(Toledo, OH) Over the past few years I have noticed a rise in the number of people who walk with a pace that can only be called "tortoise-like."
I am not referring to the elderly, or people who have some physical condition that inhibits their ability to walk at the pace of normal pedestrian traffic.
The slow walkers to which I refer are usually young people - generally, but not exclusively, young men - in the prime of their lives. One of my knowledgeable children described it to me as the "ghetto walk." This is a form of walking that is at such a slow pace that it seems deliberately insolent.
The phenomenon crosses racial boundaries, although I suggest that it is class-based in nature. Adherents of the slow walk generally wear the outrageously baggy shorts, expensive athletic shoes, and other accoutrements associated with hiphop culture.
I have a theory on slow walkers: practitioners of the slow walk come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, and the slow pace is an effort to exert control over some facet of their lives and perhaps defy social norms.
"Maybe I am stuck in poverty," goes the thinking, "but I CAN define the pace at which I walk, and no one can make me go faster."
A parallel might be work slowdowns, in which labor unions work to the rule or act in such a fashion as to reduce production to accomplish a goal. There is also a similar phenomenon in the history of slavery, where "slave time" was a deliberately slow work pace that acted as a means of resistance against an oppressive social structure of involuntary servitude.
Then again, maybe I should just zip around them if I am in such a hurry. Perhaps the problem lies with me and my too-busy life.