Some Spacial Awareness, If You Please

12 Dec

I know I’ve been a little quiet lately but I blame the fact that I have been working like a crazy person. I also blame the amount I have been working on this massive cold I have come down with. It is epic. Seriously, I woke up yesterday and my snot was the color of a locally sourced organic egg. Orange. It was horrifying. I guess this is what you get for working regularly in 3 different bars, and occasionally working in two bars in one day. And then working the following night in bar number 3. You just end up coming in contact with all sorts of nasty things. Dirty glasses, people who blow their noses and then leave the tissues on the bar for you to pick up and lots and lots of one of the dirtiest thing out there: money. I touch a lot of money. And when I don’t put a small piece of fruit or a glass with some water near my register I end up licking my fingers a lot to get the change. I touch the money and then lick my fingers and then touch the money again. I can actually taste the grime. I don’t even want to know what kind of shit I am putting in my body on the regular. Probably the kind of shit that gave me the cold that I now have. Probably the kind of shit that caused me to have snot that resembles a box of Crayola crayons.

Anyway, not the point. The point is spatial awareness. I have been noticing recently, and I don’t really know why this is surprising to me, that people have absolutely no idea that they do not own whatever piece of ground they happen to be traveling over. I get it. This is a city inhabited by a huge number of self-involved pricks but if ever there is a time to think communally it is when you are traversing the grid. Or when you are traveling on the bus or subway. There is a finite amount of space, people. You gotta share it. So I decided to compile a list-like thing with some of the areas that could use some, er, improvement. And I am sorry for the quality of writing here. I blame the aforementioned snot infestation of my brain.

1. Umbrellas

Back in the day when MySpace was a thing that non-musicians used, I wrote a blog all about proper umbrella courtesy. I think about that blog often, mostly every time it rains and I almost get my eye poked out with someone’s mishandled golf umbrella. A size of umbrella, by the way, that has absolutely no place in a city like New York. I just feel as though the sidewalks are only so big and when your umbrella takes up the whole thing so that other pedestrians are forced into the street where they are likely to get soaked when a passing car plows through a puddle well, that’s a problem. And I get it, buying an umbrella from the “UM-brella, UM-brella” guys on the corner seems silly since those things last two, maybe three good rains but at least they leave space for the rest of us, ya know? I would take an UM-brella toter over a golf umbrella person any day, even though sometimes one of the prongs on the UM-brella is sticking out at an odd angle, making passing the UM-brella person a bit, er, treacherous. I fear for my eyeballs when it rains, I really do.

Since I am on about umbrellas, I have a few more little things to mention. There are some times when having your umbrella open is simply unnecessary. One instance that comes immediately to mind is when you are walking underneath some scaffolding. Scaffolding is like an umbrella, in that it blocks the rain from falling on you, only it is shareable in a non-awkward way and made of wood. There is no need to double up, folks, because when you do other people, people who maybe left the house without an umbrella and haven’t gotten a chance to buy a new one, are forced onto the street where they inevitably get wet. And there you are, safely walking under not one but two devices keeping your precious clothing bone dry. It just ain’t right.

And one other thing, when you are walking down to the subway or up from the subway, put your umbrella down. Especially if you have a golf umbrella. I know it sucks to get a little wet but come on. When you have a golf umbrella you are the only person that can fit on those narrow subway stairs because you are carrying a huge, unwieldy felt weapon that could blow in any direction at any time, splattering passers-by with rain droplets and maybe, just maybe, skewering an eye or two (are you sensing a theme here?). I have missed more than one train because some asshole with an oversized umbrella blocked the entrance to the subway and I was none too pleased about it. None. Too. Pleased.

2. Strollers

You guys, with the strollers, come ON. I honestly think, and correct me if I am wrong here, that double-wide strollers should simply be outlawed in New York City. In a perfect world we wouldn’t have to have such a law on the books because people would have enough sense to get those like stacking strollers, or the kids-facing-each-other strollers, but no. People in this city INSIST on the double-wide which, you know, takes up the entire sidewalk and then those people act inconvenienced when the stroller doesn’t fit in a store, or isn’t allowed in a restaurant. If your stroller can’t fit comfortably through a normal-sized doorway, then you shouldn’t be using the stroller. End of story.

Then there is this other thing that I have been noticing recently. On more than one occasion in the past few weeks I have noticed a dude walking down the street with a stroller, seemingly taking his child on some errands, or for some fresh air, or whatever it is that parents with kids do which I imagine is not that different from some of the things that I do only I do my things unencumbered by anything other than a shoulder bag. But here is the kicker: instead of walking directly behind the stroller, he walks behind the stroller and to the left, pushing the stroller with his right hand. He is not doing this so he can walk alongside the stroller and have a conversation with his kid which would still be annoying but at least would make sense. He is just casually walking down the street, paying the kid no mind, and meanwhile taking up the entire sidewalk. It’s like, dude, it doesn’t matter how far away you walk from the stroller we all know the stroller, and the child it contains, belongs to you. And if that is embarrassing to you for some reason, get one of those damn Bjorn things and give the rest of us some damn space.

On a side note does anyone else find it sort of off-putting when people go to the store without their kids but with their strollers and put their grocery shopping in the stroller where the kid would normally be? I am sure there is a reasonable explanation for this – the parent dropped the kid off somewhere and decided, since they already had the stroller in tow, to use it for other things – but it always gets my mind running. Makes me feel like I am in the middle of some horror film. Like, this kid got kidnapped and the parent never leaves the home without the stroller just in case she runs into the kid on the street even though the kidnapping happened like 15 years ago and the kid wouldn’t even fit in the stroller anymore if the kid was to turn up. Dun dun duuuuuuuuuun!

3. Hand holders, butt pocket hand-putter-inners, waist encirclers, etc.

Let me just start off by saying these two things: (1) I am not one of those angry anti-relationship, anti-PDA people who gets offended by people proclaiming their love for their partner, or their appreciation for their friend; and (2) I, personally, do not like hand-holding but that has nothing to do with this particular entry in the list. This is all about the space. Because what I have noticed, and maybe I am wrong, is that when people are holding on to another person in some manner or another they tend to amble along rather slowly. I’m no speed walker or whatever but I, like most New Yorkers, have a rather brisk gate. I might not have anywhere that I have to be at any particular time, but I will get there at a decent clip, ya know? I don’t actually mind a solo ambler, but it does become a little difficult when amblers attach to other amblers and they then create this impenetrable fortress of amble. Then you have to either slow down to their pace (well, I never!) or else step into the street and risk being run into by an overly aggressive cycler who may or may not be riding on the wrong side of the road. Treacherous.

4. Scooters

In the interest of full disclosure I need to make this one thing clear: I despise scooters. Oh man they make me so mad. I know that this is unreasonable but it’s a fact. So this paragraph will be dripping with disdain. Just so you know. Don’t take it personally but I hate your scooter and when you are on it, I hate you a little bit also. (Kidding. Maybe.) I think that adults look ridiculous on them and, honestly, if you ride a scooter as an adult you should ride in the bike lane along with the people riding respectable modes of transportation like bicycles and skateboards. As for kids on scooters, well that’s a whole other thing. Kids on scooters are my second worst New York City transportation nightmare, just after riding on a train with a bunch of middle school students that just get let out of class for Christmas break or some shit. Kids on scooters are a force to be reckoned with. They go so fast and a lot of times they don’t really know how to control their scooters and it’s like this horrible game of chicken only they are wearing helmets and you are not. Take one scooter-powered helmet to the hip and you’ll understand my concern. That’s a bruise.

I just actually had this flashback. So there was this girl in high school who got one of those rolly backpacks. She was this little slip of a thing and she was taking ALL of the classes so she always had so many books and she put them in her backpack, only it wasn’t really a backpack it was like a rocket-powered travel suitcase and the “rocket power” came from her, running full speed through the hallways so she could get the best seat in class. That’s what I always figured, anyway. I was always a little annoyed by her until one day, on my way to class, she ran right into me! And I fell down! In the hallway! And she didn’t even apologize, she barely even stopped, she just zoomed off down the hallway to class. I was furious. So what did I do? I wrote an article in the school newspaper about the perils of getting to class in the age of rolly backpacks. I am pretty sure I got called into the principal’s office over that one because this one girl was the only one in the school that had such a backpack and the principal thought it sounded like a personal attack, which it was, but it was too late because it was already printed. Rolly backpack girl knocked over the wrong spiteful writer!

By the way, I take some comfort in the fact that my disdain is at least consistent.

5. Gaggles

I like to travel in a good gaggle just like the next gal but when gaggle traveling it is important to be aware of the scope and size of your gaggle. A gaggle takes up more space than a duo, or a trio even (trios being problematic because of the odd-numbered nature of the crew), and so it is good to break off into groups in an effort to share the sidewalk.

Okay, you guys, I actually don’t encounter gaggles all that often I just really like the word. Gaggle, gaggle, gaggle. It’s so fun. And, yea, it is annoying when you see a gaggle and you have to go around them but whenever I see one I always just giggle about the gaggle and it makes the slight inconvenience of passing them by totally worthwhile. Hopefully I will see a gaggle today. I could use a good gaggle giggle. Actually, just typing “gaggle giggle” did the trick.

 

This post brought to you by my snot-infested brain. You’re welcome.

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