Wednesday, May 2, 2018

The mean sidewalks of London

Leye - Every other Wednesday

By Boeing720 - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

Couples who hold hands while strolling on the sidewalk. Tut, tut, tut, tut.

Here I am, walking and thinking, trying to come up with a witty dedication for my new crime thriller, and right in front of me, a criminal duo committing their great crime in full view: lovers holding hands, taking up the entire side-walk, travelling at the speed of their favourite love song.

Why do people do this? Why do they think this is ok? Have us humans not evolved beyond such criminal selfishness?

I’m left contemplating how best to deal with this abuse of societal norms. Do I cough? Do I brave the road to sidestep them? Do I ask them to ‘excuse me’? What do I do? I should not be here, stuck behind their love, unable to carry on with the frenzied pace of my life. I should not be watching their clasped fingers and hoping they’ll do the right thing and unclasp without me having to nudge to do so. But there I am, and there they are, ahead of me, holding hands, occupying the width of the side walk, and… Wait. What is this? Is that a swing I see? Hell no. No way. Now they’ve gone too far. Held hands I can bare – for a few seconds, but to swing it in my face? What effrontery!

I went for the slap-feet-hard-on-pavement routine. You know the one. Classically followed up with the ‘Oh, it’s ok’ look as they turn, see you, and quickly unclasp and form a line. A very British way of exchanging and handling micro aggression.

It’s not that I have something against people so in love they need to cling on to each other, it’s just that I have something against people who place their love above the need of other people to get from A to B at a very London speed. We walk fast. I suspect that like me, we all need to get to a toilet fast.

Handholding couples are not even the worst offenders when it comes to breaking sidewalk etiquettes. No. They are just as bad as the selfie-stickers, I’m-in-too-much-of-a-hurry jostlers, and phone map walker-checkers. And just a smidgen more annoying than the quick-shortcut-on-the-pavement bicyclist, but they are no way near as annoying as the worst offender.

The worst offenders when it comes to not using the sidewalk in an emotionally intelligent way are the parent with kids attached to both hands and spread out to take up the entire sidewalk. I think this parent should have their children taking from them. What are they teaching these kids about the way the world works? And why are they exposing such young children to so much danger? There are pyschoes out there who take sidewalk etiquettes seriously.

You’d expect that the dog walker would make my list, but nah, their dogs drag them off so fast you don’t get enough time to be upset at the length of the leash. They’re generally fine – until the canine decides to mark a spot and its electrolytes snake across the pavement ahead of you.  The dog poo bag is not enough; dog owners should carry a mop and bucket when they’re out walking their over pampered pets. Better still, the dogs should be trained not to pee in public. If I have to hold it in while stuck behind a hand holding couple, so do they.


  1. Dear Psydewok Psycho,

    There's less to life than your many manias. Learn to focus on the One, cease slapping your soles and start soothing your soul, slide on the side and walk with the one, and you'll have won the wonder of life.


    HC (Happy Clam)

  2. I agree that kids should be banned from pavements until they are old enough to pay taxes. In my country dog urine is much less of a problem than human urine....and that goes for London too! And the worse pavement pest is the mobile phone witterer - speed up, slow down then a dead stop so you slam into the back of them.... or the faithful hound does. With its low centre of gravity, it takes the witterer out at the knees. And we both trot on, looking for a legitimate place to empty her bladder.

  3. In South Africa the worst offenders are the minibus taxis passing the traffic jams. As the saying goes, if you can't stand the pace, stay off the pavement!

  4. In New York City no one seems to care or notice who’s doing what. It’s more a chaos theory of moving through the crowds