Thursday, December 9, 2010

There isn*t much to be said about walking past people; except that it can be extremely awkward. I*ve noticed with all of my experience in passing people in the street or on campus; that most are no good at the whole passing thing. There isn*t any literature or written code on the passersby etiquette but it would seem that there are many rules; do nots; and many amendments to top it all off. The amount of thought that each person has to put into merely walking past someone else is enough to make one*s head spin.

My most favorite is the not-supposed-to-walk-on-the-same-side-of-the-road unspoken rule. When walking down the street if there is a person on the same side coming towards you; inevitably they have to get to the other side of the road; immediately or as quickly as possible. The thoughts that roll through my mind include: 

  • *Do I reek so badly that it has wafted all the way down to them already?*
  • *Would fatal collision have been certain had we both continued on the same side of the road?*
  • *Do they know something about me that they shouldn't?*
  • *Probably just couldn't handle walking past the awesomeness and attractiveness that is me.*
  • *Does my bed hair look atrocious and they don't want to have to hide their sniggering?*
The next unspoken rule on my favorites list is the don*t-smile-because-it-might-not-be-reciprocated -and-then-things-could-get-really-awkward rule. Come on peeps. Show them pearls off. Every time we pass someone; it is our mini audition as a smile model.
Absolutely-positively-NO-communication-whatsoever-or-you-will-DIE rule is steadily making its way up on my favorite unspoken rules list. I believe that this is proof of digression in our species. The grunts from pre-homo erectus are even non-existent in the passersby*s world. Communication was a big thing back in the day. Since we can't seem to stay away from the 60s hippy-isms; the 70s dancing; the 80s clothes; and the 90s hair; why not yesterdays communication? Saying hello to someone hasn't killed anyone yet and if it has; it is a very tiny number; not likely to happen to anyone we know.

My cousin touched on this next unspoken rule in her blog. The must-walk-on-the-right-side-of-the-sidewalk rule. It*s good to know that all of us are good enough drivers to apply the traffic idea to the sidewalk. It does make the flow of passing people so much flowier. However; in many cases people will go out of their way to make sure that you do not pass them on the wrong (left) side. 

Another unspoken rule on my list is the you-can-move-out-of-my-way-because-I-obviously-have-the-right-of-way-in-this-situation rule. This one is especially fun in the winter time when the sidewalks haven*t been shoveled yet so there is only the path where many shoes have walked. Because of the limited space for your feet; besides the perfectly good snow banks on either side that will instantly soak anyone to the bone. But there's always the person who walks like a Viking; tall and strong and true and completely unyielding; even if they have a small pullover space close by. 

I face these dilemmas every day as I pass many people walking to and from classes and work and home. There are so many little subtleties to the passersby etiquette. I haven*t even covered all the the little unspoken rules of passing people such as the hurry-and-pass-someone-from-behind-while-looking-at-*something*-very-interesting-on-the-other-side rule or the they-just-slipped-but-I*m-going-to-pretend-that-I-didn*t-see rule. 

I'm sure that we all know the feeling of passing someone and putting WAY too much thought into what we should do.
Cool passing by stuff I saw and had to have
  1. Picture of business people passing each other from fotolia.


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