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I was once at a conference in Galveston, Texas. I and some other scientists, mostly from Europe got hungry at 23:00 or so. We walked to the nearby Danny's or Wendy's but it was closed. When we walked away we saw that the drive through was open so we walked in. Strangely, nobody answered at the pole where you talk to the person. Then a car came up, we stepped aside, and someone started talking! So we walked to the car and said, hey that's nice, we thought nobody was there?... And the guy went nuts over that we were trying to steal his order or something... Wow... we stepped back a bit and when he drove on we followed him to the window where we, just as the car left, saw a woman screaming at us that "there is a camera on you!!!" While she smashed the window shut we tried to tell her: "But we have money we just want to eat?"

It was one of the strangest experiences in my life. Later on I realized it was quite a bit threatening as well.

Later we heard from another colleague that he was questioned by police in a not-so-friendly way about what he was doing (he was walking along the road to check out the beach.) During the trip I took after the conference I saw a drive-through ATM and a drive-through pharmacy. And I spoke to a guy who had been to a drive through funeral!

I guess it explains a bit why Google Now doesn't work for me (here in the Netherlands), it keeps pushing me into either public transport or my car while almost all traveling I do is combination of biking, walking and public transport.

I once had a student from Bulgaria, for her it was normal to walk to school for more than an hour. That would be considered strange here as well although biking for an hour to school is certainly not unheard of (for kids).

In suburban America, it's often seen as weird if not suspicious to be out walking. Trayvon Martin was killed by an overenthusiastic and overarmed neighborhood watch member in a Florida suburb, and a lot of people think it was due to racism. In reality it might have (also) been because he was on foot.

That sounds very credible, the guy in the car appeared really threatened by us, he even told us "I have my wife here in the car" as if trying to get sympathy. It feels insane to me but he really though we were going to do something to him.

When I walked into a sports/fishing shop some days later, (on my way to New Orleans) I saw the first real gun in my life (apart from in the belt of policemen I have to say), a wall full of them! for sale! It made me realize how things could have escalated and how this guy would have felt like he was protecting his wife. (From pedestrians!)

It's not even funny, how it reminds me this story by Ray Bradbury - "The Pedestrian":

* https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Pedestrian

* http://www.unz.org/Pub/Reporter-1951aug07-00039

I have also been rejected service at a Wendy's in a similar manner. I had a couple drinks but was not belligerent, and I thought it would be smart to walk almost two miles to the nearest Wendy's to both take some time for the alcohol to go away, and to grab a bite to eat.

The employee informed me they could not serve me in the drive up unless I was in a vehicle. I had money, I was asking nicely, and the door to inside was locked so I could not walk up to their standard front cash register to pay like in the day.

As I waited, hoping they would just let me get my burger on foot, another car came, ordered food, and received it. I asked again and was dismissed for not having a car.

Doing the responsible thing was frowned upon that night.

> During the trip I took after the conference I saw a drive-through ATM and a drive-through pharmacy.

The drive through alcohol shops and the drive through mail-boxes where the things I thought were funny.

Also, the Outlets at Gilroy, Califoria, have a major road going through the middle. There are only 2 crossing places on that road. And people do think you're weird if you're walking between them.


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