when you put it that way.” “Yeah, well. I’m an expert on hot air. I’m still wondering, why Malta? I just kind of ended up here on the raft, but was that a random thing, or—” “Maybe because of this.” Frank tapped his brochure. “Says here Malta was where Calypso lived.” A pint of blood drained from Leo’s face. “W-what now?” Frank shrugged. “According to this, her original home was an island called Gozo just north of here. Calypso’s a Greek myth thingie, right?” “Ah, a Greek myth thingie!” Coach Hedge rubbed his hands together. “Maybe we get to fight her! Do we get to fight her? ’Cause I’m ready.” “No,” Leo murmured. “No, we don’t have to fight her, Coach.” Piper frowned. “Leo, what’s wrong? You look—” “Nothing’s wrong!” Leo shot to his feet. “Hey, we should get going. We’ve got work to do!” “But…where did you go?” Hazel asked. “Where did you get those clothes? How—” “Jeez, ladies!” Leo said. “I appreciate the concern, but I don’t need two extra moms!” Piper smiled uncertainly. “Okay, but—” “Ships to fix!” Leo said. “Festus to check! Earth goddesses to punch in the face! What are we waiting for? Leo’s back!” He spread his arms and grinned. He was making a brave attempt, but Jason could see the sadness lingering in his eyes. Something had happened to him…something to do with Calypso.
Rick Riordan (The House of Hades (Heroes of Olympus, #4))
Discussing it later, many of us felt we suffered a mental dislocation at that moment, which only grew worse through the course of the remaining deaths. The prevailing symptom of this state was an inability to recall any sound. Truck doors slammed silently; Lux's mouth screamed silently; and the street, the creaking tree limbs, the streetlight clicking different colors, the electric buzz of the pedestrian crossing box - all these usually clamorous voices hushes, or had begun shrieking at a pitch too high for us to hear, though they sent chills up our spines. Sound returned only once Lux had gone. Televisions erupted with canned laughter. Fathers splashed, soaking aching backs.
Jeffrey Eugenides (The Virgin Suicides)
At this moment the phrase “police reform” has come into vogue, and the actions of our publicly appointed guardians have attracted attention presidential and pedestrian. You may have heard the talk of diversity, sensitivity training, and body cameras. These are all fine and applicable, but they understate the task and allow the citizens of this country to pretend that there is real distance between their own attitudes and those of the ones appointed to protect them. The truth is that the police reflect America in all of its will and fear, and whatever we might make of this country’s criminal justice policy, it cannot be said that it was imposed by a repressive minority. The abuses that have followed from these policies—the sprawling carceral state, the random detention of black people, the torture of suspects—are the product of democratic will.
Ta-Nehisi Coates (Between the World and Me)
At every moment of life the civilised man is hedged about by restrictions of impulse: if he happens to feel cheerful he must not sing or dance in the street, while if he happens to feel sad he must not sit on the pavement and weep, for fear of obstructing pedestrian traffic. In youth his liberty is restricted at school, in adult life it is restricted throughout his working hours. All this makes zest more difficult to retain, for the co ntinual restraint tends to produce wearin ess and boredom. Nevertheless, a civilised society is impossible without a very considerable degree of restraint upon spontaneous impulse, since spontaneous impulse will only produce the simplest forms of social c ooperation, not those highly complex forms which modern economic organisation demands
Bertrand Russell (The Conquest of Happiness)
Their story begins on ground level, with footsteps. They are myriad, but do not compose a series. They cannot be counted because each unit has a qualitative character: a style of tactile apprehension and kinesthetic appropriation. Their swarming mass is an innumerable collection of singularities. Their intertwined paths give their shape to spaces. They weave places together. In that respect, pedestrian movements form one of these 'real systems whose existence in fact makes up the city.' They are not localized; it is rather they that spatialize. They are no more inserted within a container than those Chinese character speakers sketch out on their hands with their fingertips.
Michel de Certeau (The Practice of Everyday Life)
It was a city in which the very old and the awkwardly new jostled each other, not uncomfortably, but without respect; a city of shops and offices and restaurants and homes, of parks and churches, of ignored monuments and remarkably unpalatial palaces; a city of hundreds of districts with strange names—Crouch End, Chalk Farm, Earl’s Court, Marble Arch—and oddly distinct identities; a noisy, dirty, cheerful, troubled city, which fed on tourists, needed them as it despised them, in which the average speed of transportation through the city had not increased in three hundred years, following five hundred years of fitful road-widening and unskillful compromises between the needs of traffic, whether horse-drawn, or, more recently, motorized, and the needs of pedestrians; a city inhabited by and teeming with people of every color and manner and kind.
Neil Gaiman (Neverwhere)
Lizzie and I arrived in the polluted heat of a London summer. We stood frozen at street corners as a blur of pedestrians burst out of the subways and spilled like ants down the pavements. The crowed bars, the expensive shops, the fashionable clothes - to me it all seemed a population rushing about to no avail...I stared at a huge poster of a woman in her underwear staring down at her own breasts. HELLO BOYS, she said. At the movies we witnessed sickening violence, except that this time we held tubs of popcorn between our legs and the gunfire and screams were broadcast in digital Dolby. We had escaped a skull on a battlefield, only to arrive in London, where office workers led lines of such tedium and plenty that they had to entertain themselves with all the f****** and killing on the big screen. So here then was the prosperous, democratic and civilized Western world. A place of washing machines, reality TV, Armani, frequent-flier miles, mortgages. And this is what the Africans are supposed to hope for, if they're lucky.
Aidan Hartley (The Zanzibar Chest: A Story of Life, Love, and Death in Foreign Lands)
Is it possible, I wonder, to study a bird so closely, to observe and catalogue its peculiarities in such minute detail, that it becomes invisible? Is it possible that while fastidiously calibrating the span of its wings or the length of its tarsus, we somehow lose sight of its poetry? That in our pedestrian descriptions of a marbled or vermiculated plumage we forfeit a glimpse of living canvases, cascades of carefully toned browns and golds that would shame Kandinsky, misty explosions of color to rival Monet? I believe that we do. I believe that in approaching our subject with the sensibilities of statisticians and dissectionists, we distance ourselves increasingly from the marvelous and spell binding planet of imagination whose gravity drew us to our studies in the first place. That is not to say that we should cease to establish facts and verify our information, but merely to suggest that unless those facts can be imbued with the flash of poetic insight then they remain dull gems; semi-precious stones scarcely worth the collecting.
Alan Moore (Watchmen)
At one point in the story, following a brazen daytime bank robbery, Electro is shown escaping from the authorities by climbing up the side of a building, as easily as Spider-Man . . . we see one observer exclaim, "Look!! That strangely-garbed man is racing up the side of the building!" A second man on the street picks up the narrative: "He's holding on to the iron beams in the building by means of electric rays—using them like a magnet!! Incredible!" There are three feelings inspired by this scene. The first is wonder as to why people rarely use the phrase "strangely-garbed" anymore. The second is nostalgia for the bygone era when pedestrians would routinely narrate events occurring in front of them, providing exposition for any casual bystander. And the third is pleasure at the realization that Electro's climbing this building is actually a physically plausible use of his powers.
James Kakalios (The Physics of Superheroes)
Practical jokes are a demonstration that the distinction between seriousness and play is not a law of nature but a social convention which can be broken, and that a man does not always require a serious motive for deceiving another. Two men, dressed as city employees, block off a busy street and start digging it up. The traffic cop, motorists and pedestrians assume that this familiar scene has a practical explanation – a water main or an electric cable is being repaired – and make no attempt to use the street. In fact, however, the two diggers are private citizens in disguise who have no business there. All practical jokes are anti-social acts, but this does not necessarily mean that all practical jokes are immoral. A moral practical joke exposes some flaw of society which is hindrance to a real community or brotherhood. That it should be possible for two private individuals to dig up a street without being stopped is a just criticism of the impersonal life of a large city where most people are strangers to each other, not brothers; in a village where all inhabitants know each other personally, the deception would be impossible.
W.H. Auden (The Dyer's Hand and Other Essays)
Picnic, Lightning It is possible to be struck by a meteor or a single-engine plane while reading in a chair at home. Safes drop from rooftops and flatten the odd pedestrian mostly within the panels of the comics, but still, we know it is possible, as well as the flash of summer lightning, the thermos toppling over, spilling out on the grass. And we know the message can be delivered from within. The heart, no valentine, decides to quit after lunch, the power shut off like a switch, or a tiny dark ship is unmoored into the flow of the body’s rivers, the brain a monastery, defenseless on the shore. This is what I think about when I shovel compost into a wheelbarrow, and when I fill the long flower boxes, then press into rows the limp roots of red impatiens— the instant hand of Death always ready to burst forth from the sleeve of his voluminous cloak. Then the soil is full of marvels, bits of leaf like flakes off a fresco, red-brown pine needles, a beetle quick to burrow back under the loam. Then the wheelbarrow is a wilder blue, the clouds a brighter white, and all I hear is the rasp of the steel edge against a round stone, the small plants singing with lifted faces, and the click of the sundial as one hour sweeps into the next.
Billy Collins (Picnic, Lightning)
I can't believe he's going to make me give him the speech. I am livid that he's going to make me give him the speech. I do it, piecing it together from times I've seen it done on TV and in movies. I tell him that there are many people who love him and would be crushed if he were to kill himself, while wondering, distantly, if that is the truth. I tell him that he has so much potential, that he has so many things to do, while most of me believes that he will never put his body and brain to much use at all. I tell him that we all have dark periods, while becoming ever more angry at him, the theatrics, the self-pity, all this, when he has everything. He has a complete sort of freedom, with no parents and no dependents, with money and no immediate threats of pain or calamity. He is the 99.9th percentile, as I am. He has no real obligations, can go anywhere at any moment, sleep anywhere, move at will, and still he is wasting everyone's time with this. But I hold that back--I will save that for later--and instead say nothing but the most rapturous and positive things. And though I do not believe much of it, he does. I make myself sick saying it all, everything so obvious, the reasons to live not at all explainable in a few minutes on the edge of a psychiatric ward bed, but still he is roused, making me wonder even more about him, why a fudge-laden pep talk can convince him to live, why he insists on bringing us both down here, to this pedestrian level, how he cannot see how silly we both look, and when, exactly, it was that his head got so soft, when I lost track of him, how it is that I know and care about such a soft and pliant person, where was it again that I parked my car.
Dave Eggers (A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius)
It occurred to me, not exactly for the first time, that psychogeography didn't have much to do with the actual experience of walking. It was a nice idea, a clever idea, an art project, a conceit, but it had very little to do with any real walking, with any real experience of walking. And it confirmed for me what I'd really known all along, that walking isn't much good as a theoretical experience. You can dress it up any way you like, but walking remains resolutely simple, basic, analog. That's why I love it and love doing it. And in that respect--stay with me on this--it's not entirely unlike a martini. Sure you can add things to martinis, like chocolate or an olive stuffed with blue cheese or, God forbid, cotton candy, and similarly you can add things to your walks--constraints, shapes, notions of the mapping of utopian spaces--but you don't need to. And really, why would you? Why spoil a good drink? Why spoil a good walk?
Geoff Nicholson (The Lost Art of Walking: The History, Science, and Literature of Pedestrianism)
A system of justice does not need to pursue retribution. If the purpose of drug sentencing is to prevent harm, all we need to do is decide what to do with people who pose a genuine risk to society or cause tangible harm. There are perfectly rational ways of doing this; in fact, most societies already pursue such policies with respect to alcohol: we leave people free to drink and get inebriated, but set limits on where and when. In general, we prosecute drunk drivers, not inebriated pedestrians. In this sense, the justice system is in many respects a battleground between moral ideas and evidence concerning how to most effectively promote both individual and societal interests, liberty, health, happiness and wellbeing. Severely compromising this system, insofar as it serves to further these ideals, is our vacillation or obsession with moral responsibility, which is, in the broadest sense, an attempt to isolate the subjective element of human choice, an exercise that all too readily deteriorates into blaming and scapegoating without providing effective solutions to the actual problem. The problem with the question of moral responsibility is that it is inherently subjective and involves conjecture about an individuals’ state of mind, awareness and ability to act that can rarely if ever be proved. Thus it involves precisely the same type of conjecture that characterizes superstitious notions of possession and the influence of the devil and provides no effective means of managing conduct: the individual convicted for an offence or crime considered morally wrong is convicted based on a series of hypotheses and probabilities and not necessarily because he or she is actually morally wrong. The fairness and effectiveness of a system of justice based on such hypotheses is highly questionable particularly as a basis for preventing or reducing drug use related harm. For example, with respect to drugs, the system quite obviously fails as a deterrent and the system is not organised to ‘reform’ the offender much less to ensure that he or she has ‘learned a lesson’; moreover, the offender does not get an opportunity to make amends or even have a conversation with the alleged victim. In the case of retributive justice, the justice system is effectively mopping up after the fact. In other words, as far as deterrence is concerned, the entire exercise of justice becomes an exercise based on faith, rather than one based on evidence.
Daniel Waterman (Entheogens, Society and Law: The Politics of Consciousness, Autonomy and Responsibility)