Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Walk This Way

People that don’t know how to walk are quickly becoming the source of my biggest pet peeve. This is not a horribly insensitive shot at the physically challenged; these sentiments are reserved for those who can physically move one foot in front of the other but somehow lack the mental capacity to walk without wreaking havoc on everyone around them. Countless people seem to have an inability to navigate in public places and the number of individuals affected by this social disorder is either on the rise or my sensitivity to the stupidity is at its breaking point. Everywhere I go I feel inundated with hundreds of people who clearly think they own the sidewalk.

Stop in the Name of Love: The most dangerous habit shared by the socially inept walker is their susceptibility to stop without warning. Large crowds are moving along like a well choreographed dance production and suddenly one person throws off the entire routine, stopping in their tracks and sending everyone else tumbling. Adding to the annoyance of these sudden and frequent stops are the dangerous places these walking challenged individuals decide to put on the brakes, and the worst offenders are often found at the top of escalators motionless, clueless to the throngs of people about to fall like dominos behind them.

Long and Winding Road: Walking without purpose or intent is great for a leisurely walk on the beach but is a recipe for disaster in most other situations. Mapping the path of people who walk without direction looks much like something from the comic Family Circus when Billy’s route from point A to point B resembled a ball a twine more than a straight line. These people bob and weave without knowledge or cares of the number of people they cut across, run into and just otherwise annoy. While installing a blinker system on their asses could potentially help oncoming traffic better understand which direction they will go next, but in all honesty these are probably the same people who neglect to use their turn signal when driving anyway.

Never Stray too far from the Sidewalk: Pedestrians often forget they are sharing paths with people using modes of transportation other than their feet. When walking on mixed use paths it is important to remember some basic rules of acceleration and deceleration from mechanical physics. Just as a car cannot stop on a dime due to factors like speed, mass, and brake technology; neither can a bicycle or skate. So if someone moving at a fast speed with badly designed brakes, as are often found on bikes and rollerblades, on a mixed use path yells “On your left!” or “Watch out” and a pedestrian is stupid enough to get in the way, they deserve to be plowed over.

Pass the Dutchie on the Left Hand Side: Just like with driving, it is common courtesy for slow traffic to stick to the right lane and faster traffic to pass on the left. The only time this basic common sense rule should be ignored is when walking in a country that drives on the left (or wrong) hand side of the road to which the tenets of passing politeness should be reversed.

The Wall: Brainless walkers travel in packs like wolves and are able to combine forces inflicting greater impact with their thoughtless actions. These packs can often be found taking up entire sidewalks, hallways and paths, causing anger and frustration to those attempting to pass. Some popular places these packs strategically obstruct are stairwells, hallways, and doorways. Those traveling without their pack can overcome their lack of numbers with simple props like a bicycle or triple-wide stroller.

Parents Just Don’t Understand: Children are often the victims of their parents’ inability to teach them the rules of the sidewalk. There is a time and a place for children to run around without structure and direction but the local mall, bike path, or restaurant does not qualify. If a child gets hurt by someone because they got in the way a parent has no right to be indignant and angry at anyone but the person who is responsible for protecting their safety; themselves.

We are all guilty of walking offenses, but when most people run over, trip, push or cause others to dive out of the way they apologize for their actions. It is the completely self-absorbed masses who after causing collisions, falls, accidents and injuries are unapologetic or even confrontational that I have issues with. These idiots are an utter menace to society and should have their right to walk among others revoked.


Booli said...

Bravo, chelle!!!

I was just at the mall today, and encountered "the wall" or the exasperating old ladies, who always travel in pairs, and ALWAYS lumber along in the middle of the mall "travel lanes". I'm thinking of getting an air horn and using it on pedestrian infractions. :-)

drew said...

I hate to admit this, but I used to love those follow billy around the yard family circus comics.

I'm not so sure about that drive left, walk left thing everywhere. In Hong Kong, they drive on the left but I'm fairly certain that there are no generally accepted social guidelines as to which side to walk on. I think it's just too crowded and too many people from too many places to really matter.