I’ve probably said it before; I guarantee I’ll say it again! I was raised by my parents to be courteous, polite and have good manners and I have continued to observe that upbringing as I have aged. In fact I’ll take that a stage further and say I have enhanced it as I have matured.
The above paragraph clearly lets you know I am about to rant once more. I am about to get on my soap box and stay there until I have made my point.
So what has me pounding the keyboard this time?
Quite simply the arrogance of some users of our public footpaths – not the footpaths one can follow to enjoy a stroll through our wonderful countryside, but the ones we have to follow to walk about our towns just to get from A to B. In some cases these footpaths a.k.a. pavements (or sidewalks for my cousins from across the pond!) are quite narrow and have a maximum width of two persons.
I’m not talking about the people with whom one has a ‘pavement dance’. Actually it’s more like a jig. And I’m sure everyone has encountered a ‘pavement jig’ at some point in their lives. You know the scenario – you are merrily strolling along the pavement; up ahead there is another person heading towards you. Even though you are still twenty paces apart, you can tell you are on a collision course with them. You make the decision to step to your right to avoid the inevitable. The other person also steps to one side. The only problem is they have stepped to their left putting them immediately back into your path.
Swiftly, without thinking, you step back to your left but they have stepped to their right. You are still heading for a face to face confrontation! This do-si-do continues for a few more steps until you are almost touching noses and then you both, as if receiving a lightning bolt from above, do a double step in the opposite direction whilst grinning inanely and twisting your body slightly sideways to slide past the other person.
A simple piece of pavement etiquette here would solve this problem. Perhaps government should pass a law which states all users of pavements should, when approaching another user coming in the opposite direction, move to the left allowing safe passage on the right.
Maybe people need to take a ‘driving’ test to walk on pavements!
However, once again, I have digressed from my intended rant. The rant is aimed not at those we jig with, but with those who make no attempt to get out of the way. Unlike many of our roads, a pavement is a two-way street and as such no one user has right of way.
What really winds me up is when, as a single user of the pavement, I approach a couple heading towards me who ultimately refuse to move over. I have already stated that our pavements are narrow and can only accommodate a maximum of two people side by side, so there is no way the three of us can pass without at least one of us stepping aside.
Whilst I am happy to give way, and as I said earlier, have been raised to be courteous, it would be nice every once in a while for one of the approaching pair to step behind the other so that my journey is uninterrupted. Usually I will manoeuvre myself towards the road side of the pavement so that I can step into the road to allow the others to pass. However, earlier today I found myself walking on the inside up against the garden wall running along the pavement. I had nowhere to go, so I naturally thought the oncoming couple would use common sense and step out of the way.
I thought the inside one of the pair would either drop behind the other, or accelerate ahead or that the outside person would step into the road. Instead of employing the most obvious solution to the approaching problem, they kept coming until the inside person and I were forced to bash shoulders. I had seen this coming and had halted and turned slightly to minimize the impact but the other couple just kept on going without hesitation or even an acknowledgement of the ‘crash’.
A little while later, this happened again, albeit with a different couple. I began to wonder whether I was actually visible. As soon as I was able I checked my reflection in a shop window. And there I was – as clear as daylight!
I could go on – in fact, I think I will in a later post. I have already taken up a lot of your time and for now, I have an insurance claim to fill out for the damage caused in my earlier collision! 😉