Wednesday, January 23, 2008


I hate it when people don't respect proper pedestrian etiquette. Among my pet peeves are people who stand on the left-hand side of the escalator, and people who don't keep to the right when going up or down stairs.

Yesterday, I had a close encounter of the stair variety. I was exiting a subway station, and took the stairs up (as opposed to the escalator). Per usual, I kept to my right. Meanwhile, some university girl starts heading down the stairs on my side - i.e. keeping to her left. Inevitably, we found ourselves face-to-face. Determined to make my point, I didn't budge. Neither did she. I motioned her to go the other way, and she did the same to me. Then I told her that I had right of way and that she'd better get out of my way. I could stand there all day, if I wanted to. I was on my way back home and had nothing better to do. She, on the other hand, appeared anxious to catch the train that was just pulling into the station. Out of frustration, she moved out of my way, but not before uttering an expletive. I fired back with my own expletive, and that was that. Stair etiquette prevailed once again!

Granted, I was a total bitch about the entire situation. I could've easily moved out of her way; however, I had a point to make. It seems to me that decent, polite human behavior is in short supply these days. This is evidenced by:

- People who make half-assed rolling stops at stop signs
- Cyclists who act like they're both pedestrians and vehicles
- Pedestrians who don't follow sidewalk etiquette
- People who feed pigeons on the street and cause them to poop all over the place
- Dog owners who don't clean up their dog poop
- People who change lanes on the solid white line on the highway
- People who dishonor the honors system on subway systems (e.g. in Germany) by not buying a ticket
- People who carelessly throw litter on the street, including cigarette butts

The list goes on and on. You see adults doing a lot of these things. As adults, we're supposed to set an example for our children...but what kind of example are we setting if we can't adhere to basic principles of etiquette and decency? That girl on the subway was either a total bitch, or she didn't know any better. Maybe a little bit of both. At any rate, we tend to emulate what our parents do when we're growing up, and if we see our parents breaking traffic rules and littering, how exactly are we as children supposed to behave when we reach adulthood? And then the cycle continues, as we become bad examples for our children.

It's high time that adults start taking some responsibility and start acting in a more civilized manner. Practice some good habits, and maybe someday your kids will grow up to become decent human beings...

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