Picture yourself on a typical drive to work. Only this morning, you hit “off” on your alarm clock instead of “snooze,’” so you’re over an hour late. Speeding pedal-to-the-medal down the one lane road with your eyes on the prize (i.e. not getting fired), all of a sudden the car in front of you turns itself completely perpendicular to the flow of traffic, and then just stops entirely so its driver can marvel at the trees along the street.
In turn, you slam on the brakes and horn, and probably begin shouting some choice obscenities at the oblivious fool who’s blocking the way. Why? Because YOU’RE LATE, and THEY CAN’T JUST DO THAT. Common sense, right?!?
The craziest part about this scenario is that everybody watching deems you the rude one for being angry at the inconsiderate driver who is sticking the figurative finger to you and your agenda by asserting that it’s okay to put whatever you’re doing on hold for his own needs.
And is having a visibly good time doing so.
Surely you have enough common sense to realize the above scenario doesn’t happen. People seem to understand the fact that it’s not only rude and disrespectful to hold up the flow of traffic, but also dangerous and unlawful. Those reasoning capabilities go completely out the window when no vehicles are involved.
Typically, it’s okay to meander about on a sidewalk–in like 90% of places, some of which include parks, the suburbs, the beach, and other places of leisure. Did you see Manhattan on that list? No?
Let me be explicit: New York City is not, has never been, nor will EVER be such a place.
Since it’s way more practical to walk and take public transit here than it is to own a car, the sidewalks function as our roads. So while you may be enjoying a nice day out shopping, that woman eagerly trying to get around you and your three friends who span the entire friggin’ sidewalk (this is NOT Sex and the City) is probably rushing to get back to work after her lunch break. And she will sigh as loudly as she can while rolling her eyes when she finally gets around you.
This *clap*Is *clap* Not *clap* Rude *clap* Of *clap* Her *clap*.
You see, to a New Yorker, whose main mode of transportation is walking, you stopping right in the middle of the 34th Street sidewalk to get all wide-eyed at the Empire State Building is equivalent to slamming on those car breaks right in front of them on a major highway. And then calling them rude for getting angry while they abruptly circumnavigate you (obscenities optional) makes you even more of a jerk.
But rest assured, dear tourist, it’s not 100% your fault.
As anyone who has operated a car before knows, it takes a while and a lot of practice to learn the rules of the road and become a skillful driver. You actually have to log a certain amount of practice hours in before even being allowed on the road by yourself.
There is NO equivalent to that type of certification in New York City, one of the largest tourist destinations in the world.
Theoretically, hundreds of thousands of new and inexperienced drivers are using our “roads” for the first time every day. When you have somewhere to go, the disruptions in traffic caused by “new drivers” can be INFURIATING–whether in the form of families blocking an entire sidewalk for a picture, couples kissing in the middle of Times Square, or map holders standing smack in the middle of the subway exit during rush hour.
Can you really blame us for the
road sidewalk rage?
We love you, tourists, we really do, and we want you to experience what makes our home the greatest city on the entire planet. But for the love of whoever you believe in, if you can’t educate yourself on sidewalk etiquette, use some common sense and STEP. TO. THE. SIDE.