I walk a lot. Like A LOT. On afternoons I take a break from work, go out of the building, and walk to the farthest walkable convenient store. I either buy things I don’t really need or food I don’t really crave. When visiting new places, I normally consult a map and walk. Back in secondary school, my mom paid a personal school service and the man’s job was worry where in the universe I slipped into. Every time I stepped out of school and not saw him I would walk several kilometers to our house and have tiny [mis]adventures. In college after class, I would spend about an hour walking around Robinson’s Ermita doing nothing really. So naturally I’ve always been concerned about pedestrian traffic.
Not many pay attention to how people move in crowded places. When you got EDSA and Alabang-Zapote road traffic to rant about, bringing in pedestrian traffic to the discussion would already induce suicide. But I can talk about it. And for this article I will name the types of people that one encounters when walking. Note that a person’s type changes from time to time so there’s really no point identifying oneself with a single type.
1. WHITE RABBIT
This type always has something important to attend to. It can be an appointment, an urge to empty their bladder, or their breakfast that they left cooking at home. If you’re on their way and they feel like talking, they would ask (or shout at) you to move. If not, they would walk-dash past you at 120 kph leaving either a trail of dust or a trail of invectives. Politeness is just an option. If this type were a car, they would overrun you without thinking twice.
2. POOH BEAR
I have nothing against Winnie. Also, this type thankfully knows that wearing nothing more than a red cropped top is generally not decent. However this one often stops in their tracks for no apparent reason. It can be a moment of epiphany but more often that not, it’s a bout of utter cluelessness of everything in the universe. You should always be aware of this one, there’s always a risk of bumping into them.
3. THE ROMAN ARMY
This one, unlike the first two, applies to a group. The people comprising this group—commonly noisy teens or young professionals—have a knack of walking in a certain formation and not really looking at their path to completely obstruct all other pedestrians. The noise can be tolerable; it’s normal in busy places and you can always wear your earphones. Their high tendency of getting in your way is not. They would crowd in escalator landings, elevator entrances, and major entry and exit points. They tend to ignore the basic rules. Sometimes they even turn into a group of pooh bears which worsens the situation by several notches.
4. TECHNO DRONE
The ability of this one to walk without looking at their path is either amazing or offending. They can either be using special sensors or they simply follow one rule: “You watch out for me. I don’t watch out for you.” They have a strong bond with their mobile device or gaming console and no amount of danger can break that. You will find yourself wishing for them to trip, be hit by a white rabbit, or bump to a pooh bear. Watching any of the mentioned scenarios would certainly give you satisfaction.
5. ROMEO AND JULIET
These two are either so in love or so trapped with/by each other. But I’m not here to talk about what they feel; I’m here to talk about what they do. Unless you harbor bitterness against couples, having them around is fine. That is until you get to narrow spaces. These two are like the roman soldiers of narrow spaces because they tend to walk abreast and hold hands and block everyone. To add, they also tend to walk slower than most people. The walk and stand lanes of escalators don’t apply to them. They don’t care if sidewalks are narrow. They take it as a must to hold each other’s hand and never let go and be on each other’s side literally.
6. THE FAMILY
The sight of a happy family walking in the mall is nice, especially if you are fond of little children. Until they hold hands and practically turn into a family version of the roman army. When you are being an arguably nice white rabbit, your likely reaction is to think of their hands as hurdles and jump over it. Of course you cannot do that. If you’re approaching them from the front, they would normally give way and you can pass just fine. If you’re coming from behind, the only option is to walk around them.
Walking can be healthy and pleasurable but that may depend on your level of aversion against your fellow humans. If you’re on misanthropic level, I suggest just getting lost in a book instead. Anyway, walk responsibly. -aB
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