This odd happenstance occurred on Friday. Both the i and The Times carried comment about ill-mannered pedestrians. Let’s turn first to The Times.
There was some fulminating, fully justified, about how pedestrians have forgotten how to be good mannered and make an acknowledgement if a driver behaves graciously toward them. My driving instructor used to ask, ‘When do pedestrians have right of way?’ and the correct answer for him was ‘Always.’ That may be true, but no pedestrian ever died through waving an acknowledging hand when somebody anchors up to let them cross, or leaves a gap so the walker can cross while covered by the vehicle from impatient nutters in other cars.
The i identifies the most common causes of the ‘modern phenomenon’ of pavement rage. I, unknowingly, have been afflicted by this for many years, so I take issue with the idea of it being a modern phenomenon.
There’s a list of the Top Ten causes of pavement rage, because newspapers love lists. These include: people with prams or buggies; groups of youths; children (both this and the previous cause of ire seem a bit sweeping to me); people who stop or turn abruptly (I near as a toucher got floored by some dumbo this very morning); and people texting.
That latter one covers a multitude of sins, not least the texter’s inability to walk in a straight line. Just the other day somebody walked into me and glared at me as if it had been my fault. Mind you, some people have no sense of directional stability whatsoever. My ex-wife and a partner both fell into this category. It drove me mad.
I’m surprised cyclists on pavements didn’t make the cut. They infuriate me. When I worked in London many years ago, I found a strategic umbrella through the rear spokes was an effective way to call a halt to things, but then you have to hope it doesn’t rain because your gamp will not be unscathed.
People having a conversation while standing two abreast across the pavement right where it’s already narrowed by a sandwich board and a streetlight. That makes me cross. As do the groups of pensioners who find that the doorway to a supermarket is the ideal spot to have a conversation about their bunions. They’re nearly as irritating as people who walk straight out of a shop without due care and attention, and straight into you.
Here’s a big one that got missed too. People in mobility scooters reversing without bothering to look behind them. There’s a particularly irascible and somewhat malodorous bloke in my town who has had me twice in this fashion, and of course it’s my fault, not his.
People with dogs where the leash is one of those extending ones and the dog is one side of the pavement while the owner is the other. Usually texting, so double whammy.
While on the subject of dogs, dogshit. This was something that had virtually disappeared as a problem but is raising its noisome head again.
They should bring back hanging for not clearing up your dog’s crap.