Monday, September 17, 2018

The Walking Dead

No, not the show of the same name, the fact that Pedestrian deaths in Nashville grow each year.  On Saturday, another teenager (isn't it always?) killed a young pedestrian as he was on the run from the Police due to the car he had just stolen, which he them promptly used as a tool for murder.

Just after midnight Saturday night, a 17-year-old male carjacked a 2012 Kia from a victim on Peach Creek Crescent, near Stewarts Ferry Pike. A Witness followed the suspect as he fled, and called 911, updating police with his location as he traveled on I-40.
At 12:36 AM an officer spotted the carjacked Kia, and initiated a pursuit that lasted about 30 seconds, ending when the vehicle attempted to turn left at the intersection of 1st Avenue and Gay Street, downtown. The suspect struck the curb, traveled across Gay Street and went onto the sidewalk, where it struck a utility pole and 24-year-old Corey Joseph Taylor, of Jonesboro, Arkansas. Taylor died on the scene.
The suspect fled from the Kia with a pistol in his hand, and jumped down ont a steep wooded embankment that leads to the Cumberland River. MNPD manned a boat and responded to the riverbank, where the teen was ultimately taken into custody at 5:35 AM. He was transported to VUMC, for treatment of injuries sustained when he jumped onto the embankment. He will be taken to juvenile detention upon medical release.
The 17-year-old suspect is currently charged with vehicular homicide, and addition charges are anticipated, per MNPD.

Walk Bike Nashville is starting a new campaign called, Look 4 Me.  It is in response to the growing number of Pedestrian fatalities in the city.

The issues surround a lack of sidewalks and more importantly pedestrian crossings.  The lack of safe crossings in Nashville is a major public safety risk.  23 people were killed walking in 2017, and already 13 this year.  But subsidizing a wealthy man's parking garage is a great idea right?

We now have the Scooter craze descended upon the city by two providers and I have yet to see any of the safety requirements and laws followed by the riders on said scooters. In the early days prior to this a young woman was nearly killed and knowing Nashville I am sure more will follow.  I am a walker and bus rider and the idiocy surrounding the morons here about riding transit I suspect has much to do with a poorly designed system, the lack of required infrastructure to access said bus and in turn of course class and then race.  Again what is perceived as what the poors do is the big issue regardless of race and not one individual I know in my building who is Black has an inexpensive car. It is both status and symbol and in turn why we have so many resistant to transit as they see it about racial economic division and may explain the obsessive car jackings which here are one of the highest crimes here.  From 2013 to 2017, carjackings in Nashville more than tripled. There were 76 carjackings in 2013 and now there are running to 50 at this date.  Of course our shootings will hit that threshold sooner versus later.  2017 was nearly a record-breaking year for annual homicides in Nashville.

Last year, 107 people were murdered, compared to the city’s all-time high of 112 in 1997.
The alarming statistic is made worse by the rapid increase in annual murders in recent years. In 2014, 41 people were killed in Nashville. The city has seen a nearly 160 percent increase in murders over the past four years.  Again blame the outsiders as that would not hold true given that historical precedent came LONG before we ever did.  But with people come cars and with cars there is a money magnet which looks great with a gun accessory.  This place is a shithole no matter how many expensive condos you build.

I leave for South Carolina  next month and thankfully it seems to be less affected by that crying bitch Florence but I have managed to rent a car only to drive from Charleston to Hilton Head and to Savannah.  I suspect I will be up and on feet for most of the duration as even in Cleveland I used a Taxi only once as it was there in front of me and I had spent the better part of four hours in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and still think it was not long enough!   I rode the bus to the Art Museum and even to and from attending the Orchestra on Friday night.  I used the train to go to the airport and I took free trolleys to sight see when I needed to just sit.  Walkable cities are my passion and it is how you see a place, find the people and in turn connect to a place that organized buses and cars simply do not allow.  In Nashville that is pretty much the only way one sees the City as that is by intent and by massive competition from pedal taverns, golf carts, horse carts, and even a boat on a truck bed as that is what this city is - a giant drunk fest.  It is stupid, grim and pathetic.  And believe me people live in a 20 minute radius and don't set foot in downtown Nashville as there is NO downtown. They are building malls and more indoor facilities to provide options but frankly that is not why people come here. They come to get drunk and get laid while hoping to see the next big it emerge from the honky tonks and they can say, "I saw the future Taylor Swift and the Bluebird!" Okay what.ever.

My favorite writer, David Sedaris, wrote this ode to walking.  I have many places yet left to walk but I have loved every foot stepped in every place, be it here or abroad.  As I am one broad who loves to walk there is nothing better.  Well maybe.  Go Green, go walking.

David Sedaris: ‘It’s fascinating, the things you see when you’re out on foot’
‘I don’t know what it is with Americans yelling out their car windows at cyclists and people on foot.’ 

Exclusive essay for Guardian Cities: David Sedaris has walked through cities all over the world and the worst, by far, is Bangkok

Mon 17 Sep 2018
UK Guardian  Guardian Cities

Like most people, I’ve been walking since I was a year old. I started doing it seriously when I was 13 or so, and as a result my calf muscles are massive, like hams. My family’s house was at the furthest edge of Raleigh, North Carolina – in the last suburb there was – so in the beginning, I’d walk in the country. Then, like an overturned bucket of molasses, the town grew. One development followed another, and I found myself wandering through neighborhoods so new they smelled of plywood, which actually smells of formaldehyde. Driving didn’t appeal to me for some reason. Working didn’t either, but my parents forced me to earn my own money when I turned 16. I found a job in a cafeteria – washing dishes – and would most often walk there and back. “That far!” my friends would say. It surprised me to learn that none of them would think of covering that distance on foot.

I’ve always had an active fantasy life, so that’s what I devoted my walking hours to: daydreaming. The life I imagined for myself trudging through Raleigh, soaked through with filthy dishwater, was exactly the life I wound up with. “I’m going to write books and live overseas with a ridiculously good-looking, artistic boyfriend. Then I’ll buy a beach house everyone can use and …”


I don’t know what it is with Americans yelling out their car windows at cyclists and people on foot, especially in the country. It’s happened to me only once in the UK – out of all the miles I’ve covered. I was collecting rubbish along the side of the road outside the village of Storrington when a guy – red-faced with rage – stuck his head out the window of his white van. “Bin man!” he yelled.

Nothing has ever moved me quite like that slice of pizza. It’s what comes to mind whenever I think of Wisconsin

In America it’s always faggot for some reason, which is odd, as shopping seems much gayer to me than walking along the road and I’m never singled out in stores, not even in ones that sell capes. Of course the allure of such name calling is anonymity – the quick escape. The last time it happened I was in Dayton, Ohio, with my friend Adam who is not gay and, to my mind, would never be mistaken for gay. “Faggot love,” caroled a girl riding in a passing car with friends. She was halfway out the window, in a tank top, her long, straw-colored hair blowing in the breeze. I often think of her, and wonder where she is now, which federal prison or rehab center. Rotting away, poor thing.

It’s fascinating, the things you see when you’re out on foot. I was in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, once, walking through a suburban neighborhood, when I came upon a slice of pizza lying face down in someone’s driveway. “What on earth?” I said to myself, as I stood staring down at it. I’ve discovered far more disgusting things – human turds come to mind, coddled in a rain-soaked pair of Y-fronts and being feasted upon by slugs – but nothing has ever moved me quite like that slice of pizza. It’s what comes to mind now whenever I think of Wisconsin. Not cheese or Joseph McCarthy. Not even the visits I made with my first real boyfriend and the crazy sex we had in motels there, both of us so young.

Just that slice of pizza.

When I think of Normandy, where I spent a dozen summers, and where I walked for miles every afternoon, I think of vicious dogs. That was the problem with the country side near La Bagotière, the hamlet where our house was. By law your animals had to be either penned or tethered, but in what I came to think of as a very French way, no one ever thought the rules should apply to him. “Don’t worry,” farmers would call at the sight of me in the middle of the road, slowly backing away from their snarling mastiff or German shepherd. “He doesn’t bite.”

“You,” I’d always shout back. “He doesn’t bite you.”

When you’re alone, you get taken for a sex tourist. You’re followed and hectored and yanked at

Alghero, in Sardinia, was bad that way as well. That was a good thing about walking in Reykjavik. Dogs were technically banned there until 2006. You could apply for an exception, but I’m guessing it was a pain as I only saw one during my entire five-day visit, and he looked like he’d give his front paws for an asshole other than his own to sniff.

I don’t recall dogs in Dubai either. I was there with my old friend Dawn, a fellow Fitbit wearer. We both put in a good 15 to 20 miles a day, but changed our schedules due to the heat and did most of our walking at night. The place we stayed at was not grand in any way – nothing like the shimmering towers that city is known for. My room’s one window was nine feet off the ground. Also odd was that my door was secured from the outside – with a padlock – but not from within. It was sort of like jail. The neighborhood we stayed in was lively at night, but sober lively, the kind where men hung out at groups at 3am, talking quietly and drinking apricot juice. Most were workers from India or Pakistan or the Philippines, husbands separated from their families and living eight to a padlocked room. On several occasions during our stay, we walked to a 24-hour Indian supermarket. On the second floor, in a sad little clothing section, we came upon a bedazzled sweatshirt with the word “Activity” written on it. No particular team, let alone sport. This was as hypnotizing to me as that slice of pizza in Wisconsin.

In Abu Dhabi we walked a promenade along the riverfront, marveling yet again at the sight of all these unintoxicated people. Midnight, and there was none of the aggressive drunken energy you’d find in the UK. No one shouting or kicking over trash cans. No one saying: “What are you looking at?”

Also refreshing, and really sweet, were the great numbers of young children out with their parents at midnight.

When do they sleep? we wondered.

When do they? the kids likely wondered back, as Dawn and I were out until all hours. “Just one more mile,” she would say. “Did I say one? I meant two.”

I’ve walked through cities all over the world, and the worst, by far, is Bangkok. It might be different if you’re a man with his wife or sister, but when you’re alone, you get taken for a sex tourist, and are hounded every moment of the day and night. “Psst, you looking for girls? Young girls? I got girls.”

I turned to Hugh for help and saw him rounding the corner at high speed. With my map in his hand

You’re followed and hectored and yanked at. Ho Chi Minh City is bad for that as well, though at least the women offered there are fully grown. The problem with the Vietnamese pimps is that you can’t easily cross the street to escape them. The traffic in that country doesn’t stop for anything. People tell you to proceed as you normally would, that the cars and scooters will go around you – and they do, but I was never convinced I wasn’t going to get struck down. And so I’d walk around and around the block my hotel was on, and get asked every 10 seconds if I was looking for a woman.

That happened in Hong Kong as well. My boyfriend Hugh and I were wandering about after dinner, and again and again I was propositioned. That had happened on a few occasions when I lived in Chicago, back when I was in my 20s and I recall being flattered. It’s not that I wanted to be a straight man, but there was a definite freedom in being able to pass as one. Now, though, in my mid-50s, I found it, if not insulting, then at least depressing. First off, why was it always me being propositioned, and never Hugh? Unlike him, I supposed, I looked single. Not the sort who’d chosen bachelorhood, but the sort it had been imposed upon, the type for whom having sex meant paying for sex. Either that or I looked like the guy who’d go on a business trip, get together with a prostitute I met on the street, and then return to my family. “How was Hong Kong?” my wife or daughter might ask.

“Oh,” I’d moan, duplicitous to the core, “the same.”

The fifth time I was propositioned, I told the woman who’d offered herself that I was gay.

“What business is that of hers?” Hugh asked.

“I didn’t want her to think that my saying no had anything to do with her personally,” I told him. “I don’t want her to think she’s not pretty enough.”

‘You’re ridiculous,” he said.

The next prostitute wondered if I wanted a beautiful lady, and the one after that asked where I was going. I told her, and she offered to walk me back to my hotel and stay with me for as long as I wanted. “That’s OK,” I told her. “I’m a homosexual.” I don’t think her English was too good, as this only caused her to ask again. “A fag?” I said. “A faggot?”


“I have places to walk to. Lots of places, so I need to be outside.”

I turned to Hugh for help and saw him rounding the corner at high speed. With my map in his hand. And my phrase book in his back pocket.

“Miles to walk,” I continued as the woman took my hand. “Miles and miles and miles.”

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