I went to lunch with co-worker one day, and as we were walking, he had to abruptly move out of the way for a girl who had her face buried in her phone and didn’t see him in front of her. We started discussing the things that piss us off about walking on sidewalks that other people are also walking on. It doesn’t have to be a busy walkway; it only takes one person to ruin it for everyone. Since we all have to share our walking space, I’ve come up with some rules with the assistance of my equally frustrated co-worker. Enjoy!
1) Get off your phone.
As much as I am a proponent of having compassion for our fellow humans as I discussed in my last post, I am also a big fan of Natural Selection. If you are walking and can’t tear yourself away from your Facebook feed, and you accidentally walk into a busy street and get hit by a cement truck, that’s on you. I seriously see people doing this almost daily. Last week, I saw 2 girls crossing the street together, both looking down at their phones. They were friends, and they weren’t walking and talking to each other. Instead, they were on their phones. I almost had to dodge them which would have nearly put me into the path of an oncoming bus. Sounds dramatic, but it is unfortunately true.
What is so important that we’re all looking down all the time? I used to be really bad about this, and sometimes I still am. Usually, it’s only on public transportation when I’m trying to look busy to keep weird older men from talking to me. If you’re walking on a busy sidewalk, look up! Watch where you’re going! Not only can it be dangerous and irritating to everyone around you, but I promise, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tinder, Snapchat, and anything else you can’t seem to pull yourself away from will still be there when you arrive safely at your destination because you were paying attention and did not get creamed by a cement truck.
2) Walk like you drive.
On the right, damnit. This applies especially in busy areas. If we all would just walk on the right side, all of our walking activity would be so much more enjoyable. If you do get stuck behind really slow individual, check to see if someone is coming in the opposite direction, and if it’s clear, pass on the left. Imagine a dotted yellow line. Since we’re on that topic, the only excuses for being a slow walker are age, injury, and disability. If you are physically unable to keep up with the flow of traffic, you get a pass. Walk as slow as you need to, and the rest of us can POLITELY adjust and go around you when there is room to do so. Also, we could all stand to get in the habit of using the words “excuse me” a little more. It’s kind of like you have a blinker that comes from your mouth forming a couple of simple words—just a polite gesture that lets someone know you’re moving past them. Now, if you’re walking slow because you can’t look up from your phone, or because you and your friends are out for a leisurely stroll that consists of obnoxiously taking up the entire sidewalk and moving at a snail’s pace, you’re just an asshole. They tell you to keep up with the flow of traffic when you learn to drive, right? Same thing applies when using your feet to travel. This is a very simple thing; please adopt this, and walk like you drive.
3) Make room for everyone!
When I was in elementary school, the rule was that we walk single file on the right, so other people have room to walk the other direction. We didn’t walk single file in the middle or weave back and forth; it was always single file on the right. I don’t know how many times I walk past a group of people who are all side by side or in a cluster, and instead of someone moving over so that I have room to walk on the sidewalk, which is the very thing the sidewalk is there for, I end up moving into the grass or the street. In the winter especially, the grass is sometimes wet or there is mud that I end up tracking into my apartment. If you’re walking in a group, and someone is walking toward you, whoever is on the inside of the sidewalk should shift back to make sure no one ends up stepping in the dog poo in the grass.
Thank you for your time and consideration of these rules for walking on the motherfucking sidewalk. Please challenge yourself to master the walking thing because it seems that there are many humans who haven’t quite figured this out.