May 19, 2007

Sidewalk Hogs

This is one of those petty self-indulgent rants about a minor grievance that a normal person wouldn't even notice. Hooray for the invention of blogs!

So let's say you're out for a walk or a run, enjoying the fresh air or not, making your way down a narrow sidewalk or path.

Two people approach, walking side by side, taking up most of the path or sidewalk.

You see them coming. They see you coming.

You move over as far as you can. You cannot make yourself evaporate, but you try to take up as little space as possible.

The two people continue to chat and walk, side by side. Perhaps they even smile at you.

You get closer. You wonder when they are going to realize they need to walk single file.

You move even further to the edge of the sidewalk/path.

The two people continue to walk two abreast.

You get even closer.

And closer.

Just before the point of collision, they... decide to finally walk single file?

No, actually, they don't. To avoid smashing into them, you have to veer off into the bushes or out into traffic, as they continue to talk and laugh and act as though you were invisible.

There are other variations of course: two people walking slowly ahead of you hear you coming, turn backwards to see who it is, note you getting closer... yet refuse to move. Or a group of people congregate on the sidewalk, having a conversation, and at least 5 or 6 people see you coming and... nothing. You either crash into them or detour into underbrush or traffic.

What the f*ck is up with that?


  1. So this happens all-over? My theory has always been that these sidewalker hoggers are sheep farmers from the back country and they are so used to meeting up with one of New Zealand's however many million sheep on a narrow track that they have become accustomed to having right-of-way! You're a sheep - you don't mind getting your wool tangled in the bushes! Of course, that line of reasoning doesn't work with your part of the world.

    So - maybe they're just selfish, self-centered idiots!

  2. This happens to me ALL the time. I run around a small park, and I end up having to veer off into a bush. I HATE it when that happens, so I've had to just jog really early in the morning to avoid the sidewalk hoggers.

  3. What really gets me is that my mother ingrained politeness so deeply into my psyche, that I'll even apologize to them when they BUMP INTO ME while I"M STANDING STILL. hahah.

    I keep hoping one day to tell them where to stuff their lousy sense of direction.

    BTW, yeah, I hate memes. Bleh. I've been talked into a couple by pals, but usually, it's if they are ones I don't mind overly much. I think it's sort of like how i hate chain mail, ya know?


  4. As soon as I see sidewalk hogs, I just put my head down, start breathing really hard, crank my tunes, and pretend I'm completely in "the zone." I brace myself for a bump and go full steam ahead. If they think I don't see them, all the better. most of the time they'll move, If we bump, fall down, whatever, maybe they'll think twice when they see a jogger/walker/runner coming next time.

    Changing the world, one sidewalk at a time!

  5. This is so annoying. I've decided I blame self-esteem classes in elementary school. We've raised a whole crop of Entitlement-For-Brains who honestly believe the mere fact they exist means their right to be on the sidewalk eclipses your right to do anything.
    Self-esteem is a wonderful thing, but when it replaces common senses, politeness, manners, understanding, and getting along with others, then it has gone too far. I may well be off-base with this. I don't care. Blame is good.

  6. Ok, I just had to comment on this because I live in this little spot of heaven where this really doesn't happen. I live near a paved trail system that is built on a old railroad bed that goes for nearly 100 miles. Needless to say it gets lots of use by walkers, runners, bikers and rollerbladers. The people are so nice about only taking up their part of the trail. When they are coming up behind you going faster than you, say if they are biking or blading and you are walking, they will call out "passing left" or something like that. It is so nice. Most people say hi when you walk by. I don't know how or why it works that way on this trail, but it does!!!

  7. I just saw this in action yesterday on my way home from work. I was walking to catch the ferry, which as you might imagine has a time sensitive component. Two women ahead of me walked two abreast down the stairs. They looked like they were part of the homeward commute, too, but do you think they stepped to the right to let an obviously hurrying man get past them? You might even think it would get on their nerves to have a person chomping at the bit right behind them. But he had to wait until they had cleared that bottom step until he was free of their stair-hogging.

  8. Hi All!

    So right after I posted I got called away on some Family Business and I still have a few more things to do before I can settle in and say hello to you all properly. (I also realize I screwed up this meme thing, tagging people in the wrong places and such.)

    Anyway I just had to peek in and I'm thrilled to see all of you here--old fav's and new visitors too! Back in a bit...

  9. It's me again! Couldn't stay away for long.

    hi Dawn--So sheep don't have the right of way in New Zealand? That's so wrong. I wouldn't mind ducking into the bushes to make way for a big fluffy sheep, especially one that was going to end up as dinner and not just a sweater. Seems the least I could do.

    And hi Pookie!
    Glad to see I'm not the only one who gets cranky about this. Though I'd rather bitch about it than actually get my ass out of bed any earlier.

    Hi Mir!
    I sometimes apologize too, which then makes me mad at myself as well as the idiots who won't move over.

    So Katieo, I think you have the best solution. I'm just too chicken to do it.

    Leah, I'm with you on the entitlement thing. Some people seemed to have missed the whole "empathy" piece of personal growth, and never look at any situation from any viewpoint but their own. Blame is good!

    Oh Holly, please, can we all move in with you and run on your trail?

    (Actually, though I'm ranting about the inconsiderate idiots, most outdoorsy people really are quite polite and friendly. It's why the assh*les are so noticeable.)

    And hi Julia!
    Yes, commute hour stair/escalator hogs really are the worst. I do sometimes barge right past them if a train is arriving. The whole "keep to the right" idea seems lost on a lot of people.

  10. Don't know why, but people do this all the time...and it seems to be getting more common!!

    One of the women I work with has a pet peeve about this too....especially on stairs. Remember when we were kids? In elementary school we were always told to keep to the why have they all forgotten!?!?

  11. Have you enoucntered this one: A walker/runner on one side of the path with her dog on the other side creating a barrier between them with the leash. *snarl* Talk about being a path hog!

  12. Hi Cindy, welcome!
    Stairs, and even worse, escalators. Because at least with stairs, people move a little. On escalators they just plop themselves there and ride.

    And hiya Sera--
    The dog thing cracks me up too. Even a wide sidewalk can be totally taken over with a clueless owner and a long leash. And again, I really hate the ones who see you coming from far away and still make no adjustments.

  13. Hey Crabby,
    One time I just held my ground and shoulder butted the offending party. I'm pretty stubborn by nature. Most of the time I just try to look large and slightly unstable (you know, like you do when you meet a mountain lion or axe murderer). I've had mixed results.

  14. Anonymous,
    "Most of the time I just try to look large and slightly unstable (you know, like you do when you meet a mountain lion or axe murderer)."

    This is so awesome. I might just have to adopt it as a lifestyle!

  15. You say EXCUSE ME and walk right into them and shove the slower ones out of the way.

    If they are smaller than you then you say GET THE FUCK OUT OF THE WAY instead of excuse me and push the slower ones out of the way.

  16. I grew up in New York City, btw. If someone did not move out of the way in NYC, it was generally understood that a New Yorker had the implicit right to shove and/or walk through/over the obstacle.

  17. Ah, Spider, that's what we needed--a little dose of testosterone.

    Actually, when I'm in NY I do pretty much the same thing. Except with a lady-like "please get the fuck out of the way."

    But on trails and paths I'm very nice.

  18. Katieo is right. My DH taught me this just recently. I just move over to center a little more, since people both use and read body language very well whether they are aware of it or not. If one cringes to the side, people will expand into your space. If one makes oneself appear larger or dominant, the others will move, or you may bump, which just teaches them Sidewalks 1A. I have pushed 6'2" guys back to their fair share of the sidewalk this way. Rude people with dogs are much more difficult, but often one can even get them to reel the little stinkers in with this approach. You can send out vibes too, as in I will knock you over on your stupid ass if you don't get over on your own side! But with a nice smile, and not with any real sense of aggression, just projecting SIZE.

  19. HA! and I thought that only happens to ME! Whew, I feel better now! Thanks! Have a GREAT New Year and keep your 3 feet... (may be get a big scary dog ;)

  20. Posting a little late here - just found this blog - I think I'm in heaven getting to hook up with other fit cynics! About the sidewalk hogs though... I will yell out "on your RIGHT!" (left, whatever) as I charge full speed toward the inconsiderate cows. It generally surprises them out of conversation - if they don't move over I have no problem grazing an arm. I do the same thing at the mall without the verbal warning.

  21. That annoys the hell out of me. It really is ignorant, that people can't go in line.

  22. @Holly

    Same where I live! This long trail through Orting...people are so polite.

  23. It's extremely bad at the college I go to. Sometimes a good glare can get them to make room but there are some that walk down the middle of the sidewalk leaving only a half-person width on either side of them. If they moved one way or the other it would be fine, but they stubbornly choose the middle


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