It's a pretty big & heavy lens, I know that. That has prevented me from buying
it. I normally think of a 35-70mm as a light, walk-around general lens and the
size & weight of the f/2.8 contradicts that for me. I don't know what I'd use it
for.

Actually the "lowly" AF Nikkor 35-70mm f/3.3-4.5 is a surprisingly sharp lens
and is about the same size & weight as the 50/1.8. It ain't fast but it's
a great little general use lens IMO and can be had for little money.