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October 9, 2011

Sidewalk Etiquette

by thenattyurbanite

One of the things that annoys me the most is people who walk without a purpose. You know the kind, the one who walks super-slowly because he’s in his own world ‘liking’ his friend’s pic of her rice cracker covered in Velveeta lunch. Oh, how about the group of three or more friends who HAVE to walk across the sidewalk at a glacial pace thus preventing anyone from going around unless they step into oncoming traffic. Ugh. I’ve been known to do the tap on the shoulder and highlight such selfishness. Using the sidewalk is simple, it’s a matter of yielding to oncoming traffic. Below are a few scenarios for proper sidewalk usage.

Rainy Days – Wo doesn’t love maneuvering a crowded sidewalk during a rush-hour deluge? My rule of thumb, whoever has the bigger umbrella has to yield. End of story. Because we know that the golf umbrella set love to see if their open tent can clear construction scaffolding, then look surprised when it doesn’t. If you have the bigger umbrella and you are unable to move to the side, collapse it briefly giving way to the other person[s], then re-open and go along your merry way.

Baby SUVs – I love kids. No I do. However, my parents had a pram for me and it served them fine. If your stroller looks like a Fiat, then you need to exercise more caution when using the sidewalk. If you have to stop to answer your phone or to find your dry cleaning receipt or to give a dollar to the kid who needs to go back home and wash the green Kool Aid out of his hair, simply step to the side, thus allowing the childless folk to walk freely. If you are with another stroller buddy, please walk one-behind-the-other, it’s just the polite thing to do, unless it’s a wide sidewalk.

Dropping Gs – So you have eight shopping bags from various high street shops and are not yet ready to call it quits and want to rack up some more debt do some more walking. As a courtesy to oncoming pedestrians, who may also have a bag or two, move both hands from your sides and swing the bags 90 degrees so that one hand is in front and the other behind. This prevents the crunching of environmentally questionable paper shopping bags and giving of serious side-eye. Again, the person with more bags has to yield.

So the next time you’re on the sidewalk and see someone breaking The Natty Urbanite’s law, just tap them on the shoulder and educate them. Failing that, jab them with your umbrella.

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