Pedestrian Quotes

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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
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)
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)
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)
...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)
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))
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))
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
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)
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))
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)
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)
He walked with equipoise, possibly in either city. Schrödinger’s pedestrian.
China Miéville (The City & the City)
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)
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 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 (The Flatshare, #1))
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))
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)
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
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)
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)
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)
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 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)
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)
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))
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))
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, #8))
The multicolored or grey lights touching their faces, but never really touching them...
Ray Bradbury (The Pedestrian: A Fantasy in One Act)
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))
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
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)
Everybody out on the sidewalk is a pedestrian Mercedes, wallowing in entitlement—colliding, snarling, shoving ahead without even the hollow-to-begin-with local euphemism “Excuse me.
Thomas Pynchon (Bleeding Edge)
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
Those who think of metaphysics as the most unconstrained or speculative of disciplines are misinformed; compared with cosmology, metaphysics is pedestrian and unimaginative. —Stephen Toulmin
Sean Carroll (From Eternity to Here)
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)
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)
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?)
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)
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)
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)
If you are a pedestrian, you are not mechanical enough to be of priority to traffic engineers.
Archimedes Muzenda (Dystopia: How The Tyranny of Specialists Fragment African Cities)
I was going to ask you the same thing—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)
The contempt of motorists for pedestrians is so ironic, because no matter how many cars they have, they are also pedestrians, biologically. Unless they fly to the doors of their cars.
Archimedes Muzenda (Dystopia: How The Tyranny of Specialists Fragment African Cities)
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)
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))
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)
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)
Meandering cows, tenacious bicyclers, belching taxis, rickshaws, fearless pedestrians and the occasional mobile ‘cigarette and sweets’ stand all fought our taxi for room on the narrow two-lane road turned local byway.
Jennifer S. Alderson (Notes of a Naive Traveler: Nepal and Thailand)
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)
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))
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)
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)
We drive as fast as road designs tell us to drive. The result: drivers kill four times as many pedestrians on spacious suburban residential streets than on the narrow streets of traditional neighborhoods, because those spacious roads make driving faster feel safer. And it is not collisions that kill people, but collisions at high speed.
Charles Montgomery (Happy City: Transforming Our Lives Through Urban Design)
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)
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)
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)
I would be utterly emabarrassed to have others around me hear my half of what can only be described as pedestrian. "Yes, the elevator has just pulled up to the 16th floor." Do these people have the ability to go, for say, an eight- or ten-minute stretch without being in contact with someone else? What are they afraid of? Confronting their own thoughts?
Jeff Davidson (The Complete Idiot's Guide to Getting Things Done)
It seems thus possible to give a preliminary definition of walking as a space of enunciation.
Michel de Certeau (The Practice of Everyday Life)
What difference does it make that pedestrian touch carries the weight of the body rather than the weight of the object?
Tim Ingold
Military parades roll down the Champs-Elysees, but pedestrians stroll up ["East Meets West on the Champs-Elysees," Metropolis, March 2006, p73]
Veronique Vienne
I agree that I know nothing. And you know nothing. So, I say, let's figure out together - two equally conditioned pedestrians of freedom with equal potential for truth.
Abhijit Naskar
I used to be a pedestrian before, now I am the rider on the same road.
Piyush Paudyal
I’m a pedestrian, i walk under the sky and the magnetism of the stars that cohabit up there.
Alain Bremond-Torrent (running is flying intermittently (CATEMPLATIONS 1))
One of the powers that love has, is to grow wings in the mind of a pedestrian, though sometimes you just need to walk and stay on your feet.
Alain Bremond-Torrent (running is flying intermittently (CATEMPLATIONS 1))
...for she soars with the wildest hyperbole when not tagging after the most pedestrian dictum.
Vladimir Nabokov (Speak, Memory)
Whenever she was particularly discomposed, she always performed one of these pedestrian feats; and the amount of her discomposure might always be estimated by the duration of her walk.
Charles Dickens (David Copperfield)
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)
The one who is worthy of worship, glory, and fanfare spent decades in obscurity and ordinariness. As if the incarnation itself is not mind-bending enough, the incarnate God spent his days quietly, a man who went to work, got sleepy, and lived a pedestrian life among average people.
Tish Harrison Warren (Liturgy of the Ordinary: Sacred Practices in Everyday Life)
I was funny -- ha-ha, not peculiar. It was a modest currency, like pennies: pedestrian, somewhat laborious, but a currency nonetheless. I was funny, in public, most often at my own expense.
Claire Messud (The Woman Upstairs)
Be warned. This book has no literary merit whatsoever. It it a lurid piece of nonsense, convoluted, implausible, peopled by unconvincing characters, written in drearily pedestrian prose, frequently ridiculous and wilfully bizarre. Needless to say, I doubt you'll believe a word of it.
Jonathan Barnes
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)
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))
The greatest of all faults in a politician, and in any leader, is the failure to recognize that charisma has nothing to do with ability, excellence, or goodness. In fact, charisma enables far more the evils of the universe than great and worthy accomplishments, Give me pedestrian accomplishments over charisma any day.
L.E. Modesitt Jr. (Solar Express)
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)
we tend to focus on rare and spectacular threats and ignore the more frequent and pedestrian ones. So we fear flying more than driving, even though the former is much safer. Or we fear terrorists more than the police, even though in the US you’re nine times more likely to be killed by a police officer than by a terrorist.
Bruce Schneier (Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data and Control Your World)
the noise of Manhattan woke me as effectively as a jolt of caffeine. The blaring of horns and the thud of tires over a manhole cover invigorated me. Rapid-moving streams of pedestrians flanked both sides of the clogged street, while buildings stretched ambitiously toward the sky, keeping us in shadow even as the sun climbed.
Sylvia Day (Reflected in You (Crossfire, #2))
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)
I’m talking about changing the rules of the game, taking control of the field. All these pedestrian notions about morality and dignity are just fairy tales. Here’s the reality. You do what you have to do until you don’t have to do it anymore.
S.G. Redling (Redemption Key (Dani Britton, #2))
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)
There is a strong connection between our ability to use our hands in useful work, and our ability to find happiness in daily life... daily repetitive tasks (are) the compulsive calmness that infuses our pedestrian chores with poetry. - Annie Modessitt
Lisa Grunwald (Whatever Makes You Happy)
I begin with the respect that the anarch shows towards the rules. Respectare as an intensive of respicere means: ‘to look back, to think over, to take into account.’ These are traffic rules. The anarchist resembles a pedestrian who refuses to acknowledge them and is promptly run down. Even a passport check is disastrous for him. ‘I never saw a cheerful end,’ as far back as I can look into history. In contrast, I would assume that men who were blessed with happiness – Sulla, for example – were anarchs in disguise.
Ernst Jünger (Eumeswil (The Eridanos Library))
Why did the poor poet of Tennessee, upon suddenly receiving two handfuls of silver, deliberate whether to buy him a coat, which he sadly needed, or invest his money in a pedestrian trip to Rockaway Beach? Why is almost every robust healthy boy with a robust healthy soul in him, at some time or other crazy to go to sea? Why upon your first voyage as a passenger, did you yourself feel such a mystical vibration, when first told that you and your ship were now out of sight of land? Why did the old Persians hold the sea holy?
Herman Melville (Moby Dick: or, the White Whale)
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)
Took you long enough,” she said, finally. Somewhere, the polite part of Likotsi’s mind chided her for blocking the flow of pedestrian traffic, but she didn’t start walking. She slowly adjusted the lapels of her coat and then the hem of each cuff. “Well. I’m certainly worth the wait.
Alyssa Cole (Once Ghosted, Twice Shy (Reluctant Royals, #2.5))
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)
[T]he hallmark of a true traveller lies not in the number of places one has visited, but rather in one's ability to travel with one's imagination - to be able to employ a myriad of lenses through which to perceive the world, to find beauty and charm in things of quotidian, and most of all to render the familiar unfamiliar, and to transform what was once pedestrian into which is scintillating, stirring, and capable of intoxication
Agnes Chew (The Desire for Elsewhere)
the top hat was now considered the mark of a gentleman, even though the first man to sport one in public, forty years earlier, was arrested on the grounds that it had “a shiny luster calculated to alarm timid people.” (Four women had fainted upon seeing it, and pedestrians had booed.) Lord
Julia Baird (Victoria the Queen: An Intimate Biography of the Woman who Changed the World)
And all the mumbo-jumbo of reincarnation. Man into ox into ape into beetle into eight million four hundred thousand kinds of animate things. Proof? We do not go in for such pedestrian pastimes as proof! That is Western. We are of the mysterious East. No proof, just faith. No reason, just faith.
Khushwant Singh (Train To Pakistan)
All that remains of the garden city in our own day are traffic-free enclaves, islands in a sea of traffic where the pedestrian leads a legally protected by languishing existence, comparable to that of the North American Indians on their reservations...In reality the modern urbanist regards the city as a gigantic centre of production, geared to the efficient transport of workers and goods, to the accommodation of people and the storage of wares, to industrial and commercial activity. The rest, that is to say creativity, life, is optional and comes under the heading of recreation and leisure activities.
Tom McDonough (The Situationists and the City: A Reader)
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)
I hate New York.” It almost makes me recoil, the way he’s said this. Bold, sans serif. No caps, but italics for the It’s not a harmless, pedestrian “I hate this song” or “I hate those chocolate balls rolled in shredded coconut.” It’s not one of those small, meaningless hatreds that shear the word of its meaning.
Kate Clayborn (Love Lettering: A Witty and Heartfelt Love Story)
Wives' at these events had limited choices: either they could stay by their husbands' sides to coach them on other guests' names and remind them of the ages of their children when asked, or they could congregate with other wives in a corner, like pedestrians caught in a rain shower with only one umbrella between them.
Anne Korkeakivi (An Unexpected Guest)
When they reached her house all its lights were blazing. What's going on? Montag had rarely seen that many house lights. Oh, just my mother father and uncle sitting around, talking. It's like being a pedestrian, only rarer. My uncle was arrested another time--did I tell you?--for being a pedestrian. Oh, we're MOST peculiar.
Ray Bradbury (Fahrenheit 451)
Her soul made her honest. Her soul made her kind. It made her swerve for pedestrian ants when she rode her bicycle through the suburbs. It made her cry when she found a sparrow dead on the sidewalk. She moved it into the grass with a stick and covered it in petals. You see, our skin should do more than just protect our bones.
Sophia Elaine Hanson (hummingbird)
I didn’t expect anyone to be out so early—or so late depending on the circumstances—especially with the threat of another storm approaching. I should have known better than to apply that rule to Audrey Rose. Nothing as pedestrian as the weather would keep her caged when she had a goal to achieve and a young woman’s murder to solve.
Kerri Maniscalco (Becoming the Dark Prince (Stalking Jack the Ripper, #3.5))
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)
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)
James and the other eight children of 'Superior Dosset,' of whom there are still five alive, may be said to have represented Victorian England, with its principles of trade and individualism at five per cent, and your money back - if you know what that means. At all events they've turned thirty thousand pounds into a cool million between them in the course of their long lives. (...) Their day is passing, and their type, not altogether for the advantage of the country. They were pedestrian, but they too were sound.
John Galsworthy (The Forsyte Saga (The Forsyte Chronicles, #1-3))
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 (Watchmen, #1-12))
Our capacity for self-delusion appears almost infinite.
John Baxter (The Most Beautiful Walk in the World: A Pedestrian in Paris)
... zebra crossings were rather like Bosnia's "safe zones": places where, if you die, you may simply die with the knowledge that your killer was in the wrong.
Lucy Wadham (The Secret Life of France)
as I travel the city / hating poetry & my haircut & all the things I do not / want to do
Rachel Zucker (The Pedestrians)
All of us, including Marcus—who is passed over by just as many unaware pedestrians—last for just a day, at most.
Ryan Holiday (The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living)
beyond a network of pedestrian tunnels and over a large open space shared by parking lots and those strange new-town trees that never seem to grow.
Bill Bryson (Notes from a Small Island)
Acropolis Loop” pedestrian walkway bordering the base of the Acropolis.
Rick Steves (Rick Steves Greece: Athens & the Peloponnese)
The long drizzle had begun. Pedestrians had turned up collars and trousers at the bottom. Hands were hidden in the pockets of the umbrella-less - umbrellas were up. The street looked like a sea of round, black-cloth roofs, twisting, bobbing, moving. Trucks and vans were rattling in a noisy line, and everywhere men were shielding themselves as best they could.
Theodore Dreiser (Sister Carrie)
Richard Foster is justified in writing: I am concerned that our reading and our writing is gravitating to the lowest common denominator so completely that the great themes of majesty and nobility and felicity are made to seem trite, puny, pedestrian. . . . I am concerned about the state of the soul in the midst of all the cheap sensory overload going on today. You see, without what Alfred North Whitehead called “an habitual vision of greatness,” our soul will shrivel up and lose the capacity for beauty and mystery and transcendence. . . .
John Piper (When I Don't Desire God: How to Fight For Joy)
He's delighted to read what the mayor of Naples says about driving there. Naples is the most chaotic city for drivers on earth. Ed loved it—he got to drive on the sidewalk while the pedestrians filled the street. “A green light is a green light, avanti, avanti,” the mayor explained. “A red light—just a suggestion.” And yellow? he was asked. “Yellow is for gaiety.
Frances Mayes (Under the Tuscan Sun)
Since the Leeburg Pike [at Tyson's Corner] carries six to eight lanes of fast-moving traffic and the mall lacks an obvious pedestrian entrance, I decided to negotiate the street in my car rather than on foot. This is a problem planners call the 'drive to lunch syndrome,' typical of edge nodes where nothing is planned in advance and all the development takes place in isolated 'pods'.
Dolores Hayden (Building Suburbia: Green Fields and Urban Growth, 1820-2000)
AI will have to analyze human feelings accurately in order to treat human illnesses, identify human terrorists, recommend human mates, and navigate a street full of human pedestrians. But it could do so without having any feelings of its own. An algorithm does not need to feel joy, anger, or fear in order to recognize the different biochemical patterns of joyful, angry, or frightened apes.
Yuval Noah Harari (21 Lessons for the 21st Century)
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)
few people in the streets he’s passing, and a pedestrian or two on the walkways of the overpasses—they give lie to the impression that he has somehow wandered into a Lovecrafty tale of doomed cities, ancient evils, and monsters with unpronounceable names. Here, ganged around a bus stop with a sign reading KENMORE SQUARE CITY CENTER, he sees waitresses, nurses, city employees, their faces naked and puffed with sleep.
Stephen King (It)
They were as unexpected as a mirage, those dancers on the Pont des Arts. Strictly speaking, the bridge is for pedestrians only, but waltzing is allowed on special nights like this. A guitar, a violin, an accordian -- a tune everyone knows -- and the dancers begin to twirl, spin, soar and glide all around us, in love with life at 3/4 time. Did I say waltzing was allowed? Under these circumstances, it's mandatory.
Vivian Swift (Le Road Trip: A Traveler's Journal of Love and France)
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)
Septimus had no need to untie Spit Fyre as the dragon had already chewed his way through the rope. They followed Aunt Zelda and Jenna out the side door at the foot of the turret and down to the Palace Gate. Aunt Zelda kept up a brisk pace. Showing a surprising knowledge of the Castle’s narrow alleyways and sideslips, she hurtled along. Oncoming pedestrians were taken aback at the sight of the large patchwork tent approaching them at full speed. They flattened themselves against the walls, and, as the tent passed by with the Princess, the ExtraOrdinary Apprentice and a feral-looking boy with bandaged hands—not to mention a dragon—in its wake, people rubbed their eyes in disbelief.
Angie Sage (Flyte (Septimus Heap, #2))
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)
A moment later I noticed that life around me had gone on as if nothing out of the ordinary had ever occurred. Motorists drove by as usual honking their horns needlessly, brakes screeching, tires squealing; pedestrians maneuvered for an opportunity to dart across traffic. i noticed lawn mowers buzzing in the distance--all this was evidence of the perpetual and sobering reality of life. It goes on no matter who lives or dies. It was time to find my partner.
Randy Sutton (True Blue: Police Stories by Those Who Have Lived Them)
For women mystics, contemplative life is not so much a matter of transcending the illusions of mundane existence or attaining states of perfect equanimity as it is about becoming as fully present as possible to the realities of the human experience. In showing up for what is, no matter how pedestrian or tedious, how aggravating or shameful, the what is begins to reveal itself as imbued with holiness. How do we make space in our lives for this kind of sacred seeing?
Mirabai Starr (Wild Mercy: Living the Fierce and Tender Wisdom of the Women Mystics)
Vae Victus -- suffering to the conquered. Ironic that now I was the one suffering. Not anything as pedestrian as physical pain. Rather the cruel jab of impotent anger -- the hunger for revenge. I didn't care if I was in Heaven or Hell -- all I wanted was to kill my assassins. Sometimes you get what you wish for. The Necromancer Mortanius offered me a chance for vengeance. And like a fool, I jumped at his offer without considering the cost. Nothing is free, not even revenge.
Denis Dyack
I’m the Saint praying on a balcony - like peaceful beasts grazing along the Sea of Palestine. I’m the scholar in a plain reading chair. Branches and rain beat the library windows. I’m the pedestrian on the high road through the stunted woods; the sound of floodgates drowns out my footsteps. I stare at the melancholy wash of another golden sunset... The path is harsh. The hillocks are weed. The air is still. How far we are from birds and streams. The end of the world must be just ahead.
Arthur Rimbaud (Illuminations)
Depression and anxiety may be real. But they can also be Resistance. When we drug ourselves to blot out our soul's call, we are being good Americans and exemplary consumers. We're doing exactly what TV commercials and pop materialist culture have been brainwashing us to do from birth. Instead of applying self-knowledge, self-discipline, delayed gratification and hard work, we simply consume a product. Many pedestrians have been maimed or killed at the intersection of Resistance and Commerce.
Steven Pressfield (The War of Art)
Nobody tried to follow me when I left the coffeehouse at ten, or at least nobody but some of the overweight so-called wildlife that hangs around the pedestrian precinct and tries to cadge handouts from the weak-willed. They know a white bakery bag when they see one, and I was carrying a dozen cinnamon rolls. I swear some of our sparrows are too fat to fly, but the feral cats are too fat to catch them. And the squirrels should have had teeny-weeny skateboards to keep their bellies off the ground.
Robin McKinley (Sunshine)
Some scientists believe that driverless cars will not work unless they learn to be irrational. If such cars stop reliably whenever a pedestrian appears in front of them, pedestrian crossings will be unnecessary and jaywalkers will be able to march into the road, forcing the driverless car to stop suddenly, at great discomfort to its occupants. To prevent this, driverless cars may have to learn to be ‘angry’, and to occasionally maliciously fail to stop in time and strike the pedestrian on the shins.
Rory Sutherland (Alchemy: The Dark Art and Curious Science of Creating Magic in Brands, Business, and Life)
We are happy to observe an increasing frequency of these pedestrian tours: to walk, is, beyond all comparison, the most independent and advantageous mode of travelling; Smelfungus and Mundungus may pursue their journey as they please; but it grieves one to see a man of taste at the mercy of a postilion.' For the 'man of taste' to be actively recommended the pedestrian alternative indeed shows that a decisive reversal of educated attitudes has taken place, and within a relatively narrow span of years.
Robin Jarvis (Romantic Writing and Pedestrian Travel)
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)
It is the flight from us that sent them sprawling into the subdivided woods. And the method of transport through these new subdivisions, across the sprawl, is the automobile, the noose around the neck of the Earth, and ultimately, the Dreamers themselves.
Ta-Nehisi Coates (Between the World and Me)
Mild-mannered Abe, however, is Tarzan of the traffic jungle. He knows the strict species pecking order: pedestrians are on the bottom and run out of the way of everything, bicycles make way to cycle-rickshaws, which give way to auto-rickshaws, which stop for cars, which are subservient to trucks. Buses stop for one thing and one thing only. Not customers - they jump on while the buses are still moving. The only thing that can stop a bus is the king of the road, the lord of the jungle and the top dog. The holy cow.
Sarah Macdonald (Holy Cow: An Indian Adventure)
The immolation occurred late on a Friday morning. The lunchtime bustle was picking up as Paul descended from his office building onto the crowded street. He cut an imposing figure against the flow of pedestrians: six feet four inches, broad shouldered, clean-shaven, clothed in the matching black coat, vest, and long tie that was to be expected of New York’s young professional men. His hair, perfectly parted on the left, had just begun to recede into a gentle widow’s peak. He looked older than his twenty-six years. As
Graham Moore (The Last Days of Night)
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
Rhodes Must Fall was a small-scale example of what racial injustice looks like in Britain. It looks normal. It is pedestrian. It is unquestioned. It's just a part of the landscape, you might walk past it every day. For people who oppose anti-racism on the grounds of freedom of speech, opposition to gross racial disparities is about 'offence', rather than the heavily unequal material conditions that people affected by it carry as burden. Being in a position where their lives are so comfortable that they don't really have anything material to oppose, faux 'free speech' defenders spend all their spare time railing against 'offence culture'. When they make it about offence rather than their own complicity in a drastically unjust system, they successfully transfer the responsibility of fixing the system from the benefactors of it to those who are likely to lose out because of it. Tackling racism moves from conversations about justice to conversations about sensitivity. Those who are repeatedly struck by racism's tendency to hinder their life chances are told to toughen up and grow a thicker skin.
Reni Eddo-Lodge (Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race)
So," she said. All it was was no wheels on Profane, the boy a born pedestrian. Under his own power which was also power over her. Then what was she doing: declaring herself a dependent? As if here were the heart's authentic income-tax form, tortuous enough, mucked up with enough polysyllabic words to take her all of twenty-two years to figure out. At least that long: for surely it was complicated, being a duty you could rightfully avoid with none of fancy's Feds ever to worry about tracking you down on it, but. That "but." If you did take the trouble, even any first step, it meant stacking income against output; and who knew what embarrassments, exposés of self that might drag you into? Strange the places these things can happen in. Stranger that they ever do happen. She headed for the phone. It was in use. But she could wait.
Thomas Pynchon (V.)
She stopped shrieking after a moment. It wasn't the crazy looks she drew from the other pedestrians that made her stop. And her damaged sanity hadn't managed to repair itself. She'd left something behind in that apartment. Something she'd always taken for granted. Faith in a rational world. It was like a tiny cog had been removed from her brain, and all the gears were still working, but a slight wobble was slowly and inevitably stripping the teeth until one day, without warning the Rube Goldberg device that was her mind would fall apart with a loud SPROING.
A. Lee Martinez (Chasing the Moon)
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)
The fog turned a strange yellow, then orange, then black. The gilded winged statue Victory at Buckingham Palace retreated into mist. St. Paul's was a hazy outline, ghostlike in the gloom. La Traviata at the Sadler's Wells theatre was terminated midway because the audience could no longer see the singers on stage. Pedestrians noticed how everything below the waist disappeared. Knees, shoes, dogs became indistinguishable. The Great Smog was days and nights of people and things passing out of sight and existence. It seemed a fitting time for a mother to evaporate.
Kyo Maclear (Stray Love)
Chicago. August. A brilliant day, hot, with a brutal staring sun pouring down rays that were like molten rain. A day on which the very outlines of the buildings shuddered as if in protest at the heat. Quivering lines sprang up from baked pavements and wriggled along the shining car-tracks. The automobiles parked at the kerbs were a dancing blaze, and the glass of the shop-windows threw out a blinding radiance. Sharp particles of dust rose from the burning sidewalks, stinging the seared or dripping skins of wilting pedestrians. What small breeze there was seemed like the breath of a flame fanned by slow bellows.
Nella Larsen (Passing)
helicopters? The gunships? Always beating that particular drum?” “Was?” I said. “He died the day before New Year’s Eve. Car versus pedestrian in Heidelberg, Germany. Hit-and-run.” I clicked the phone off. “Swan mentioned that,” I said. “In passing. Now that I think about it.” “The check mark,” Summer said. I nodded. “One down, seventeen to go.” “What does T.E.P. mean?” “It’s old CIA jargon,” I said. “It means terminate with extreme prejudice.” She said nothing. “In other words, assassinate,” I said. We sat quiet for a long, long time. I looked at the ridiculous quotations again. The enemy. When your back is to the wall. The
Lee Child (The Enemy (Jack Reacher, #8))
Relationships are physics. Time transforms things- it has to, because the change from me to we means clearing away the fortifications you'r put up around your old personality. Living with Susannah made me feel as if I started riding Einstein's famous theoretical bus. Here's my understanding of that difficult idea, nutshelled: if you're riding a magic Greyhound, equipped for light-speed travel, you'll actually live though less time than will any pedestrians whom the bus passes by. So, for a neighbor on the street with a stopwatch, the superfast bus will take two hours to travel from Point A to Point B. But where you're on that Greyhound, and looking at the wipe of the world out those rhomboidial coach windows, the same trip will take just under twenty-four minutes. Your neighbor, stopwatch under thumb, will have aged eighty-six percent more than you have. It's hard to fathom. But I think it's exactly what adult relationships do to us: on the outside, years pass, lives change. But inside, it's just a day that repeats. You and your partner age at the same clip; it seems not time has gone by. Only when you look up from your relationship- when you step off the bus, feel the ground under your shoes- do you sense the sly, soft absurdity of romance physics.
Darin Strauss (Half a Life)
On 119th Street there had been a sign for years in the front window of an old dilapidated three-storey brick house, announcing: FUNERALS PERFORMED. For five years past the house had been condemned as unsafe for human habitation. The wooden steps leading up to the cracked, scabby front door were so rotten one had to mount them like crossing a river on a fallen tree trunk; the foundation was crumbling, one side of the house had sunk more than a foot lower than the other, the concrete windowsills had fallen from all the upper windows and the constant falling of bricks from the front wall created a dangerous hazard for passing pedestrians.
Chester Himes (Blind Man with a Pistol (Harlem Cycle, #8))
Pedestrianism, [William Bingley] claims, is the most 'useful' mode of travel, 'if health and strength are not wanting.' 'To a naturalist, it is evidently so; since, by this means, he is enabled to examine the country as he goes along; and when he sees occasion, he can also strike out of the road, amongst the mountains or morasses, in a manner completely independent of all those obstacles that inevitably attend the bringing of carriages or horses.' Bingley has a specific reason here for valuing the combination of freedom and intimacy with one's surroundings enjoyed by the pedestrian, but his rationale is generalisable to other travellers.
Robin Jarvis (Romantic Writing and Pedestrian Travel)
The car sped along. She kept her foot permanently on the accelerator, and took every corner at an acute angle. Two motorists we passed looked out of their windows outraged as she swept by, and one pedestrian in a lane waved his stick at her. I felt rather hot for her. She did not seem to notice though. I crouched lower in my seat.
Daphne du Maurier (Rebecca)
There are simply several different paths leading to high intelligence, and only some of these paths involve gaining consciousness. Just as airplanes fly faster than birds without ever developing feathers, so computers may come to solve problems much better than mammals without ever developing feelings. True, AI will have to analyse human feelings accurately in order to treat human illnesses, identify human terrorists, recommend human mates and navigate a street full of human pedestrians. But it could do so without having any feelings of its own. An algorithm does not need to feel joy, anger or fear in order to recognise the different biochemical patterns of joyful, angry or frightened apes.
Yuval Noah Harari (21 Lessons for the 21st Century)
With a boot on his chest, she used her free hand to search for the syringe he surely carried. Found it. Jabbed it into his thigh. Waited with the gun to his head until his eyes shut and his jaw went slack. Punched him just to be sure. The sedative would have been measured to heavily dose Neeva and her nearly half-weight to his, but at this point, what the fuck ever. A group of pedestrians on the other side of the street had watched the entire scene. Munroe waved them on. “It’s official business,” she said, and whether they believed her or not, they moved on. Human nature was always more inclined to apathy, to avoiding involvement, to seeing things as someone else’s problem. People were easy like that.
Taylor Stevens
Whether Whether anger quickens a lagging stride, and periodic burn-offs in the forest revitalize exhausted soil and flora—. Whether we should take pleasure in the wildcat jubilation of a lightning bolt that whips its silver vein of genesis through the night sky, flash-photo of a white birch upended, the root-system buckled to swollen thunderheads—. And whether naming an offense amounts to sour grapes and common bitterness, or even the conceited nonsense of unwashed yahoo multitudes, a yawping insult to civilized behavior—. Whether a July rainstorm, even when it drenches the unprepared pedestrian and befuddles traffic, might be extravagant, a joy, like the whoops and escalating bop glissandos of Gillespie’s upraised horn, cascading pitches a countersong to meteoric chalk marks Perseids burn across the House of Leo—. And whether peaceful ecstasy might float up from a fifteen-second avalanche reflected in the skier’s goggles, his jacket a spark of scarlet on the topmost slope, waiting for the homeward track to clear.
Alfred Corn (Contradictions)
The biggest threat facing minority New Yorkers now is not “over-policing,” and certainly not brutal policing. The NYPD has one of the lowest rates of officer shootings and killings in the country; it is recognized internationally for its professionalism and training standards. Deaths such as Eric Garner’s are an aberration, which the department does everything it can to avoid. The biggest threat facing minority New Yorkers today is de-policing. After years of ungrounded criticism from the press and activists, after highly publicized litigation and the passage of ill-considered laws—such as the one making officers financially liable for alleged “racial profiling”—NYPD officers have radically scaled back their discretionary activity. Pedestrian stops have dropped 80 percent citywide and almost 100 percent in some areas. The department is grappling with how to induce officers to use their lawful authority again to stop crime before it happens. Garner’s death was a heartbreaking tragedy, but the unjustified backlash against misdemeanor enforcement is likely to result in more tragedy for New Yorkers.
Heather Mac Donald (The War on Cops: How the New Attack on Law and Order Makes Everyone Less Safe)
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)
I think romance is maligned in large part because at first glance, love seems so pedestrian. It’s all around us. It’s in books and songs and movies and on billboards, so how could it really hold literary value? But what people tend to forget is that the search for love—for the simple idea that there is someone out there who will see us for who we are and accept us isn’t trite. It’s a huge part of our lives. And it’s an enormous part of our dreams. There are so many fabulous romances out there—there’s something for everyone. I really believe that. And I believe that most of the people who look down their noses at the genre haven’t ever read a romance novel. I think that if they did, they’d be really surprised by how good great romance can be.
Sarah MacLean
You are driving home. You listen to ‘Tongue Tied’ by Grouplove. Someone side-swipes the Ferrari. You almost strike three pedestrians and crash into a Dunkin’ Donuts. This is somewhere near the Brooklyn Bridge and you find out—later—the lady who hit you, she died. She was old. “Wasn’t wearing her glasses,” someone on the street says. “She was basically driving blind,” the police officer says. “I’m surprised this didn’t happen earlier.” An EMT examines you. You try and act normal. “Am I hurt?” you ask. “You’re not hurt,” the EMT says. You talk to the cops. “Am I in trouble?” you ask. “You’re not in trouble,” a young cop says. You freak out a little. You can smell pomade in your sweat. “Everything is under control,” someone says—another police officer. You freak out some more.
Mike Kleine (Mastodon Farm)
If this goes on . . .” thought Ray Bradbury, “nobody will read books anymore,” and Fahrenheit 451 began. He had written a short story once called “The Pedestrian,” about a man who is incarcerated by the police after he is stopped simply for walking. That story became part of the world he was building, and seventeen-year-old Clarisse McLellan becomes a pedestrian in a world where nobody walks.
Ray Bradbury (Fahrenheit 451)
Piff and his team of researchers found that the rich are more likely than the poor to cut off other vehicles when driving through intersections. And they’re less likely to stop for pedestrians. They’re more likely to cheat in a game, and more likely to think of greed as good. But money is not to blame for this, Piff suggests. What’s to blame is the comfort that a higher class status affords—the independence, the insularity, the security, the illusion of not needing other people. “While having money doesn’t necessarily make anybody anything,” Piff told New York magazine, “the rich are way more likely to prioritize their own self-interests above the interests of other people. It makes them more likely to exhibit characteristics that we would stereotypically associate with, say, assholes.
Eula Biss (Having and Being Had)
A cop ascending a staircase in a white neighborhood who was so pre-terrified of the residents that he pulled the trigger at the first sound he heard would be derided as a paranoid lunatic. Similarly, the idea that a fat white guy selling hot smokes on a street corner was a grave threat would be laughed at as absurd. But a 350-pound black man is plausibly described in the press as someone who scared pedestrians, a threat needing to be defused. Try to imagine a world where there isn’t a vast unspoken consensus that black men are inherently scary, and most of these police assaults would play in the media like spontaneous attacks of madness. Instead, they’re sold as battle scenes from an occupation story, where a quick trigger finger while patrolling the planet of a violent alien race is easy to understand.
Matt Taibbi (I Can't Breathe: A Killing on Bay Street)
Okay. Apprentice, I command you to…think! Being a man of action is fine, but you need to think before you act.” “That’s.…” Phillip held up a hand. “Stop! Did you think about what you’re about to say?” “No.” “Then take a moment. Think about what you were going to say, what you have riding on my continued good will, and how I’m likely to react to the words you were about to let fall from your mouth like a partially chewed mouthful of spoiled cheese.” They stood in silence for a moment as the pedestrians passed them by. Finally Phillip broke the silence. “Have you thought about it?” “Yes.” “Do you still intend to say whatever it was?” “No.” “Excellent! You have pleased me, my apprentice! Well done! I’m delighted at the prospect of all the marvelous things you’re not going to say in the future! You know, the less you talk, the more people assume that what you’re not saying is important.
Scott Meyer (Off to Be the Wizard (Magic 2.0, #1))
Sometimes I wear sunglasses even in the house. Sometimes at the stadium I hold my hand up and look at it and I swear I can see right through it. Like that thing with the flashlight and your hand.’ ‘Hands seem to be sort of a theme to this call, thus far.’ ‘On the way in from the lot off the street here I saw a pedestrian in a pith helmet stagger and like claw at the air and pitch forward onto his face. Another Phoenician felled by the heat I think to myself
David Foster Wallace (Infinite Jest)
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)
It turned out that our choices of everything from food to mates result not from some mysterious free will, but rather from billions of neurons calculating probabilities within a split second. Vaunted ‘human intuition’ is in reality ‘pattern recognition’.3 Good drivers, bankers and lawyers don’t have magical intuitions about traffic, investment or negotiation – rather, by recognising recurring patterns, they spot and try to avoid careless pedestrians, inept borrowers and dishonest crooks.
Yuval Noah Harari (21 Lessons for the 21st Century)
There was just enough room for the tonga to get through among the bullock-carts, rickshaws, cycles and pedestrians who thronged both the road and the pavement--which they shared with barbers plying their trade out of doors, fortune-tellers, flimsy tea-stalls, vegetable-stands, monkey-trainers, ear-cleaners, pickpockets, stray cattle, the odd sleepy policeman sauntering along in faded khaki, sweat-soaked men carrying impossible loads of copper, steel rods, glass or scrap paper on their backs as they yelled 'Look out! Look out!' in voices that somehow pierced though the din, shops of brassware and cloth (the owners attempting with shouts and gestures to entice uncertain shoppers in), the small carved stone entrance of the Tinny Tots (English Medium) School which opened out onto the courtyard of the reconverted haveli of a bankrupt aristocrat, and beggars--young and old, aggressive and meek, leprous, maimed or blinded--who would quietly invade Nabiganj as evening fell, attempting to avoid the police as they worked the queues in front of the cinema-halls. Crows cawed, small boys in rags rushed around on errands (one balancing six small dirty glasses of tea on a cheap tin tray as he weaved through the crowd) monkeys chattered in and bounded about a great shivering-leafed pipal tree and tried to raid unwary customers as they left the well-guarded fruit-stand, women shuffled along in anonymous burqas or bright saris, with or without their menfolk, a few students from the university lounging around a chaat-stand shouted at each other from a foot away either out of habit or in order to be heard, mangy dogs snapped and were kicked, skeletal cats mewed and were stoned, and flies settled everywhere: on heaps of foetid, rotting rubbish, on the uncovered sweets at the sweetseller's in whose huge curved pans of ghee sizzled delicioius jalebis, on the faces of the sari-clad but not the burqa-clad women, and on the horse's nostrils as he shook his blinkered head and tried to forge his way through Old Brahmpur in the direction of the Barsaat Mahal.
Vikram Seth (A Suitable Boy (A Bridge of Leaves, #1))
From my heel to my toe is a measured space of 29.7 centimetres or 11.7 inches. This is a unit of progress and it is also a unit of thought. 'I can only meditate when I am walking,' wrote Jean-Jacques Rousseau in the fourth book of his 'Confessions', 'when I stop I cease to think; my mind only works with my legs.' Søren Kierkegaard speculated that the mind might function optimally at the pedestrian pace of three miles per hour, and in a journal entry describes going out for a wander and finding himself 'so overwhelmed with ideas' that he 'could scarcely walk'. Christopher Morley wrote of Wordsworth as 'employ[ing] his legs as an instrument of philosophy' and Wordsworth of his own 'feeling intellect'. Nietzsche was typically absolute on the subject - 'Only those thoughts which come from 'walking' have a value' - and Wallace Stevens typically tentative: 'Perhaps / The truth depends on a walk around the lake.' In all of these accounts, walking is not the action by which one arrives at knowledge; it is itself the means of knowing.
Robert Macfarlane (The Old Ways: A Journey on Foot)
[Robert] Newell's recommendation of walking is also interesting: 'The best way undoubtedly of seeing a country is on foot. It is the safest, and most suited to every variety of road; it will often enable you to take a shorter track, and visit scenes (the finest perhaps) not otherwise accessible; it is healthy, and, with a little practice, easy; it is economical: a pedestrian is content with almost any accommodations; he, of all travellers, wants but little, 'Nor wants that little long'. And last, though not least, it is perfectly independent.' Newell cites independence, as do a number of the 'first generation' of Romantic walkers I have already surveyed; more striking are his commendation of walking as the safest option, which reflects a very altered perception of the security of travel from that which prevailed in the eighteenth century, and his advocacy of the practical and health benefits of pedestrianism, which against suggests its institutionalisation as a form of tourism and its extension to lower reaches of the middle classes.
Robin Jarvis (Romantic Writing and Pedestrian Travel)
An important first step is to cultivate humility. We know from various studies that attitudes of superiority prevent us from reacting to others’ sadness—and even to our own. “Your vagus nerve won’t fire when you see a child who’s starving,” says Keltner, “if you think you’re better than other people.” Amazingly, high-ranking people (including those artificially given high status, in a lab setting) are more likely to ignore pedestrians and to cut off other drivers, and are less helpful to their colleagues and to others in need.
Susan Cain (Bittersweet (Oprah's Book Club): How Sorrow and Longing Make Us Whole)
She felt surprised that it was still light outside, as if inside the store she had lost all sense of time. The pavement around her was heaving with humanity; pedicab after pedicab rushed past on the road, all of them taken. Pedestrians and vehicles flowed on by, as if separated from her by a wall of glass, and no more accessible than the elegant mannequins in the window of the Green House Ladies’ Clothing Emporium—you could look, but you couldn’t touch. They glided along, imperviously serene, as she stood on the outside, alone in her agitation.
Eileen Chang (Lust, Caution)
[Professor Greene's] reaction to GAMAY, as published in the Yale Daily News, fairly took one's breath away. He fondled the word "fascist" as though he had come up with a Dead Sea Scroll vouchsafing the key word to the understanding of God and Man at Yale. In a few sentences he used the term thrice. "Mr. Buckley has done Yale a great service" (how I would tire of this pedestrian rhetorical device), "and he may well do the cause of liberal education in America an even greater service, by stating the fascist alternative to liberalism. This fascist thesis . . . This . . . pure fascism . . . What more could Hitler, Mussolini, or Stalin ask for . . . ?" (They asked for, and got, a great deal more.) What survives, from such stuff as this, is ne-plus-ultra relativism, idiot nihlism. "What is required," Professor Greene spoke, "is more, not less tolerance--not the tolerance of indifference, but the tolerance of honest respect for divergent convictions and the determination of all that such divergent opinions be heard without administrative censorship. I try my best in the classroom to expound and defend my faith, when it is relevant, as honestly and persuasively as I can. But I can do so only because many of my colleagues are expounding and defending their contrasting faiths, or skepticisms, as openly and honestly as I am mine." A professor of philosophy! Question: What is the 1) ethical, 2) philosophical, or 3) epistemological argument for requiring continued tolerance of ideas whose discrediting it is the purpose of education to effect? What ethical code (in the Bible? in Plato? Kant? Hume?) requires "honest respect" for any divergent conviction?
William F. Buckley Jr. (God and Man at Yale: The Superstitions of 'Academic Freedom')
The stretch of the Appian Way past the Catacombs of San Sebastiano is the least interesting and most crowded (even dangerous). Avoid it by taking the pedestrian and bike path (open daily except Wed), which begins just past the Catacombs of San Sebastiano, at the intersection with Via delle Sette Chiese. To reach the path, go through the arch at #126. The quiet path parallels the Appian Way and takes you directly to the Catacombs of San Callisto. On Wednesdays, when the gate is closed, you’ll have to stay straight on Via Appia Antica, being careful of traffic.
Rick Steves (Rick Steves' Tour: Appian Way, Rome)
The Sinsar Dubh popped up on my radar, and it was moving straight toward us. At an extremely high rate of speed. I whipped the Viper around, tires smoking on the pavement. There was nothing else I could do. Barrons looked at me sharply. “What? Do you sense it?” Oh, how ironic, he thought I’d turned us toward it. “No,” I lied, “I just realized I forgot my spear tonight. I left it back at the bookstore. Can you believe it? I never forget my spear. I can’t imagine what I was thinking. I guess I wasn’t. I was talking to my dad while I was getting dressed and I totally spaced it.” I worked the pedals, ripping through the gears. He didn’t even try to pat me down. He just said, “Liar.” I sped up, pasting a blushing, uncomfortable look on my face. “All right, Barrons. You got me. But I do need to go back to the bookstore. It’s . . . well . . . it’s personal.” The bloody, stupid Sinsar Dubh was gaining on me. I was being chased by the thing I was supposed to be chasing. There was something very wrong with that. “It’s . . . a woman thing . . . you know.” “No, I don’t know, Ms. Lane. Why don’t you enlighten me?” A stream of pubs whizzed by. I was grateful it was too cold for much pedestrian traffic. If I had to slow down, the Book would gain on me, and I already had a headache the size of Texas that was threatening to absorb New Mexico and Oklahoma. “It’s that time. You know. Of the month.” I swallowed a moan of pain. “That time?” he echoed softly. “You mean time to stop at one of the multiple convenience stores we just whizzed past so you can buy tampons? Is that what you’re telling me?” I was going to throw up. It was too close. Saliva was pooling in my mouth. How far behind me was it? Two blocks? Less? “Yes,” I cried. “That’s it! But I use a special kind and they don’t carry it.” “I can smell you, Ms. Lane,” he said, even more softly. “The only blood on you is from your veins, not your womb.” My head whipped to the left and I stared at him. Okay, that was one of the more disturbing things he’d ever said to me. “Ahhh!” I cried, letting go of both the wheel and the gearshift to clutch my head. The Viper ran up on the sidewalk and took out two newspaper stands and a streetlamp before crashing to a stop against a fire hydrant. And the blasted, idiotic Book was still coming. I began foaming at the mouth, wondering what would happen if it passed within a few feet of me. Would I die? Would my head really explode?
Karen Marie Moning (Faefever (Fever, #3))
A book is open in front of me and this is what it has to say about the symptoms of morphine withdrawal: '... morbid anxiety, a nervous depressed condition, irritability, weakening of the memory, occasional hallucinations and a mild impairment of consciousness ...' I have not experienced any hallucinations, but I can only say that the rest of this description is dull, pedestrian and totally inadequate. 'Depressed condition' indeed! Having suffered from this appalling malady, I hereby enjoin all doctors to be more compassionate toward their patients. What overtakes the addict deprived of morphine for a mere hour or two is not a 'depressed condition': it is slow death. Air is insubstantial, gulping it down is useless ... there is not a cell in one's body that does not crave ... but crave what? This is something which defies analysis and explanation. In short, the individual ceases to exist: he is eliminated. The body which moves, agonises and suffers is a corpse. It wants nothing, can think of nothing but morphine. To die of thirst is a heavenly, blissful death compared with the craving for morphine. The feeling must be something like that of a man buried alive, clawing at the skin on his chest in the effort to catch the last tiny bubbles of air in his coffin, or of a heretic at the stake, groaning and writhing as the first tongues of flame lick at his feet. Death. A dry, slow death. That is what lurks behind that clinical, academic phrase 'a depressed condition'.
Mikhail Bulgakov (Morphine)
I wish I could have shown you that engineheart- the system of pieces and parts that moved us forward, that moves us forward still. One day, a few weeks after my son’s death, I took the bolt off the casing and opened it up. Just to see how it worked. Opening that heart was like the opening the first page of a book- there were characters (me, the Memory of My Father), there was rhythm and chronology, I saw, in the images, old roads I’d forgotten- and scenes from stories where the VW was just a newborn. I do know that it held a true translation: miles to words, words to notes, notes to time. It was the HEART that converted the pedestrian song of Northampton to something meaningful, and it did so via some sort of fusion: the turtle that howls a bluegrass tune at the edge of Bow Lake becomes a warning in the VW heart…and that’s just the beginning- the first heart layer. It will take years and years of study, and the energy of every single living thing, to understand the tiny minds and roads in the subsequent layers, the mechanics at work to make every single heartmoment turn together… The point is, this WAS always the way it was supposed to be. Even I could see that the Volkswagen heart was wired for travel-genetically coded. His pages were already written-as are mine and yours. Yes, yours too! I am looking into your eyes right now and I am reading your life, and I am excited/sorry for what the road holds for you. It’s going to be amazing/really difficult. You’ll love/loathe every minute of it!
Christopher Boucher (How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive: A Novel)
To cap off your Trastevere stroll with one more sight, consider visiting Villa Farnesina, a Renaissance villa decorated by Raphael . To get there, face the Church of Santa Maria in Trastevere and leave the piazza by walking along the right side of the church, following Via della Paglia to Piazza di S. Egidio. Exit the piazza near the church and you’ll be on Via della Scala. Follow through the Porta Settimiana, where it changes names to Via della Lungara. On your right, you’ll pass John Cabot University. Look for a white arch that reads Accademia dei Lincei. The villa is through this gate at #230. If you’re in the mood to extend this walk, head to the river, cross the pedestrian bridge, Ponte Sisto, and make your way to Campo de’ Fiori, where the Heart of Rome Walk begins.
Rick Steves (Rick Steves' Walk: Trastevere, Rome)
...I shall let [Anne] Wallace put the case herself, at what I think is necessary length: 'As travel in general becomes physically easier, faster, and less expensive, more people want and are able to arrive at more destinations with less unpleasant awareness of their travel process. At the same time the availability of an increasing range of options in conveyance, speed, price, and so forth actually encouraged comparisons of these different modes...and so an increasingly positive awareness of process that even permitted semi-nostalgic glances back at the bad old days...Then, too, although local insularity was more and more threatened...people also quite literally became more accustomed to travel and travellers, less fearful of 'foreign' ways, so that they gradually became able to regard travel as an acceptable recreation. Finally, as speeds increased and costs decreased, it simply ceased to be true that the mass of people were confined to that circle of a day's walk: they could afford both the time and the money to travel by various means and for purely recreational purposes...And as walking became a matter of choice, it became a possible positive choice: since the common person need not necessarily be poor. Thus, as awareness of process became regarded as advantageous, 'economic necessity' became only one possible reading (although still sometimes a correct one) in a field of peripatetic meanings that included 'aesthetic choice'.' It sounds a persuasive case. It is certainly possible that something like the shift in consciousness that Wallace describes may have taken place by the 'end' (as conventionally conceived) of the Romantic period, and influenced the spread of pedestrianism in the 1820s and 1830s; even more likely that such a shift was instrumental in shaping the attitudes of Victorian writing in the railway age, and helped generate the apostolic fervour with which writers like Leslie Stephen and Robert Louis Stevenson treated the walking tour. But it fails to account for the rise of pedestrianism as I have narrated it.
Robin Jarvis (Romantic Writing and Pedestrian Travel)
[Hyun Song Shin] most accurately portrayed the state of the global economy. 'I'd like to tell you about the Millennium Bridge in London,' he began…'The bridge was opened by the queen on a sunny day in June,' Shin continued. 'The press was there in force, and many thousands of people turned up to savor the occasion. However, within moments of the bridge's opening, it began to shake violently.' The day it opened, the Millennium Bridge was closed. The engineers were initially mystified about what had gone wrong. Of course it would be a problem if a platoon of soldiers marched in lockstep across the bridge, creating sufficiently powerful vertical vibration to produce a swaying effect. The nearby Albert Bridge, built more than a century earlier, even features a sign directing marching soldiers to break step rather than stay together when crossing. But that's not what happened at the Millennium Bridge. 'What is the probability that a thousand people walking at random will end up walking exactly in step, and remain in lockstep thereafter?' Shin asked. 'It is tempting to say, 'Close to Zero' ' But that's exactly what happened. The bridge's designers had failed to account for how people react to their environment. When the bridge moved slightly under the feet of those opening-day pedestrians, each individual naturally adjusted his or her stance for balance, just a little bit—but at the same time and in the same direction as every other individual. That created enough lateral force to turn a slight movement into a significant one. 'In other words,' said Shin, 'the wobble of the bridge feeds on itself. The wobble will continue and get stronger even though the initial shock—say, a small gust of wind—had long passed…Stress testing on the computer that looks only at storms, earthquakes, and heavy loads on the bridge would regard the events on the opening day as a 'perfect storm.' But this is a perfect storm that is guaranteed to come every day.' In financial markets, as on the Millennium Bridge, each individual player—every bank and hedge fund and individual investor—reacts to what is happening around him or her in concert with other individuals. When the ground shifts under the world's investors, they all shift their stance. And when they all shift their stance in the same direction at the same time, it just reinforces the initial movement. Suddenly, the whole system is wobbling violently. Ben Bernanke, Mervyn King, Jean-Claude Trichet, and the other men and women at Jackson Hole listened politely and then went to their coffee break.
Neil Irwin (The Alchemists: Three Central Bankers and a World on Fire)
Take a step back to recall the story that this book tells, and consider how it might come to a very unhappy ending. Imagine the history our disappointed descendants might write. For centuries, the moral teachings of a civilization held self—interest and self-trust to be the sins of frail and deluded humanity. These traditional teachings denied that societies could discern distinct and viable principles of order and design their own institutions accordingly. The denounced such efforts as doomed hubris. Then, in an unprecedented experiment, some people rejected the old wisdom. They took the heart’s desire and the body’s appetite as compass points and rededicated human ingenuity to serving them. They created new forms of order to house these inverted values. For a time, the experiment succeeded, changing life so dramatically that the utopian visions of one century became the pedestrian common sense of the next. Then, suddenly and drastically, the experiment failed. Self-interest and self-trust proved to be formulas for devastating the world. Democratic polities, the other moral center of the great experiment, could not stop runaway self-destruction and turned out to abet it instead. Faced with overwhelming evidence that they were on an unsustainable course, the freedom-loving peoples of the twenty-first century wrung their hands, congratulated themselves on their hybrid cars and locally grown food, and changed little, because it never made sense for anyone or any country to do so.
Jedediah Purdy (A Tolerable Anarchy: Rebels, Reactionaries, and the Making of American Freedom)
what was good for survival and reproduction in the African savannah a million years ago does not necessarily make for responsible behavior on twenty-first-century motorways. Distracted, angry, and anxious human drivers kill more than a million people in traffic accidents every year. We can send all our philosophers, prophets, and priests to preach ethics to these drivers, but on the road, mammalian emotions and savannah instincts will still take over. Consequently, seminarians in a rush will ignore people in distress, and drivers in a crisis will run over hapless pedestrians. This disjunction between the seminary and the road is one of the biggest practical problems in ethics. Immanuel Kant, John Stuart Mill, and John Rawls can sit in some cozy university hall and discuss theoretical ethical problems for days—but would their conclusions actually be implemented by stressed-out drivers caught in a split-second emergency? Perhaps Michael Schumacher—the Formula One champion who is sometimes hailed as the best driver in history—had the ability to think about philosophy while racing a car, but most of us aren’t Schumacher. Computer algorithms, however, have not been shaped by natural selection, and they have neither emotions nor gut instincts. Therefore in moments of crisis they could follow ethical guidelines much better than humans—provided we find a way to code ethics in precise numbers and statistics. If we could teach Kant, Mill, and Rawls to write code, they would be able to program the self-driving car in their cozy laboratory and be certain that the car would follow their commandments on the highway. In effect, every car would be driven by Michael Schumacher and Immanuel Kant rolled into one.
Yuval Noah Harari (21 Lessons for the 21st Century)