I Got a New Way to Walk

...walk, walk.
This new video imagines what it would be like if a bad driver applied the same lack of care and consideration to walking. And it only scratches the surface.

It’s been noted before how our cars seem to provide a shroud of anonymity and safety, under which people hold themselves to lesser standards. But what if we acted just as awful without such protection?


Would you cut in line? Would you breathe down other people’s necks? Would you run past others, only to resume walking speed directly in front of them?

A while back, I started to experiment with taking what I knew about road driving and applying it to shopping carts in the store. It suddenly made a huge difference in reducing awkwardness when maneuvering my cart among other shoppers. I started to imagine a yellow line down the middle of every aisle, and a yield sign at the end where it met the main aisle. Nerdy, I know. But in most cases, it works, instantly providing an “if x, then y” way of negotiating my way through this otherwise unregulated form of traffic. If I see an oncoming cart in the center of the aisle, I can take the initiative of using the right side of the aisle so that as we get closer, they will aim for their own “lane”.

However, shopping is not a continuous flow. There is a lot of overtaking stopped traffic and moving to the “shoulder” so as not to block others. Unfortunately, that shoulder is sometimes occupied by a mini-display, and aisle widths come into play as well. Sometimes it’s like crossing some backroad one-lane bridge. Nevertheless, the basics still apply, and it feels natural when you have a four-wheeled cart in your hands. It’s a LOT like driving.


And let’s not forget toll-booth HOV lane check-out etiquette:

If only stores actually posted a real sign that looked like this.

Lines, or queues, are something we encounter on an almost daily basis. We see them on the road, in the store, at the movies, and even for bathrooms. The concept is simple: first come, first served. In such situations, none of us are entitled to some imaginary maximum wait time. Sometimes the queue is long; deal with it or come back some other time.

But not everything’s a queue. Just like those store aisles, the sidewalk has no speed limit and we are free to pass anyone moving at a slower pace. And good driving practices can be applied here as well. Now, it would be ridiculous for sidewalks to be one-way streets. Crossing the road just for the purpose of going in the other direction is silly. So either side of the street has its own two-way sidewalk.


This is all voluntary stuff. I don’t mean to imply that sidewalks and stores ought to have regulated traffic control. Rather, we should all be aware of our own maneuvers, and thoughtful to other traffic. We don’t need distracted walking any more than we need distracted driving.


My new walk suits me fine, but what about you? Do your driving habits influence your walking? Do your walking habits influence your driving?

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