Tuesday, August 27, 2013


Same as it ever was.

Who can obstruct, these days, better than Americans? In saying that, I mean the prevention of basic, everyday access to the right of way or the prevention of progress on a sidewalk. “Get outta the way!” you may think (or bellow). Let’s take a look at 10 frequent violations of the kind, in hopes that just one violator will recognize the error of his or her obstructions.

10. You Saw Me Jogging. I know this because our eyes met. Unless you suffer from Oppositional Jogging Perception Disorder, you could’ve concluded that I might like to keep running without breaking stride. Yet you saw fit, at the last moment, to obstruct my path. Not only that, but you unleashed Bitchy-Face. Other than its normal swerve, the earth—didn’t move. It’s called side-walk for a reason. Your side and my side. Eh?

9. The Couple Who Can’t Be Parted. You’re so in love that, to walk single file for three to five seconds, to unglue your hands, would be a violation of everything that Republican Art has taught you. But hey: I’ve got news. Temporary separation will help you prepare for the trauma—should your love crumble. Oh, I don’t mean to suggest that you’ll split up. You might stay together—you, your partner, and your Crumbled Love.

8. Escalator, Part 1: Stopping at Top. Every American should be taught a course in Basic Physics of Everyday Conveyances. The escalator is a Continuous People Delivery Machine. It will continue, that is, to deliver people. So, if you pause at the top (“Gee, where am I, America?”) the escalator will, by the sheer genius of its automated mission, continue to mash people into your dorsum. Can you just take, like, three steps forward?

7. Escalator, Part 2: Standing to the Left. The course in Basic Physics of Everyday Conveyances will also contain a module entitled, Some People Like to Walk Up. These people will pass you, on the left. Unless, of course, you establish yourself on the left, and cannot be budged. What are you doing over there, anyway? Thinking about beef? Beef and cheese? Beef and cheese and bun? You could do that thinking—to the right!

6. Tipping the Scales (Plus). No, really, if people don’t start to demonstrate a little more restraint at the buffet, the economy will slow, and slow, until there is little (if any) commerce. How so? Will anyone be able to get anywhere on time? Will there not be substantial—human—obstacles to ordinary ambulation? “It was not automobile traffic or poor weather or Act of God that made me late for work but Third Party Obesity, again.”

5. Baby Carriages Seating Two Toddlers Abreast. You could’ve chosen double decker bus perambulator, you could’ve chosen stretch limousine perambulator, you could’ve chosen Winnebago perambulator with trailer hitch, you could’ve chosen motorcycle with sidecar perambulator, you could’ve chosen two perambulators and enlisted crony to push one but no, you’ve pinned me between hydrant and tree and dookie of dubious origins!

4. Dog Walker Allowing Loose Leash on Multiple Pooches. Adding yet another canine to the ruckus of canines you already cannot manage just seems like the next logical step in the Choose Your Own Adventure version of your life. In one possible ending, the dogs run circles about you, until you’re bound by yards and yards of gentle leader. In another ending, you must survive, huddled in the gutter, by feeding on a peanut butter Kong.

3. Texting While Walking. Your phone says R U there? It asks Where R U? R, it goes, U 2 biz E? But you’re trying to go three hours, okay, one hour, without texting. Your phone vibrates again, a text, in your pocket. U H8 me, it says. A moment later, you’re not only reading, but twiddling a reassuring answer, when you step into the global warming doggie water bowl set in front of the gelato store. ‘Victim of attack!’ you text the texter.

2. Driver Halfway through Intersection Metered by Stop Sign. Why stop at all? I mean, I get it—you want to act like a thug, at the helm of a 5,000 lb hunk of machinery versus a pedestrian (me) who offers 168 lbs of opposition, even as I have chosen to let you motor on through. The sign shouldn’t say Stop. No, it should read “Go Halfway Then Crawl But Not Before You Project Wimp Menace To People You Have Never Met.” 


1. Unnecessary Bicyclist Passing Language. The bicyclist said, “On your left.” Then he said, “No, no, on your right!” Then he said [Expletive] as his bicycle crashed into deep foliage or rocky stream. He was not obstructed. He just couldn’t bike and say “On your left” at the same time, so he created a hindrance, a hindrance of the mind. It’s vaguely amusing that his little dinky bell went “ding ding” as his Schwinn punctured the hedge.

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