Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Thoughts on Cobblestones

As per Mommy's request...

Don’t get me wrong, I like cobblestones. I think they’re pretty and I love cities like London, Edinburgh, and even Boston that tend to have them. That said, they definitely make walking around an interesting experience.

We’ve all seen that girl: The one who insists on wearing heels in cobbled areas and inevitably ends up on the ground. Thankfully (knock on wood) I’ve never been the one who actually gets her heel stuck in between the stones and has to be pulled out, or walks out of her shoe and then has to run back to retrieve it…usually with oncoming traffic rapidly approaching. I have been that other girl however, the one who wears the heels but then has to stare intently at the ground trying to perfectly time her steps so as to land with heel and toe centred on separate stones, bridging the chasm in between. For those of you who have ridden the London Underground it gives a whole new meaning to “Mind the Gap.” Still, even this approach, while not as awkward as the former, does take something away from the purpose of wearing heels in the first place. The whole process of looking down and carefully planning each step tends to look rather more like a hunchbacked duck than a leggy supermodel.

In Edinburgh, I take comfort from the fact that cobblestones, while significantly harder on those in heels, are not exactly easy for anyone. Yesterday it snowed. Not really enough to be considered snow, and especially not by New England standards, but it was enough to lay a thin sheet of black ice on the already treacherous cobblestones. Now, any footwear short of hiking boots is no help on the many cobbled streets. People are sliding off individual cobbles, getting stuck in that ever present gap and tipping over, while I’m convinced someone must film, and show all the people in charge of road maintenance for a good laugh. I’m pretty sure they gather around, take bets, and eat biscuits, but I couldn’t swear to it. Still, despite the frequency with which I am that person clutching at lampposts, cars, and random passersby as I slide and wobble along, I embrace the fact that it’s entertaining. I may be on the ground now, but inevitably someone else will fall and the circle of cobblestone entertainment will continue.

One approach to the cobblestone problem: The Barefoot Cartwheel
Location: Top of the Royal Mile, in front of the Castle
Starring: My roommate (aka partner in crime), Aheli, and me

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