Of Musings and Wonderings

{March 3, 2013}   The Pedestrian Problem

simpsons_beatles_pedestrian_wallpaper_-_1024x768As a warning, this is going to be a bit of a rant. A rant that has been building up for a long, long time.

I work 8am – 5pm, which means I’m usually in Cardiff before the rush hour of any form of transport, including pedestrians. Saying that, even when I did start at 9, getting in the same time as everyone else heading to work wasn’t too bad. We’d all be there for the same reason, after all, usually heading the same direction from the train station, and all walking at pretty much the same pace to get to the shop before work or get straight to work with some time to spare to browse the internet before the day began.

Over the last two weeks, I’ve had to go back and forth to the doctor’s for jabs. Six jabs in two weeks. Luckily, my team leader was very understanding about me having to come in a few hours late to work. (Most of the jabs were around 8:30, with a couple about 9:30.) So I was usually getting into town after 9am.

The trains were blissfully quiet. But once I got out of the station, almost every day I was reminded of why I hate people.

Firstly, let’s start with before even getting to the doctor’s. On my way, I have to pass a small post office there solely so people can pick up any packages they weren’t home for. This place has a ramp and stairs leading up to it, so the pavement is very thin. Which is fine, unless you have a number of people coming one way while you’re trying to go the other. So, the other day, I got there and there was a trail of people with prams on the pavement. No problem. I stepped onto the road.

And not a single one of them smiled or even said ‘thanks’, not even the guy who almost hit me with his pram. It wasn’t the stepping off the road that I minded, it was just the sheer lack of manners. Just past this there’s some scaffolding up, and, again, difficult to get past if there’s someone coming the other way. Once more, I was confronted with a parent with their kid in a pram. Again, I slid onto the road and stood by the skip as she went past. And, once more, not a single ounce of manners was shown.

Skip forward to getting to town. Tesco is on my way to work, and it’s there I stop off to grab a drink to see me through the day, and cigarettes, when needed. I finished at the till, and turned to leave. There was a group of women in my path, one with a pram and the other with a small boy, who was standing right in the middle of the only place I could really walk. As a note, if you want to stand around and chat, do it outside. In the middle of a shop just means people are going to be constantly trying to get past you. And the mother of the boy made no effort to get him to move when she saw me coming, none of them made any effort to make any room, and when the boy did move (just slightly) there wasn’t even a “sorry!”. Jesus bloody Christ. I know for a fact that not all parents are like this, but the ones who are really deserve to go to lessons designed to give parents manners. Like, you know, please make sure your children aren’t sitting on the floor playing in the middle of a shop. Or that a quick “thanks” is always a plus when someone moves out of the way for a trail of you.

You know, simple stuff. Like me saying “thanks” when someone opens a door for me, or “sorry!” if I find myself in someone’s way.

To cut this short, here’s a few other things which I can’t help but find incredibly annoying when on the pavement –

  • Groups of people moving slowly, taking up the whole pavement (sidewalk, if you’re American.)
  • Standing around chatting right in the middle. Seriously, just move to the side.
  • Either of the above, glaring at people moving past because they’re trying to catch a train and get home.

There’s another aspect during my daily commute to and from work that annoys me, too, and I’m sure there are plenty of rants about this all over, but seriously, if you’re on a busy train, why are you sitting on the non-window seat? It’s pure ignorance, especially when it means other people have to stand. The next one is worse, and it came up the other day.

I managed to leap on my train right before it pulled off, and ended up getting blocked by a whole load of people just standing near the doors. I get on at Cardiff Queen Street, and a lot of people on the train are getting off at Central. These people standing were getting off at Central, but because they were blocking the way down, I couldn’t get to any of the empty seats past them. And while standing there, I noticed a man reading a paper, sitting on a four seater, with a huge bag next to him on the empty seat.

I’ve been watching The Last Leg on Channel Four (it’s brilliant – check it out if you can) and to quote some of my favourite Adam Hills rants on that, if you do any of the above you’re being a dick.

Stop being a dick.

Okay, rant over. Thanks for putting up with it. And, while we’re at it, anything about dealing with the public – in any way, shape or form – really get you worked up? Feel free to rant in the comments below.


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