This is Fuck You Week, Jezebel's first annual week of desperate emotional cleansing and unhinged psychic purging.
I am intolerant of people who walk slowly, which is to say, people who walk more slowly than I do, which is to say, nearly everybody. If you have walked somewhere with me, I have probably been mad at you. Sorry .
I cannot stand: dawdlers, slow-pokes, tourists, people who walk and then stop in the middle of the sidewalk, laggards, dilly-dalliers, iPhone-consulters, people who stand in such a way that they take up the whole width of the escalator, and absolutely anyone who is walking more slowly than I am towards the subway turnstile. People who do these things two abreast I hate doubly.
Theoretically, I ought to have a smidgeon of sympathy for people who walk on the wrong side of the sidewalk — but even this I can't abide. Because I was raised in a country where we drive and walk on the left, and when I moved to America, where they customarily do these things on the right, I made sure to cure myself of that learned behavior. I did this for the sake of those who had to share public space with me. I did this for comity.
When we have to share common space, I feel like we are all better served when each of us takes reasonable measures to ensure we are not announcing ourselves too loudly. That we're not taking up more than our share of the sidewalk, talking at unnecessary volumes on the phone, or occupying the seat next to us with our bag even as the train fills to standing room only. Those kinds of acts are, I feel, deeply selfish. And entirely un-self-aware: walking too slowly is not a crime, so long as you have the awareness to realize that it will frustrate at least one other person who has to use the same sidewalk, and have the politeness to elect to do it well to the side. Sidewalks are like streets: the fast lanes are in the middle. Do the people who take their own sweet time in the dead center of the sidewalk even notice the frustrated pedestrians who are forced to eddy around them, waiting for an opportunity to pass? Probably not. It's that blitheness I can't stand. Part of the social contract is doing your reasonable best to not frustrate others as they go about their days. If you want to walk slowly, move to the side, and do it single file.
1. Actually, I am not sorry. Sorry.
Photo via Huanshen Xu/Shutterstock