Walk on the Right!

1 min read

“I no longer have road rage, I have walk rage,” I joked to my friends at breakfast recently, sharing one of the ways which my life has changed since leaving Los Angeles.

“We’re in the city. People walk, take public transportation, taxis, Uber. We’re trying to get somewhere, not take leisurely strolls through the streets.”

Traffic, horrendously douchey driving and my resulting road rage which became way to commonplace for my liking (I don’t think it’s healthy to regularly wish for people to “get his someday, motherfucker!”) top the list of reasons why I left L.A. Now, after nearly two years of living in San Francisco, I can count on two hands the number of times I’ve driven my car. My poor, neglected car which once held way too much import in my life.

My friends, all current L.A. residents, listened with amusement as I continued my mini-tirade.

“I get irrationally bothered when people walk slowly or when they don’t walk on the right side of the sidewalk. It messes up the flow. It’s so annoying! That and standing all haphazardly on the escalators, blocking the flow of people who are just trying to catch their train to work. Stand to the right! Climb to the left! It’s not that hard!”

Rant over, I sat back in my seat, satisfied at having released a string of words suppressed for too long.

“You’re supposed to walk to the right?” my friend K- asked with mock trepidation.

Wide-eyed, my friend L- added, “Yeah, I didn’t know that.”

I fixed them with a stare of disbelief and looked to I-, L-‘s husband for validation. He nodded at me in agreement.

“Yes! In this country, we walk on the right side of the street if there are others on the sidewalk. It’s like driving. You drive on the right side of the road. I know it’s different in some other countries. Anyway, that way if you’re walking down the street and are walking toward a stranger, you avoid doing that stupid, ‘Which way are you going? I’m going left, no you’re going right! Ok, I’ll go right,’ dance.”

“Oh, is that why that happens?” K- remarked with a half-smile.

“Yes,” I sighed, “do people not know this?? Am I going to have to blog about this?!”

 

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9 Comments
  • JoAnn Chateau
    October 12, 2014

    Absolutely agree. From personal observation, people ignore this important social rule. My theory was: a lot of people have shorter left legs, which make them veer to the left. Now I see, it happens in London. But the wayward walkers veer to the right. I don’t know what to think anymore.

    The other issue, of people stalling in front of the entrance they just exit, is more serious. While it is annoying to people behind them, it is dangerous to themselves. Imagine if there was a fire, and a crowd stampeded out the door. The unaware staller would be the first casualty. (Not that I’m hoping.)

    • The Girl Next Door is Black
      October 13, 2014

      I think people just don’t know. I don’t even remember when I learned this. It’s just something I know, that becomes more noticeable when I am in pedestrian-friendly environments.

      I totally know what you mean about people standing in front of exits! Especially at the top or bottom of escalators where it’s especially dangerous! I think we’re all just so distracted these days, honestly.

  • Stephanie
    September 18, 2014

    Hi, I’ve been feeling a bit down after I read your posts. Maybe this is your forum to vent, and you are certainly entitled to that…it’s your blog!! However, just wanted to let you know that when we focus on all the annoyances in the world, because there are countless, it makes for a pretty bad day/week/month. But when we focus on the beauty and the good around us, and spread that to others, that brings us inner love and joy. Keep those who make you laugh and bring the best in you closely, because they will help you forget the annoyances of the world 🙂

    • keishaca
      September 18, 2014

      Hi Stephanie!

      Your point is a good one and I agree it’s important to see the beauty all around us. I certainly don’t want to bring anyone down!

      I try to be honest with my feelings on this blog, which can be scary. It’s a lot to put out there into the world. Yes, there definitely is an element of release through venting (and I’m always pleasantly surprised when readers tell me they can identify with my perspective or experiences!). Life has its’ peaks and valleys and I believe my blogs posts represent the spectrum of emotions and experiences one can have at any given time in our lives. It’d be easy for me to only present the facets of my personality or opinions that are more jolly or position me for flattery, but that’s inauthentic to me. There’s so much inauthentic personal content online (ahem: Facebook) and I don’t find it as valuable as when people share their true perspectives, without glossing it over in a sheen of happiness. This summer has definitely been an intense period of growth and self-reflection for me and my posts reflect as such. I like sharing my personal evolution with others.

      I’m an observer of humanity and sometimes the byproduct of these observations are rants and snark, ’cause dammit sometimes we humans annoy each other! 🙂 These rants are generally meant in good humor. Of course, if that humor doesn’t come across in a post, I need to work on that. 🙂

      With that said, I do have walk rage and it hasn’t escaped my awareness that there are similar mechanisms behind road rage and walk rage. I’m working on that. 🙂

      Thanks for sharing! I really appreciate your feedback!

  • Heidi
    September 16, 2014

    This girl in London agrees (except, walk on the left!!!) the tourists are the worst offenders. Even though the are signs ALL OVER THE PLACE. Walk rage definitely exists in London. (Sorry, but Americans are the worst offenders- and they can read the bloody signs-that are ALL OVER THE PLACE) Can you feel my rage yet?

    • thegirlnextdoorisblack
      September 16, 2014

      Lol, yes I can imagine the steam blowing from your ears. I get similarly frustrated when walking through parts of Union Square here. I have to take deep breaths and remind myself that I don’t want to be one of those asshole residents I run into when I’m a tourist.

      I do remember having to retrain my brain to walk on the left and crossing the street took way more concentration than it should have, lol. At least you guys have signs!

  • Laura
    September 15, 2014

    It seems simple enough, but somehow I’m only consciously aware of that rule when on a people mover or escalator. But in those cases, you stand on the right and walk on the left and I get frustrated when people don’t understand that.

    • thegirlnextdoorisblack
      September 15, 2014

      In fairness, it’s not as much of an issue in L.A. with cars being the preferred mode of travel.

  • CassieG
    September 15, 2014

    hahah, I just complained about this to my boyfriend yesterday. We live in Chicago and this makes us crazy! Funny post!

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