I fancy myself as an expert walker… professional, even. Hell, I’ve been doing it for nearly 30 years and I feel that I’m at the top of my field. Sadly, on a daily basis, I see so many examples of people who don’t know how to walk properly on the streets and therefore I feel the need to depart my knowledge on the most dastardly members of our society, the walk-blockers.
This is an Idiot’s Guide to walking in urban areas. The first lesson is pretty simple: think of walking like you would driving. Walk in straight lines, stay to the right side of the “road”, allow for passing, and pull off to the side of the road if you want to stop. Seems pretty easy, right? Well, here are the most egregious fouls encountered out there on the foot highways and how to deal with them.
Cell Phone Talkers & Texters
Why is it that some people get so absorbed into their phones that they don’t realize the world going on around them? They don’t realize that they’ve slowed to a crawl, with a line of people trying to pass them because they’re staring at their phone, trying to figure out the meaning of life through the interpretation of text acronyms (2G2BT, HMU, ATST, B4N). And the people who walk around talking on blue tooth or other devices should be committed to mental institutions.
How hard is it to walk in a straight line? Well, from the evidence I’ve collected, this is a much more difficult task than I ever thought. I constantly see people bounce through a sidewalk block like they’re a ball from the Brick Breaker video game. Passing these guys and gals is tough because just as you try to go around them one way, they may switch their direction. They’re like game baddies with good artificial intelligence.
This one aggravates me to no end because not only do they walk four-people wide, taking up the entire sidewalk width, but they’re usually of the slow walker variety and you can find yourself stuck behind them for entire blocks. I don’t want to call out any race in particular, but it seems that Asian girls like to roll at a minimum of four wide… WHILE HOLDING FREAKIN’ HANDS! This should be punishable by tentacle erotica.
Stoppers & Gawkers
I love it when you’re walking behind someone and they suddenly stop without warning. Listen douche bag, I don’t care what text came through or which restaurant marquee you want to check out, if you want to stop in the middle of traffic, try this crazy new thing called stepping to the side first, then do what you need to do (radical, I know). This offence is most often occurs in malls and at theme parks.
The Homeless (aka The Walking Dead)
These “people” sure know how to get attention… the negative kind, of course. There is nothing I love better than racing to work, sleepy and cranky that it’s Monday (or Tuesday, or Wednesday or… well really any day that you have to go to work) and then suddenly a homeless person decides that it is the perfect time to solicit me for a portion of the minimal wages I’m dragging my butt out of bed to go make. Their best tactic seems to be completely blocking my route and forcing me to acknowledge their existence. That’s when I start busting out the flying forearms and lariat clotheslines and the dreaded, last resort, roaring elbow!
For some reason, these gatherings (usually outside restaurants, bars and clubs) just seem to mushroom and grow, as one smoker becomes 10 in no time and you’re forced to walk on the road briefly to circumvent the congregation. Sometimes, I like to be a dick and walk right through the crowd, interrupting the flow of their surely groundbreaking conversation.
Children & Animals
Not that they are the same (their parents may beg to differ), but I lump kids and pets together because both get a pass from me. They just don’t know any better. However, their parents/owners should be making sure they don’t severely disrupt the flow of walking traffic and they’re often too busy with their faces in their phones to monitor their little ones. However, parents with buggies are a whole other story! (especially in theme parks!)
Drivers and Their Vehicles
Every single day, I encounter at least three incidents where I’m almost hit by a car… and I’m constantly paying attention and looking out for this. I fear for the people that are too distracted by their phones and iPods to realize that a pick-up truck is about to squash them like Mario crushes Goombas. I especially hate people that block my walking lane and are then stuck waiting for traffic to clear anyway.
Scooters, Wheelchairs and Strollers, oh my
These sidewalk vehicles are a necessary evil, but they sure take up a lot of space and I find most people using these items of assistance are often crabby and unfriendly to deal with. If you’re going to take up half the sidewalk, you might as well do it with a smile on your face.
Bikes on the Sidewalk
Unless it’s a young kid, bikes belong on the road. These are the kind of people I would love to just knock over as they pass me. Give them a stiff shoulder check and watch them hilariously fall to the ground and suffer severe concussions. After all, us taxpayers have paid for a trillion and one designated bike lanes, might as well use them!
Vehicles in Crossing Lanes
I’ve always wanted to just walk on top of the hood of a vehicle that has chosen to sit in an intersection, cutting off my route from corner to corner. While I haven’t performed this maneuver yet, I am known to bash cars with my umbrella, if they cut me off in an intersection when I have the right of way and I once (almost) spat at a guy in a convertible after he nearly ran me over. Hey, it’s the little victories that count, right?!
Finally, you have your smokers, who aren’t much fun to walk behind, resulting in a face full of second-hand smoke. Try to pass these individuals as soon as possible, so you can enjoy some fresh air with your walkabout.
Drink #122: Sex on the Sidewalk
- 1 oz Vodka
- 0.5 oz Melon Liqueur
- 0.5 oz Chambord
- Top with Cranberry Juice
- Garnish with Linked Sour Soothers
This drink’s namesake is definitely a walking no-no. While it would make a decent sideshow attraction, all those wayward limbs would certainly slow down your walking progress and the spectacle of the entire obscenity would cause a crowd that would be hard to circumvent. Stay safe out there, my little sippers!
Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
This is a tasty drink that goes down easy, but seems to be missing something. Some fizz may have made it a little more fun and also cut into some of the sweetness, although it’s not overly sweet, either. P.S. Sour Soothers rule!