Please be a kind walker this Christmas. (Pic: supplied)
Please be a kind walker this Christmas. (Pic: supplied)

There’s a place in hell for bad walkers

THERE are two types of walkers in this world: those who do it well, and those who inflict abject misery on everyone else around them.

They look at their phone without pause. They dawdle. They walk three-strong across the path with their best mates, chatting, laughing, completely oblivious to the world of frustrated people around them.

They walk directly into you, sometimes while looking at you, their eyes silently trying to explain that they are completely unequipped to manage the situation unfolding or even understand why avoiding touching strangers on the street at all costs is the most basic of human ambitions.

They hide in plain sight masquerading as good walkers until suddenly, without warning, and for no apparent reason other than to make those behind them come perilously close to falling over, they stop. Right there in the middle of the footpath. To add insult to injury, they look truly shocked when you do make contact with them, as if they were learning for the first time that there are others in this mystifying outside world around them.

They are the people who have already done their Christmas shopping and do not care that you still have presents for your mother-in-law, sister-in-law, niece, nephew, stepmother, boyfriend, dog and sister's new boyfriend that you still can't remember the name of still on your list of things to get before your parking ticket hits the $50 mark.

They have prams and primary schoolers by the dozen and they're trying hard to wrangle this human zoo into a cohesive unit, but no matter how many promises of McDonald's are made, they cannot. The footpath is lost to their pint-sized monsters.

They hold the hand of their beloved and walk around without a care in the world. They need not their phones in their pockets or the dating apps that previously occupied them because they, world, they have found love. And they're happy for everyone desperately trying to get home two minutes earlier than usual to know about it.

They stare up at buildings without bothering to engage in the commonly decent act of stepping to one side of the path before coming to a halt. 'We are on holidays,' their body language screams. 'Can't you see? We're wearing leisurely slacks and reef shoes; we have shopping bags aplenty. The real-world rules do not apply here for us in this moment.'

They are seemingly oblivious to the huffing, puffing and aggravated masses gathering behind them and overtaking at breakneck speed whenever a sliver of an opening on the footpath appears. That keeping left is a sacred vow one should say to oneself whenever they're preparing to step out onto the footpath. So naturally, they pause to take a selfie.

They are what Baby Boomers are to the real estate market - pedestrian crossings and concrete cement are their highly sought after investment property that boast 2.5 bedrooms and stunning views of the city.

They are not here for the calories being burned; not here for the free commute home.

And they are certainly not here for the likes of you or me.

In a way, it must be freeing to be so utterly switched off.

I myself, am a model walker. An Ayrton Senna on foot, if you will.

Head down, route mapped out in my head, runners on. Sure, I occasionally look like Terminator on a mission to kill - I have places to go and coffee to drink, people. But for me, the footpath is not a place of leisure, but rather a means to an end.

Or at least, that is of course unless I'm looking for a podcast to listen to or travelling on a holiday or heading out for brunch with my boyfriend. And if I've already done all of my Christmas shopping or want to show a friend something I saw on Instagram, well, then don't mind me, I'll just be dawdling along the footpath, taking up valuable space right in the middle before stopping for a selfie.



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