This Needs to Stop: Sidewalk Hogs

31 Jan

This morning’s TNTs is brought to you by the lovely Leslie Flemming. Leslie will be answering all of our legal questions as this season of Gossip Girl takes us into the courtroom.

This Needs to Stop. Sidewalk Hogs

Has this ever happened to you? You’re walking down the sidewalk, minding your business and being a good pedestrian when suddenly you are forced off of the sidewalk and in to a snow bank or mud puddle by a herd of people. To the best of your knowledge you were not in possession of an invisibility cloak at the time, so they could definitely see you. As you drew closer they probably even dipped one of their shoulders and turned their upper body so slightly it was almost imperceptible. But ultimately they decided that they were entitled to monopolize the entire width of the sidewalk, and you should be exiled to the adjacent patches of unpaved real estate.

More often than not, when faced with an oncoming herd of people, the member of the group who is in your direct line of collision will fall back a few steps, let you pass, then rejoin the herd. This is what most of us do. This is normal sidewalk etiquette. Unfortunately, at some point in your ambling travels you will encounter a sidewalk hog. And they need to be stopped.

I’m not sure what it is that compels the sidewalk hogs to disregard the needs of fellow walkers. Perhaps they themselves were once unjustly forced off the sidewalk and this triggered a need for eternal pedestrian domination. Or maybe they’ve examined your footwear and have decided that it would be far easier for you to clean your leather boots than for them to clean their own Reebok pumps after being rerouted in to a mud puddle. But I would venture a guess that the real reason for their actions is that they’re just oblivious to the reality that other people might actually need to walk where they’re walking. They’re so engrossed in their own lives and the riveting conversation about who did what to whom on the dance floor or the Palace last night, that breaking stride with their comrades doesn’t even register as a potential course of action. This behavior needs to stop. So let me break this down for any habitual sidewalk hogs out there.

If you do it this way, that means you did it wrong. Turn around immediately and offer to shine that person’s shoes.

This is the undesirable order of operations.

This is the desirable order of operations: 1. Group sees oncoming pedestrian. Begins to slow down. Group member on the collision course falls back behind the rest of the group.

2. One person in the group falls back behind the rest of the group, letting the solo- pedestrian pass.

3. Solo-pedestrian passes, and the herd comes back together. That was easy, wasn’t it?

As my younger sister used to remind me when I was reluctant to let her play with my toys, “We SHARE in this family!” That’s a valuable lesson for everyone to learn, because in most places in the world the sidewalk is for sharing. So if you’re a sidewalk hog, or you know one, please take note: Commandeering the whole sidewalk for your personal runway at the expense of all other pedestrians is not ok. This needs to stop!

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2 Responses to “This Needs to Stop: Sidewalk Hogs”

  1. Chris January 31, 2011 at 10:10 am #

    Great post. I hate sidewalk hogs, and in my experience males are the worst offenders, usually of the douchebag variety.

  2. David August 29, 2012 at 9:40 am #

    I think some of these people are mentally ill or something. I ran into a sidewalk hog the other day. I moved to the right to make room and the person coming towards me actually turned and started walking directly towards me, like he was trying to force me off the sidewalk! I held my ground and threw my shoulder into him as we passed, then turned around fully expecting a fight… but he kept on walking like nothing had happened.

    All along he was agressive in his posture and approach and seemed unstable. But he kept on going, so maybe he came to his senses.

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