I’m not usually a hard rock fan. Nonetheless, I’m inspired by hard rockin’ Aerosmith’s hit song “Walk This Way,” because I too want everybody to walk a very specific way. And if they do, I’m 100% confident it will solve today’s pandemic pedestrian equivalent of road rage.
The source of this rage? Deciding who will yield the right of way and step off narrow sidewalks when pedestrians pass one another in opposite directions.
Sadly, instead of determining this right of passage by simple courtesy or any of the social norms that guide us when walking down hallways or stairways, our sidewalks have become coronavirus battlefields.
Walk This Way — NOT!
Yes, increasingly, pedestrians (usually mask-less) are taking their pent-up sheltered-in-place aggression out on innocent strangers by playing pavement “chicken,” always refusing to step aside, always forcing the other person into the street to avoid contact.
All I can say is “Walkers, beware. You proceed at your own peril!”
Now, of course, many civil citizens yield a narrow sidewalk in a safe and courteous manner.
But some don’t.
And the reasons why defy explanation — at least to non-psychologist, non-sociologist me. Are they clueless? Are they self-absorbed narcissists? Or just plain rude?
Yet, solving the problem is a no-brainer. And since I’ve actually witnessed multiple people getting into shouting matches over this troublesome behavior, I’m going to jump in and Emily Post this thing.
Yes, I’m putting on my Big Girl mask and doing it!
Walk This Way — DO!
The person who faces the oncoming traffic should be the one to step aside and if need be, out onto the street curb. Why that person? Because that individual can see approaching cars, trucks, buses, and bicycles. That person knows how much space and time they have to safely get back on the sidewalk.
Of course, there are exceptions to every “rule.” Some good ones to consider:
Don’t make older and infirm individuals step aside and into the street. That’s just wrong.
Ditto parents with strollers and small children.
And While I’m Ranting …
What about those joggers who suddenly sprint up behind you — without warning, and pass — sans mask? They not only frighten but endanger you as well.
In Washington, DC where I used to live, bikers and runners along the Capitol Crescent Path always — courteously — call out “Passing on the left.” It’s a practice that’s prevented many a heart attack and fisticuffs!
So, like those chicken-playing, refusing-to-yield-the-sidewalk pedestrians I see, I say, “Please be kind. Show some courtesy. Please say something when approaching from behind, even a simple ‘hey.'”
And for bonus points, to quote my friend Rachelle, “Mask up or Stay Home.”
That’s About It
Those are my walkabout pet peeves. How about it, my dear Middle-aged Muddlers? What gets your goat, when you’re out for a stroll or running errands?
Another quick question: Did you miss last week’s blog, “Five Tips for Stylish Mask Wearing?” Check it out. You definitely want to be stylin’ when out and about!
Finally, since this blog was inspired by the song “Walk This Way,” here’s the song’s YouTube link. Rock on but at a safe social distance!