It’s not called a sideSTAND or a sideLOOK-AROUND-LIKE-AN-IDIOT-BUT-DON’T-GO-ANYWHERE.
The problem with living in a city, especially a city with a truly absurd number of people per square mile, is that it’s impossible to get anywhere by foot no matter how small the distance might be in reality. It will take you a million years, because of all the other people.
The sidewalks here were constructed wide enough to allow people to pass around others–if there were a normal number of people. But there isn’t, and if you get a group of 8+ people who suddenly feel the need to stop in the middle of the sidewalk, it’s effectively a road block. No one can get around or through, and the people who live in this hellhole of a city and are just trying to get to the public transportation in order to get home are now stuck behind these assholes who can’t do two things at once. Breaking news: You can walk and look at the same time. In fact, it’s encouraged.
Otherwise, step the hell to the side if you want to stand still and stare. The fucking world does not revolve around you; everyone else has places they need to be or are trying to get to. And some of us live here and don’t think the homeless person with the funny sign or the street performers are unique and interesting. Some of us see that shit all the time and would like to get back to our apartment before we punch people in the kidneys. It’s as much for your safety as it is for my sanity that I’m telling you to GET THE FUCK OUT OF THE WAY.
Look, I understand that many major U.S. cities are tourist attractions, so I know people will always be taking pictures or stopping to look at things, but the number of times I have almost walked right into someone because they’ve just stopped in their tracks in front of me on the sidewalk is truly absurd. If I get turned around or want to stop and look at something, I always step off to the side because I don’t want to be that prick who’s causing a people traffic jam. Is it really that hard to do? No. And there’s almost always a building you can stand in front of (NOT in front of a door, though, please, or I will come for you), and then VOILA! Like magic, you are no longer in everyone else’s way. SEE HOW FUCKING EASY THAT WAS?
I’ve often wished that people could be ticketed for how they walk on a sidewalk, because after seeing how most these people can’t even walk in a straight fucking line, I never want to see them behind the wheel of a car. But it’d be nice if that asshole who’s trying to walk while texting or the one who’s weaving all around the sidewalk with no rhyme or reason could get a ticket for reckless walking. Some of us are just trying to go from point A to point B. It’d be nice if I didn’t have to act like I was fucking slalom skiing to get around the people for whom walking in a straight line is an insurmountable task. Sure, weaving around the sidewalk might not kill someone (although who’s to say?), but it’s fucking annoying, and I think a $50 fine would make people wake the hell up and pay attention.
And don’t even get me started on the people who are always walking like they’re out for their Sunday constitutional. Get the fuck out of the way, assholes. This city isn’t exactly ripe with greenery, so I don’t know why you need to be going at a snail’s pace, as if there are interesting things to look at every two feet. There aren’t. Keep moving, or STEP TO THE SIDE. If you want to take a leisurely stroll, go to a park. Right now you’re essentially going country bumpkin speed on a pedestrian highway. People who live in this city are using these sidewalks to commute, not to enjoy their surroundings and take in the sights. So get the fuck out of my way or pick up the pace.
In addition to the slow walkers and the stoppers, we also have the groups of 2-4 people that somehow manage to take up THE ENTIRE WIDTH OF THE SIDEWALK. Often, these groups are also slow walkers OR stoppers (or, so help me, BOTH). The sidewalks here are hypothetically constructed to allow plenty of passing room on the busiest sidewalks. But even on sidewalks that don’t have street vendors and tourists, I will end up coming up on a group of 2-4 people who are somehow taking up the entire width. They have about a foot of space or more between each of them (depending on the size of the group), and they will certainly NOT move closer together in order to allow people moving in the opposite direction to pass them, so you can completely forget it when you’re moving in the same direction as them and coming up from behind. They will never get out of your way. Clearly they OWN THE FUCKING SIDEWALK and need to use ALL THE AVAILABLE SPACE. It’s just too bad for us plebeians who wish to use their sidewalk. We just have to get in step behind them.
How…how is it even fucking possible for 2-4 people to take up so much goddamned space? I mean, I understand if you’re having a conversation with your friends and you all want to be able to hear, but if you see people coming in the opposite direction who are going to need to get around you and your friends, you can pause your surely RIVETING story in order to move into a single-file line for half a second so people can get around you. I do it all the fucking time when I’m with my friends and GUESS WHAT? IT DOESN’T RUIN THE STORY. In fact, it makes it easier because people aren’t having to shove past us or jostle us, because we ARE MAKING SPACE FOR THEM. DO YOU SEE HOW THIS WORKS?
Because that has got to be my favorite part of all of this. I get stuck behind the stoppers and the slow walkers and the space takers and the weavers, and when I try to move past them (and trust me, I’ve become adept at contorting my body in such a way so as to move past people with minimum contact) and happen to brush their shoulder (or with the weavers, sometimes run into them because WHO CAN PREDICT WHICH DIRECTION THEY’LL MOVE IN NEXT?!), they give me the dirtiest looks you can imagine, as if I’M the asshole in this fucking situation. Breaking news: I’m just trying to get to my destination. You’re the one turning the sidewalk into a fucking obstacle course. You’re lucky I just moved past you instead of taking out your kneecaps. That would’ve taught you a lesson. But unfortunately, it also would have gotten me arrested.
I’ve managed to construct my commute to avoid the busiest sidewalks near my office, but at some times of day every sidewalk is busy and it’s just impossible to get anywhere in a timely manner.
I wish every day that they had express sidewalks for through traffic only. Like a highway. No stopping unless it’s an emergency; just efficient walking at breakneck speeds. Then maybe it wouldn’t take me two fucking hours to get home from work.