walking etiquette

July 29th, 2004

I don't think many people give much thought to walking, it's such a simple, straightforward activity that there's not much to it, on the surface at least. Yeah, that's until you encounter people with poor walking etiquette. They come in all shapes and forms. Most distinct are those who walk too fast or too slow for you to keep up. Somehow they are oblivious to the fact that different people may enjoy different speeds of walking. It's mostly the fast walkers who do this, if they looked to the side for a minute they would see you taking giant strides trying not to fall behind. But even if they look, it's one of those disapproving looks, could you pick up the pace a little bit you think? The fast walkers are easily identifiable, they always have a purpose to their walking. These aren't the people who go window shopping, no they keep their eyes fixed on their destination. No change of course being made here. Time is money.

On the other side of the equation you have the slow walkers. And this isn't about physical ability or endurance, these people just refuse to speed up no matter what the situation is. It's like going faster would conflict with their religious beliefs, it's not being done. And sometimes you need to pick it up a little, when you have to get somewhere on time. These people never worry about getting anywhere on time. Whatever happens happens. 8 or 8.30, what's the difference anyway? And they are so attached to this notion of never doing anything quicker than they normally do at their casual pace that it's downright hard to shake them. Only a serious threat of missing out on something, or better yet facing a penalty for being late, will sway them from their comfortable path.

Too fast or too slow, that's fairly obvious all things considered. But that's not all, there are certain variations of these trends. For instance, there are people who tell you they can't keep up with you. But instead of stopping or slowing down, like any rational person would expect, they walk at the same speed you do, only 2m behind you to prove their point. Not surprisingly, this doesn't work cause if you can walk at my pace, walking behind me is just a question of displacement, not velocity.

More annoying yet are people who refuse to align with you for any reason at all. If you're walking for more than 30 minutes, inevitably at some point one person will stop for some reason. The excuses are many, tying shoelaces, looking at something you pass by the road etc. Now what would good etiquette entail? Nothing more than slowing down or better yet waiting for that person. It's not rocket science after all. But some people never do that, if you stop you have to race back to catch up with them. And even if you try to influence them, very suggestively stop when they stop to show them how it's done, they don't care. Yes, I see that but I'm not interested. And these people generally don't care about alignment at all. If you stop and don't catch up with them, they will keep walking. Similarly, if they stop and you don't wait, they don't catch up either, just carry on at their own pace.

That is a strange phenomenon. If you're supposed to walk with someone and they have to stop for something, you keep walking and they're too stubborn to catch up with you, then you just end up walking at the same pace several meters apart. Apparently, some people don't see anything wrong with that. And it's too embarrassing to have to point that out, it's just walking after all.

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3 Responses to "walking etiquette"

  1. River says:

    You missed that people that continually bump into your side, hit you with a swinging arm or move slighty to the side making you inturupt your walking as a precaution. You try to counter it by walking slighty ahead but then turning a corner or something poses further problems :lazy:

  2. numerodix says:

    Wow, now I feel so relieved never to have met those people... :eek: :D

    Shame you can't say the same thing.. :P

  3. River says:

    Maybe its just a London Saturday rush hour thing :D