Usually I blog about books, music, TV and films, but I’ve spent much of this month moving house, with my remaining free time bogged down with work, so I haven’t really seen/read/listened to much of the above. I do, however, have something to rant about. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you my thoughts on ‘Pavement Rage’…
Despite my dad being a car mechanic, it’s a curious fact that neither my brother (who is almost 32) nor I (almost 36) have learned to drive. At first, it was a question of cost. I couldn’t afford the lessons, let alone a car and the insurance, and my parents weren’t wealthy enough to pay for either. Later, I came to realise I would be the worst driver in the world, and so my not driving became a matter of choice.
Why, I hear you ask, would I be such a terrible driver? Well, for one, when I’m in a car I like to go off into a world of my own. I am a born passenger. I like to look out of the window and daydream. So much so, in fact, that you won’t get much conversation out of me on long car journeys. Secondly, because of my lifelong pavement rage.
You’ve heard of road rage. Hell… Catatonia even sang a song about it. Well, pavement rage is much the same, except it attacks pedestrians rather than motorists. You might think that when you’re walking, travelling at a much slower, safer pace, there would be fewer things to annoy you than when you’re driving, but you would be wrong. Here, then, are the four different types of person most likely to have me foaming at the mouth in anger.
1) Slow Walkers
Please note that this does not apply to the elderly, the disabled, or anyone with very small children. Some people can’t help walking slowly, and that’s OK. I’m talking about able-bodied people in the fullness of youth who, for no reason other than sheer fucking idleness, choose to walk at a funereal pace wherever they go. This is borderline excusable when you’re in a village fete, walking through a quaint little seaside town, or strolling through a forest glade. It’s a crime punishable by death when you’re walking in a city. And the funny thing is, it doesn’t matter which city you’re in, you’ll encounter slow walkers. I’ve had my progress slowed to a crawl by them in Cardiff (where I live), London and even New York. If Dante had thought to mention them in his Inferno, they would have suffered a suitably slow and painful torture in the fiery pits of hell.
2) Sudden Stoppers
Is it me or have people lost all sense of spacial awareness? I don’t know whether it’s the advent of iPhones or the sinister and solipsistic influence of modern culture, but some people walk around in their own little bubble, completely ignorant of those around them. Sudden Stoppers will stop walking – to check their phone, to look in their handbag/purse/wallet etc – right where they are, regardless of whoever might be behind them. Their preferred places to stop include shop doorways and the tops of escalators. It should be legal to punch these people in the back of the head.
3) Carrie Bradshaw/Mr Orange Wannabes
“Oh, aren’t we just like the characters in Sex and the City/Reservoir Dogs (delete according to gender and/or orientation), walking side by side like we simply own the pavement?”
No, you’re not. You’re walking slower than a police search team combing a field, and you need to get out of my fucking way pretty sharpish before I start kicking you all in the ankles.
4) Pavement Cyclists
It’s rush hour, you’re on your way to work, and you’re not the most confident of cyclists, so what do you do? Do you hop off the bike and walk the rest of the way, or do you weave through the rush hour crowds on your metal machine of death? Of course… You ride through the crowds. Because all those times when you complained about motorists not realising that their car or van was bigger than your bike, and that in any collision you would be the one more seriously injured, appear to have robbed you of your sense of irony. You prick.