Day 33 – How to Walk in a City Crowd

Breathe easy.  You’re in peacetime, and no matter how raucous or claustrophobic it gets, everyone is still going about their business, nothing more. 

Try to make peace with the commotion and tumult of loud noises.  If you’re suddenly furious with a loud laugher, or a boisterous group, accept this reality in yourself.  Or try your best to.

Walk slowly, with fluidity.  Things will slow down, groups will clump up.  Someone will stop directly in front of you to stare at their phone.  Muscular tension and a tight jaw will not make a crowd flow faster.  It only serves to make your movements more mechanical and prone to be thrown off kilter.  You are not a windup toy.

Look ahead.  If you meet someone’s eyes, don’t feel too afraid.  It’s another human being you are looking at, not a surveillance camera.  Perhaps they feel the same way.  A smile never hurts, and who knows.  Yours may be the first smile that stranger sees today.

Don’t automatically read every poster just because you have nowhere else to look.  Don’t absorb every piece of advertising simply for a lack of attention on your wandering gaze.  This is especially critical if you don’t like what you are looking at in the first place.  The sky is usually more interesting, or maybe just the distance ahead.  No one will think you are a tourist, I promise.

Above all, remember: You are somebody, and a crowd is just a big group of some bodies alongside you.

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