This one’s dedicated to Alexandra, who reminded me how much I hate this.
So, I’m walking in Berkeley, trying to get to class with some semblance of punctuality, when I get stuck behind that impenetrable wall of pure pedestrian evil–that group that walks side by side.
Five people. Next to each other. On the narrow sidewalk. Just chattin’.
I hate them consistently–no matter where they are, where they’re going, or what they’re doing (unless they’re elderly. I’m not a monster.). I hate them because if I’m walking behind them, I get stuck going whatever inevitably slow-ass pace they can handle that afternoon and I can’t go around because they take up ALL THE SPACE.
But I hate them even more when they’re walking towards me.
Here’s the thing: I think there’s an unspoken agreement most pedestrians seem to understand. Two people walking side-by-side on the average American sidewalk is fine (I can’t speak for Europe. It’s a no-man’s-land where anything goes). Anything more than two means one of them is walking into oncoming (pedestrian) traffic.
So, when I’m out and see these imbeciles on the end of the row barrelling down the sidewalk like a fucking snow plow, making oncoming pedestrians have to shrink to the side to make way for them like they’re the fucking royal entourage, I do the one thing I do best–brace my shoulder and shove.
Does it hurt? Sometimes. Is it satisfying as hell, though? YOU KNOW IT!
I’ve made purses come flying off and shopping bags (which are always like the size of a whole ‘nother person) hit the person carrying them. I’ve made people whimper, whince, and yell.
And that fills me with joy.
Because I’m using a very primal logic, you see. Ancient man figured out that fire was a bad thing to stick his hand into by…sticking his hand into it. He discovered that fire=hurt. I’m assuming he tried it a few times, established that fire really, consistently hurt and cut that shit out. I’m hoping these plow-walkers have at least the same brain capacity as our more apeish ancestors and will learn with enough shoulder shoves that, hey!, walking into people=hurt!
I’m just teaching them a lesson about courtesy, personal space, and self-awareness with my own lesson plan of pain.
Oh, and with this poem.
You’re walking and talking and acting real cool,
With you friends in a row, on your way home from school.
You walk side-by-side like your life is a movie,
You’re Mr. White and you’re feeling so groovy.
Well I’m feeling cool as I sit at the wheel,
Revving and listening to the tires squeal,
Down the sidewalk I roll in my bitchin’ snow plow,
Muttering curses and furrowing my brow.
I see you there, like bowling pins,
I smile as I speed up–so it begins!
Help me exorcise my violent tendencies by telling me what pisses you off and if it’s a pet peeve of mine, too, I’ll write about it.