Tag Archives: AIDS walk

Trapped inside an AIDS walk

30 Apr

Today I had a front row seat to the Kansas City AIDS Walk.

Now I know, normally, walks of any kind are more participatory than observational.

I stumbled upon it when I approached the intersection of Emmanuel Clever Boulevard and Main and noticed someone was standing in the middle of the road.

Since the intersection is so close to the Plaza, it’s expected that people are going to walk out in front of moving cars.  They think we will stop.

My message to them:  Don’t tempt me.

Luckily, today, the temptress was a cop so immediately I gave into his allure and stopped.

I have this thing that whenever I see a cop, I immediately want him to notice how well I’m obeying all rules and laws.  I’m like, “See that?  I used my turn signal.  And I used it in a turning lane.  Normally, I don’t because I find it redundant.  But for you, I did.”

As another car approached in the lane next to me, the cop stepped forward a little, gestured for her to stop, then gave a little wave.

What the hell?

I looked over and there was a desperate housewife in an Acura.


That wave should have been for me!   I saw him first.  I got nothing here and you gotta get the attention of the cop?  The nerve.  And you’re halfway through the cross walk.  That’s against the rules, hussy.  And I hope he notices.

He gestured to the east as if to show us the reason we were stopped.

The walkers–about 3000 of them–who raised money and awareness for HIV/AIDS were headed our way.

I was so impressed.

And I was perfectly content sitting there and watching every one of them.  Men, women, kids and dogs.  Some had banners honoring someone they lost to HIV/AIDS, one group in the crowd was singing.  Then, the singing started to intertwine with a little yelling and a horn honking from the crowd of cars behind me, the riff-raff, the peanut gallery.

Someone approached the cop and explained he had to get to a reception.  Apparently, this was a reception for God and he was caterer or something because he acted it may be the most important thing in the world for him to be allowed out of this traffic jam.

So, Officer Allure motioned for cars to move slightly so God’s caterer can get through.

Are we, as a society, so busy we can’t pause for 10 minutes and maybe reflect on the cause?

Yesterday, I spent 4 hours among 3000 people watching a royal wedding, I think I can wait 1o minutes on 3000 people with a purpose.

Eventually, after all the walkers passed, Officer Allure allowed us to pass through the intersection.

I was thinking about cutting off the hussy but decided against it because I had just given a homeless man a dollar and I was afraid it would effect the good karma I recently paid to create.

Then I noticed, just 3 blocks from where I was previously stopped, the walkers were crossing Main Street again and backing up traffic.

You’ve got to be freaking kidding me.  Who planned this route?

It never fails.  If a president is in town, if there’s an outdoor concert, a parade, a walk, a run, you name it, I get trapped in the middle of it.  I’ll realize the problem and try to resolve it by going a couple blocks in another direction, turn around, 2 blocks in a different direction but in the end, I make it worse.

So, here I am, playing the “2 blocks in another direction” game.  I recognize other participants in the game because they are angry and making sharp, last-minute turns to avoid a possible road block.

I try to escape to my happy place–pretending again I’m on The Amazing Race–but it doesn’t empower me.  It makes me feel like I’m the bad cab driver from India and the racers are in the backseat telling me “Faster, faster!  We’re in a race!  You have to drive faster to get around these walkers!  Do you know where you’re going?”

I don’t because I turn down a one-way and right into the path of the walkers.  This time, I had 2nd row seats to the AIDS walk.  The guy in the car in front of me was drinking Starbucks and I hated him for that.  I looked in my rearview mirror and already several cars had lined up behind me.  We’re screwed.

I watched the walkers go by, and some of them I recognized from only 5 minutes ago.

If I recognized them, what if they recognized me?  I imagined one walker telling another, “Didn’t we already see that lady at a different intersection?  Creepy.”  Then I imagined another walker joining the conversation, saying, “We noticed her, too.  We’re calling her the AIDS Walk stalker.”


I was thinking about the implications of that reputation when a guy approached me and tapped on the door of my car.

“You’re a foot away from me and my window is open.  I’m aware of your presence.  Don’t tap me.”

As he getured to his car parked somewhere behind me he said, “They told me to just drive through when we’re able to, and I have a meeting.  I gotta get going.”

Now a meeting?  Someone needs to create an app for people who aren’t good at making up excuses.

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