This is an installment of Suzette Andujar’s weekly column “As I Was Saying”
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single pedestrian in possession of a place to be, must be in want of an obstacle. There are many obstacles that face a walker; cars, bikers, birds; but the one thing that is truly an obstacle for a pedestrian is another pedestrian.
You’ve got your typical slow walker (which is basically the zombie walker), the eye-contact walker and the most dangerous of them all; the dance walker.
No matter where you are; a school hallway, the mall, the Bermuda Triangle, there’s always one person in front of you that is just impossible to get around. The thing is that they literally appear out of nowhere. If my eyes are focused on the door to the library, that’s all I see; yet somehow, someone suddenly appears and blocks my way. It feels great when you can walk around them, but oftentimes the street is busy and you are there: stuck. So your steps slow down and you stare at the back of his head and go through all of the reasons for why on this great big earth you have to be stuck behind this person. Don’t they have somewhere to be?
The answer is almost always because they are on their phone. Slow walkers are also zombies because they are notoriously absorbed in their devices. It’s a tiny screen of mind control and those who aren’t currently plugged in are the casualties. I implore extreme caution when encountering a zombie walker. They swerve on the sidewalk, they collide with street poles and they walk in front of you…really slow.
What’s worse than a zombie walker? A fellow pedestrian who walks toward you and looks at you. It begs the question, do I look back? If I do then what’s my responsibility? An unappreciated smile? An awkward nod that says ‘I acknowledge your existence’? Why wasn’t I trained for this kind of pressure? What’s a girl gotta do to make it to the café for an iced coconut milk mocha macchiato?
Which brings me to the essence and soul of all problems facing pedestrians; it’s what I like to call the “Stranger Danger Dance.” It’s a phenomenon that takes about five to ten seconds.
I’ll paint the image: so I’m walking along the street, la-di-da, when somehow I come face-to-face with a stranger. I step to my left, she steps to her right. I step to my right and she steps to her left. A conversation may ensue at the same time and I’d be all, “Sorry” and she’d be all, “No problem” and then I’d say, “I promise I’m not stalking you” and she’d say, “Is that a soy latté?” and I’d be like “No, mocha frappé” and one of us has to stand still and when I pass I’m all like, “What just happened?”
I’m not saying that it’s annoying but that’s exactly what I’m saying. Be safe walking out there; pedestrians are universally dangerous.
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