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Worst Steps

I got a haircut the other day at one of those cheapie Supercuts places.  Those places are great because they generally cut your hair in about 43 seconds, saving you from having to make halting conversation with someone who doesn't speak English.  The downside is that they really don't know what they're doing, and they don't style your hair, or even dry it after they cut it, which forces you to do the "Haircut Shuffle" on the way home.

The Haircut Shuffle is the hurried walk of a guy who just had his hair cut and is aware that half of his hair is plastered to his skull while the other half is sticking up at odd angles.  The thing about the Haircut Shuffle is that your arms get more of a workout than your legs do, because you're constantly trying to smooth your hair out and brush itchy clippings from your neck with both hands while you walk (the most common move is the "What-The-Fuck-Did-They-Do-To-The-Back-Of-My-Head" tentative patting gesture). You also walk at a brisk pace (or clip, HA HA) and constantly try to see how stupid you look in every remotely reflective surface, such as store windows, puddles, the face of your watch, brick walls, etc.  Don't worry, you really do look stupid.

Another facet of the Haircut Shuffle is total avoidance of other people.  The Supercuts I use is right next to a trendy coffee shop (natch) and there's always a crowd of trendy people standing outside waiting to look at my stupid hair.  And who can blame them?  It's entertaining.  If you ever have an hour to kill, I'd suggest setting up shop at a bench outside one of these haircut places, and watching customers come out.

The Haircut Shuffle is only one of several walks I've done recently.  Another is called "Fast-Food, Fast-Move", in which I am heading toward the door of a fast-food "restaurant", and notice that a family of seven is slightly ahead of me.  I know that if I get in line behind them, they will take four hours to order, having to placate the children with happy meals and allow time to explain to grandma what's in a chicken sandwich (chicken) twenty or thirty times.

Of course, you can't run to the door to beat them, that would be childish, so you have to speed-walk, often around cars in the parking lot, to make sure you get there first.  The idea is not call attention to the fact that you're trying to beat them to the door, which entails walking nonchalantly at speeds of up to forty-five miles per hour.  This can be tricky, especially if you attempt to have your hands stuffed casually in your pockets.

This walk is similar to the "Sidewalk-Roundabout", which is when you're trying to pass someone on a sidewalk who is walking only slightly slower than you are.  You know if you can just get ahead of them, you'll make it to your destination five or six seconds sooner.  You also know that if you try to pass on the sidewalk, they will suddenly angle themselves in your direction and you'll have that uncomfortable stutter-step slow-down, so you will often have to veer off into the street, braving traffic to get ahead of them (sometimes you can take advantage of the extra space of a driveway to make your move).

(Speaking of sidewalks, when someone is walking close behind you on a sidewalk for a few blocks, do you feel all self-conscious like I do?  You know they're staring at you, either at the back of your head or at your butt.  Are you walking funny?  What if you trip?  And you really need to adjust your underwear but can't when they're behind you.  Why don't they just pass you or at least cross the street or take a turn somewhere?  Now you'll have to stop to pretend to tie your shoe to get them to pass.  Bastards.)

Then, there's the "One-Step, Two-Step", which is when you're going to climb a staircase, and you haven't made up your mind as to whether you'll be climbing the steps one at a time, or two at a time.  The result is a sort of hesitant half-leap, followed by a spastic stumble as the toe of your shoe snags on the top of the first step, causing you to pitch forward and make a sound similar to "Ungfh", while grabbing at a banister or fellow step-climber to steady yourself.  Once this move is made, you are forced to take the steps two at a time to escape the area as soon as possible.  God forbid you're holding a cup of coffee.

Finally, there's the "Trash Dash", utilized when you have to take a huge bag of trash out to the curb or dumpster.  While it weighs a ton and is hard to carry with just one hand, you desperately want to avoid brushing the bag against your leg or bumping it with your knee.  So you have to lean way to one side to balance yourself and shuffle your feet along as fast as you can.  The degree of stinkiness of the trash can also be a contributing factor, causing you to turn your head to one side and squint your eyes, making navigation even more difficult.