The other day, I had the strange experience of walking down an escalator that was turned off. If you’ve never done this, it’s much more interesting than it sounds. Taking the first step, I expected the escalator to start moving, to begin its descent to the platform below. It didn’t. Instead, it stayed perfectly still like my ex during sex. For some reason, the lack of motion combined with my expectation that the escalator should be moving caused me to experience a bizarre disorientation, sort of the same sensation I get from being on a swaying boat. I wanted to get off the escalator as soon as possible. It wasn’t supposed to be like this; there is a distinct way that things are meant to move and the escalator’s paralysis violated that.
I bring this up because lately I’ve had what I can only describe as “sidewalk rage.” It’s like “road rage,” but it’s experienced by people walking down the sidewalk. I’m super crabby at the moment and people walking down the sidewalk are pissing me off. Just as an escalator is supposed to gently glide up or down, people walking down a sidewalk are supposed to move at a certain pace. Life is like a hip-hop track – it has a beat. There’s a rhythm to things, and the following people are disrupting it. Below I’ve listed just a few of the folks who set off my sidewalk rage…if you should encounter them in the near future, be sure to express your disdain by cursing under your breath and rolling your eyes.
The Slow Walker: Got an hour to kill? Apparently The Slow Walker does, or maybe he/she would move at a clip faster than a toddler crawling through rocks. When encountered on the open sidewalk, The Slow Walker is only a minor inconvenience – walking around him/her isn’t a problem. What makes The Slow Walker intolerable is the inability to adapt when walking on a busier street. The Slow Walker will continue to mosey along, possibly talking on his/her cellphone, oblivious to your frenzied attempts to pass. Like a zombie, The Slow Walker tends to sway in a zig-zag pattern, blocking off frustrated would-be-passers like an offensive lineman protecting a quarterback. And the worst part is that The Slow Walker is sometimes an elderly person or a mother with her kid, which makes one (i.e. me) feel bad when moaning “fuckin’ move it!” in the safe confines of one’s own head. Or, as often is the case, The Slow Walker is an attractive female in giant high heels, on her way to a date that she will very likely be late for because she, unlike me, can get away with being late for dates.
The Jason Voorhees: It doesn’t matter how fast the oversexed blonde teen at summer camp runs, Jason Voorhees will always catch up. And she knows this. She constantly looks behind her and screams, perfectly aware that, even though he isn’t right there, he’s back there someplace. He’s not tailgating her; instead he’s scaring the daylights out of her by making her feel as though he is. This is what The Jason Voorhees does. He usually appears at night, on an otherwise empty sidewalk. As if he’d been created by a foley artist, The Jason Voorhees can be heard before he’s seen. Clump clump here he comes. Also like the hockey-masked horror icon, The Jason Voorhees is unshakable. Try to speed up, so does he. Slow down for him to pass, he slows down too. Turn down a side street…there might be a short moment of relief, and then you’ll hear his crazy footsteps again, rocking and rolling and in hot pursuit of you. The special and amazing thing about The Jason Voorhees is that somehow he never actually catches up. Chances are that he’s just some drunk guy, so if you’re desperate to get him off your ass, I recommend passing a place that could divert his attention, like a brothel or a Taco Bell.
The Weezer Cover: You know the band Weezer? Ever see their album covers? They’re always the same, a simple picture of the four band members standing side-by-side. This is nice and shows good camaraderie. However, if Weezer was walking down a sidewalk, I’d hope they would have the decency not to stand like this. Breaking off into a classic line structure is far more appropriate for walking down the sidewalk. However, from time to time I’m confronted by a group of friends who form the intimidating Weezer Cover, spreading out horizontally and blocking the whole damn sidewalk. They’re often four Slow Walkers joined together, creating an impenetrable wall of infuriating dawdling. The only solution is to be a jerk and squeeze through a crack in the friendship, the narrow gap between Patrick Wilson and Rivers Cuomo. If you are a humanitarian, worried about the good of your fellow man, you could slow walk in front of one member of The Weezer Cover, thereby forcing them to form a proper line formation to pass you.
There you have it. The three worst perpetrator’s of sidewalk rage. Like a broken escalator, they must be fixed. They throw off the delicate pace of life, and, worse yet, delay my walk to the subway by a crucial and excruciating 45 seconds.