This morning I was thwarted in my attempts to make it to work in a timely manner. This happens more often than it should, and I’m confident in saying it’s not at all my fault. As one of the most revered fictional newsmen of my era, Kent Brockman, so aptly put it: “Now, at the risk of being unpopular, this reporter places the blame for all this squarely on You, the viewers!”
Yes, I am looking at each and every one of you, with a raised eyebrow and an evil eye. You have all contributed, in one way or another, to my frustration and inability to get anywhere in this city on time. It constantly amazes me how people all over Toronto, and all over the world, cannot seem to grasp the simplest of concepts: Walking.
Considering humans have been walking upright for thousands of years, one would think we’d have learned a few tricks along the way. Alas, such is not the case with most people. It seems that many people believe walking to be little more than a leisurely stroll, regardless of the time and place in which they are partaking in this wonderfully ambulatory movement. While there’s nothing wrong with a slow and relaxing walk, it should really be reserved for touring the old cities of Europe and taking the elderly out for air. And before I forget, senior citizens have no excuse to be walking so slowly. Hell, half of them are attached to wheels, with their wheelchairs and walkers. Besides, if they’re nearing the end of their blessed lives, doesn’t it make sense for them to speed up rather than slow down? But I digress.
There are many offenders when it comes to mindless wandering in public thoroughfares. Here’s a few you may recognize:
- Slow Walkers: The worst and most common walking offense is that of walking slowly. These people have no consideration toward others around them. I don’t care if they spend their days feeding the homeless, their nights housing the hungry and their weekends petting stray kittens; Slow Walkers have no regard for humankind. These are people who trudge along at their own pace without giving any thought to those behind or around them who may have somewhere to be. At 8:30 AM on a Monday, these people plod along the subway stations and shuffle slowly about the streets, never once giving thought to the fact that other people are trying to get to work. Sidestepping these people becomes an issue as well, as most of them walk in bunches, making it difficult to pass. Slow Walkers exist in all walks of life (no pun intended) and needlessly frustrate the general population, with the exception of other Slow Walkers. Look, all I’m saying is that if you want to walk slowly, go to a park. Or get yourself a shitty treadmill. But get the hell off the streets and the hell out of my way. Some of us have places to be.
- Side Steppers: These people are either perpetually drunk or just stupid. When did walking in a straight line become such a difficult task for people? Have you ever been stuck walking behind someone whom you try to pass, only to have them seemingly anticipate your every move as if they had eyes in the back of their head? You move to the right and they do the same. You deke left and there they are again. No matter how you try to pass these people, they can’t seem to walk in a straight line long enough for you to bypass them on either side. This is when things have to get physical. Elbows, shoulders and forearms are all fair game to Side Steppers, as a polite “Excuse me, I’d like to get by now…” will only elicit stares of confusion. These are the same people who walk in an almost-straight line, convincing you that they can be passed and then reverting to the sidestep at the last second, leaving you to raise your arms in disbelief and mutter under your breath: “What the fuck?” Side Steppers should be subject to being arrested just like anyone exhibiting public drunkenness. Also, they should be beaten. Severely.
- Sidewalk Blockers: You have got to be kidding me. When did the middle of a busy sidewalk become an ideal meeting place for people to stand around like a group of retarded hyenas? This is the kind of thing I feel like an idiot for even having to bring up: If you want to stand around and talk to your friends, get the hell off the sidewalk and out of my way. This is why God created park benches to sit on, and walls to lean against… far away from the crowded walkways that lead us around our daily lives. There’s really only one solution to this problem: Punch these people square in the face.
Think about it: Someone is standing on the sidewalk amidst the hustle and bustle of a busy city like, oh… let’s just say Toronto. This person is completely oblivious to the hundreds of people surrounding him, trying uncomfortably to maneuver their way around him. Then suddenly, a fist flies out of thin air and catches him right on the nose. You can bet he’ll think twice about standing on a crowded sidewalk again. And if not, he’ll receive another punch to the head, and then another, until he either learns his lesson or is sufficiently traumatized that he becomes an agoraphobic and a shut-in, dying alone in some dingy government-subsidized apartment. Maybe then he’ll learn.
- Group Walkers: “Oh, I love my friends so much and can’t bear to ever be apart from them! So when I walk down the street with my friends, we all stand next to one another and form a line because we love each other so much and God forbid one of us should have to walk behind the others! We’re all equal and we all want to talk to each other and so we’ll just wander around as if we’re some sort of human chain!”
Don’t block the fucking sidewalk because you think you have to be next to your friends every last second. Take a good look at how others walk and learn a thing or two… Pair up and promenade in twos or groups of three. Anything more, you become a hazard to those around you and you risk a punch in the face. See above. And really, if you’re so insecure about your relationships with others that you feel it’s a necessity to walk in large groups and overtake the public walkways, you deserve to die alone.
It may seem frivolous upon reading, but anyone who has ever experienced any form of Slow Walking will know exactly what I’m talking about here. It’s a common occurrence in cities all over the world and it’s happening right now.
People should know to walk at a certain pace so as not to inconvenience those around them. I’m not saying you should run everywhere (though if you could, I’d appreciate it), but don’t traipse around like you’ve got two bum legs and wooden feet. Pick up the pace, get a move on, and pay attention to people walking around you. If everyone is passing you by, maybe it’s time to take a seat.
Abraham Lincoln once said: “I walk slowly, but I never walk backward.” I feel confident saying that had Abraham Lincoln walked slowly in front of me, I’d pull that hat down over his head and kick him in the shins. Take that, Beardo!