We Need to Talk About Sidewalks


March 23, 2013 by bmcconnelluwo

Alright, Society, I think it’s time we had a talk.

We’ve known each other for a long time now – had some laughs, some cries, a philosophical conversation or two. But it’s time I step in and intervene with something that’s been troubling me about you.

You have absolutely no clue how to use sidewalks properly.

Now I know, I know, Society, you built the sidewalks. But you seriously need some help with how to use them.

I’m here for you, S. But you need to get some help. I wouldn’t be saying this if I didn’t care.

First, let’s talk about the walking on the correct side of the sidewalk.

Now, I know it can get confusing sometimes because there are no written rules or helpful lines on the pavement to direct you where to walk but it’s really quite simple.

You see, Society, we have these things called roads – think of them as kind of sidewalks for your car.

On these roads we have what are called “rules of the road”. One such rule dictates that all cars travelling in one direction must do so together on one side of the road. Now this varies from country to country but, here in Canada, we use the right side.

What this does is allow all the cars to travel freely in one direction without worrying about hitting cars going the other way. It’s a great system.

Sidewalks, however, don’t seem to have this system, Society.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been walking on the right side of the sidewalk and have someone coming to opposite direction—probably looking at their cell phone, reading a book or marinating a steak and not paying attention.

Note: The two distinct directional streams. This optimizes a walker's travel trajectory and ensures safe transitioning from location to location.

Note the two distinct directional streams. This optimizes a walker’s travel trajectory and ensures safe transitioning from location to location.

Naturally, I am forced to move to ensure we don’t have a potentially fatal collision. But this isn’t right, Society, it isn’t right.

You see, I did my due diligence to walk on the correct side. I should not have to move. They should. But, alas, this isn’t enforceable and so I am forced to curse the heavens and fantasize about lodging said person’s phone in their eyeball.

All the while they stroll, hell bent, and never knowing that it was they who violated the unwritten sidewalk rule.

Second is what I’ll call the sidewalk group mentality.

This is a phenomenon—you might have seen it—when a pack of young scallywags walk in a perfectly straight line across the sidewalk, taking up the entire path.

This can lead to two things.

One, I or another unsuspecting victim could end up stuck behind said group, likely walking at a pace comparable to a snail dragging a giant shame rock behind him [like Homer’s when the Stonecutters got all up in his grill] and forcing me to either go off roading or draft behind the slowest peloton in history.

Featured: Who I get stuck behind everyday going to class.

Featured: Who I get stuck behind everyday going to class.

Or, if I or said unsuspecting victim are walking in the opposite direction, then there runs the distinct possibility that they will not move and, again, off roading will ensue—either that or another fatal collision.

I don’t like forced off roading. I see it this way—a construction worker put that sidewalk there for the good of us all, Society, and we all need to work together to ensure we can all use it.

Violating the unwritten code of the sidewalk and forcing someone off it for your own reasons—presumably because you’re super close to your bros and need to be arm in arm at all times—is, in my opinion, grounds for some serious face punching.

Lastly, Society, is your enraging tendency to sporadically stop in the middle of the sidewalk.

Now, naturally if you’ve blown a hammy or severed an Achilles while walking then by all means, take a load off. You’re seriously injured; I’d expect you to stop.

BUT if you just have to completely abort your walking process at random, for the love of all that is good and beautiful move to the side of the path and let other travelers by.

Again, coming back to the road analogy, you wouldn’t slam on the breaks in the middle of the Trans Canada highway to check a text message. You would get slammed from behind by a Mack truck faster than you could type “LoL, Omg, tht was sooooo funnyyy!”.

So don’t do it on the sidewalk, Society. It causes collisions, unnecessary and dangerous swerving and the aforementioned off roading. And you know how much I loathe off roading.

So, Society, I’m not blaming you. You have a problem. You’re a good abstract term and have always been there for me.

So now let me be there for you. You need help. Please, for yourself and for me, LEARN HOW TO USE A SIDEWALK.


2 thoughts on “We Need to Talk About Sidewalks

  1. […] know we had a talk not too long ago about your sidewalk usage and, we’ll say, it being terrible but I’ve got something else I need to intervene in before […]

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