Uncomfortable New Social Phenomena

There is what I believe to be a relatively new to the Westcoast and very unpleasant social phenomena going on that I am not at all comfortable with; people who walk towards you and do not move aside or make any effort to go around you who therefore walk right into you.

My Sweetheart and I were at Granville Island today with the girls in our back-pack

Granville Island Sockeye
Granville Island Sockeye

carriers (never take a stroller to Granville Island!) and it happened time and again, people would walk right into me!


There is no reason for them not to see me, I am closer to 300 pounds than 200, and I am over six feet tall with a shiny shaved head. You can’t help but notice me especially when I have a 30 pound toddler screaming on my back.

At first I was making every effort to dive out of the way. Side-stepping around all sorts of people, old and young, male and female, every ethnic group was walking into me. Then I thought, what the hell is going on around here? Why am I doing all the diving out of the way of all these ignorant prats? Screw you.

However, rather than just walking into and over someone I came up with a more creative solution. Now when I see someone walking towards me and it becomes obvious they are not going to make any move to accommodate the fact that there are now two people who require passage on the walkway, I make an abrupt stop and a hard turn to the right. And then stand there looking off to the side as if I am deep in thought.

Bam! They are so thrown off their game that they are forced to sidestep around the mountain of a man and child that is suddenly standing there in their way. Works every time.





4 responses to “Uncomfortable New Social Phenomena”

  1. Caitlyn James Avatar

    omg! This is one of my bug bears (what does that mean anyway?)

    I especially notice it when I walk to work at the time that the students are heading toward the middle school. There will be 3 or 4 of them crammed together across the sidewalk coming toward me. The first dozen times I moved over and walked on the wet grass without even thinking – and then I got militant. There is no way this 50-year-old woman with properly greying hair is moving out of the way so 4 sassy 12-year-olds can continue their conversation! Since then I can’t count how many times they have walked right into to me!! And, rarely an apology.

    Luckily for them they also don’t say anything negative, they just keep going. Any attitude on their part and I’m sure they’d be listening to my less forbearing side telling them about sidewalk etiquette. I like your strategy but it might work best with a backpack of toddler helping to take up space? Maybe I’ll try it next time.

  2. Christopher Avatar

    Try being 5’7″, 175, with difficulty making eye contact.
    I must admit they do seem shocked by my “Hey, I’m walkin’, here!”
    And I must admit to having once shifted my steel briefcase just enough to catch an assailant just where I wished.

  3. Wendy Avatar

    I especially love it when people do this to me while I am pushing a stroller. A 90 lb stroller (counting the two girls) that does NOT manuver very well, and I am not willing to push it onto the road or grass to get out of someone’s way.

  4. Liam Lux Avatar
    Liam Lux

    No Kidding…

    I’m really beginning to believe the new provincial slogan should be: “BC, Where It’s ALL About Me!” It’s like an entire populace of spoiled only children who never learned to share. Not even the sidewalk.

    My favourite: trying to get off the Skytrain while people waiting to board stand stock still directly in front of the doors. There’s no thinking going on, just a herd of cow-like morons who don’t think hard enough to realize that if we can’t get off the train, they can’t get on. My new strategy for this is to loudly address the group with: “Can we PLEASE get off the train?!?” Simple but effective. They generally cower and move, as passive-aggressive British Columbians do whenever directly confronted.

    As for the walkers, I have more fun with this: I hold eye contact (whether they do or not) and walk straight at them until we are both forced to stop, face to face. Then I wait for the perpetually inevitable PC/BC “Sorry”.

    To this, I reply the same way I do every single time a stranger utters those words to me these days: “For what?”, I ask. And wait for an answer. It stops them cold. If they have no explanation I point out that they are not actually sorry, then, are they? If they do, I usually tell them no apology is really needed and that they should stop walking around feeling so uselessly sorry all the time.

    I am so sick of hollow apologies that I think it’s high time we call people out for them. If they want to endlessly apologize, then we should demand explanations to go with their insincere attempts at making false amends for being self-centered spoiled jerks.

    I do. It’s fun. Try it.