I admire what you’re doing. Or at least, what I think you’re trying to do. Cultivating a peaceful mantra is a worthy goal. Smell the roses, I get it. It’s a respectable way to live, for all sorts of reasons. Optimizing sidewalk functionality is not one of them.
You see, there are many many people – let’s say thousands, tens of thousands – trying to use this very sidewalk today. There’s you, there’s your friends from the Coalition Against Caffeine, the Anti-Running Association, and the Group for Long, Sustained Chewers. There’s the people who physically cannot move their legs faster because they’ve nearly used up their given stride allotment (and for that reason, are excluded from the group of slow-walkers this letter is addressing). There are the people who, for reasons this letter cannot get into, would not even know they are walking if you asked them point-blank. And there are literally thousands of other people after that. Yes, that includes me.
Me, the person trying to get someplace very important right now, but if she wasn’t, would otherwise be incredibly calm about her day. Honestly. Like, more calm than you, but still considerate enough to not subject the entire Lower East Side and a large portion of commuters to a 10-person pileup. Yeah, I know we’re on a sidewalk, not a highway. But trampling deaths don’t just occur on Black Friday.
I know what you’re about to say next. That the sidewalks are for the pubic and you have just as much right to use them as anyone. Well, you are right about that; but I can’t be the first one to point out that just because you have the right to eat cookies doesn’t mean you can hoard every other cookie around you, preventing them from being enjoyed or used to make it to a boss’s dinner party on time. I really can’t imagine what you’re getting out of this walk anyway. All you seem to be looking at is the backs of heads belonging to people who’ve just cursed you under their breath. How about a treadmill, pal? Take a cab up to Central Park? I WILL PAY YOU.
But if I can’t convince you to get moving, then please, pick a side and stick there. And don’t yell at me when I accidentally brush against you because I’m not able to contort my body into Cirque de Soleil positionings in order to get around you.
You can be a slow-walker or you can be a jerk. But you cannot be both.