Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Learning To Walk

You KNOW who you are. You are a slow walker. Or worse than a slow walker, you are a person who stops anywhere with little regard about what might be coming behind you.
Why do you do this?

Perhaps you are unaware of what you are supposed to do. The rules for driving and the rules for walking are very similar. If you incorporate the rules you use for walking when you are driving, then I am certain you are the person who caused a five mile backup on the outer loop this morning in Prince George's County.

The Rules. Please pay attention.

1. Travel occurs on the right hand side. This is not England, no matter how many more days it rains this October. Whether you are in a car, or strolling down a sidewalk, or in a store aisle, or climbing/descending a staircase: You are supposed to be on the right hand side. The only exception to this rule applies to one way thoroughfares, whether they be sides of the beltway or the up-escalator at a Metro Station. Then, slow people are on the right. Fast people are on the left.

2. Don't stop without looking. Everyone in Washington, DC is Very Important. Everyone. The Safeway Cashier? Has an FBI file and a Senate connection. All of these Very Important People are attempting to get somewhere. This can't happen when you decide to stop without looking behind you. Would you do this on the GW Parkway? No, because you don't want to be carried to your destination on the grill of an eighteen wheeler. Surprise - the rule is the same when you are strolling through the mall. If the Armani tee-shirt that you don't plan to buy anyway catches your eye so much that you must grind to a stop to gaze at it,
look behind you before you actually stop. And in case you were wondering, that was me that rammed into you the other day. Almost on purpose. Grrrr.

3. The same rule applies to speed: you can't just slow down willy nilly. If you slow down in a car, there is a break light to warn those of us behind you. We may be pissed, but we're still alive. When you abruptly slow down, however, in the grocery store, there is no little light on your behind to tell me not to plow my cart into your back. Look behind you before slowing down.

4. Choose a companion appropriate speed. We tall people understand that the payoff for never having pants that fit is that we can travel quickly by foot. We also understand that shorter people do not like to arrive at a destination panting in an attempt to keep up with us. We do, however, ask that shorter people put some effort into a tandem walk. We will slow down; you must speed up. I do not know if our friendship can survive one more stroll through Georgetown in slow motion.

5. Be mindful of your limbs. On a crowded street, your charming habit of talking with your hands is an endangerment to my eyes. Not to mention the poor souls wearing glasses and bobbing and weaving to avoid being maimed.

6. Be mindful of your children. Scuff marks on the sidewalk? Not a good thing. You shouldn't be dragging your tots. Neither should we poor souls behind you be expected to travel at the pace of a three year old. Here's a hint: On the street, kill two birds with one stone and actually pick up your angel. You'll get places faster, and you'll be "bonding."

If we all follow the rules every time we're walking around, we'd have much happier people around us.

And sheesh - if we all followed the rules while driving, I probably wouldn't have been in a five mile backup on the beltway!


Craig said...

ahhh, the bitterness of the modern commuter, coupled with the sense of a modern genius

DCBrownie said...

Great entry! You have hit on one of my biggest pet peeves. As a fellow tall person and fast walker, I couldn't agree more.