All the Rage Wednesday: People Who Stop Abruptly

I walk like I drive. Before veering off my path, I take a quick glance to make sure I’m not cutting anyone off. I try to keep up with the flow of traffic, though sometimes (just like when I drive), I have to pass people whose pace is so leisurely I can’t tell if they’re moving slowly or just standing still and letting the Earth revolve under their feet (or as Jayne would exclaim, “Sure, by all means, move at a glacial pace!” She gets me). But most of all, when I need to stop, I slow down and pull to the side–that is, find a place out of the way where I can stop and tie my shoes, or check out my phone, or adjust the strap on my propeller hat.

So my biggest pedestrian pet peeve is when people on a busy thoroughfare just stop abruptly. If a car were to do that on a freeway or even on a busy street, there’d be a massive pile-up or a collision. The same rule applies to foot traffic.

Here’s a story to explain this particular rage. A couple of years ago, I was at Disneyland (I’d never gone as a kid, was skeptical as a teenager, and was finally convinced to go. And yes, it is the most magical place on Earth). We were coming out of some show (sorry, I don’t know all the proper nomenclature yet. Give it a few more visits) and we were just one huge crowd of people filing through a narrow corridor to get out. In typical crowd behavior, we were all pretty close to one another. Suddenly, the high school-age girl with massively preppy pigtails in front of me just stops dead in her tracks and decides to take a sip from her water bottle. Fortunately, I was paying attention to where I was going, so I narrowly managed to avoid her (without bumping into her and causing all that water to splash in her face). But her stupidity, stopping suddenly and blocking the exit in a giant crowd, made me exclaim, “Yes, that is an excellent place to stop!”

It’s gonna take a lot more than that face to scare me, child. Stuart Miles/

Of course, instead of having one brief, shining glimpse of self-awareness, the girl responded with all the sass of a stereotypical mean girl. “I can stop where I WANT!” Her parents, muttering sheepishly to her that I’m not wrong and that maybe she shouldn’t have stopped there, had no effect on her angry, overly-indulged little scowl. I didn’t stop to school her about physics, or respect, or not being a spoiled brat because I was embarrassed for her parents, who clearly looked embarrassed by the daughter (who I’m sure they’d hoped would have turned out to be a more polite person), as they tried to get her to see reason.

So on that note, here’s a little poem to all the people who think of no one but themselves when they walk. But especially that girl in Disneyland.

You’re scowling real hard,
And your face is so sour,
But you’d scowl even worse,
If I’d given you a shower,

From your own water bottle,
With a thud to your back.
You’d shriek from the shock,
And the pain of the smack.

So next time be grateful,
Your makeup ain’t smeared,
Only your parents embarrassed,
At how rude you appeared.


Let’s be rage buddies! Tell me in a comment what pisses you off, and if it bugs me too, I’ll write about it.


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