Victoria Meldrew

It’s time to admit that I suffer from a very 21st century condition.  I’m not sure if it officially exists, or if anyone else suffers from the same condition.  My problem?  Pavement Rage.

Ok, so this isn’t my usual ILT-related post.  More a rant I suppose.  But today I noticed just how angry I get with other pedestrians.

I decided to walk to work today.  It’s about a mile and a half, it’s all gently uphill, and it’s about time I started getting fit again after a lazy and slightly Bacchanalian summer. (Can you be ‘slightly Bacchanalian’?  Isn’t that an oxymoron, like ‘friendly fire’ and ‘Microsoft works’?)  A couple of months of far too many vodka-based drinks, cheeseburgers, pub meals, rhubarb crumble ice-cream cones and slobbing in front of The Jeremy Kyle Show have left me feeling flabby and my jeans feeling a little tighter than they did 3 months ago.  I’m wandering into the realms of giving you far too much information (FTMI) and I’m digressing.  Walking to work today was the most irritating, frustrating and foolhardy journey I have made since I walked home from work yesterday afternoon and here’s why.

We’re all cocooned in invisible bubbles of self-absorption, and this morning that meant that, because I had to keep walking into the path of two way traffic for a variety of reasons, I ran the risk of being run over several times.  So (adopts Sir Jimmy Saville voice) guys and gals, here’s this week’s Top 4  of things I noticed that gave me Pavement Rage today:

  1. People walking towards me two or three abreast who wouldn’t temporarily re-arrange themselves and walk single-file while I was trying to pass them – so I had to step into the road to get around them.
  2. Pedestrians shambling and shuffling up the hill ahead of me so slowly that I thought they may be making Shaun of the Dead 2.  I looked around hoping to see Simon Pegg or Nick Frost…but to no avail.  Again, as I didn’t want to meander to work myself, overtaking meant stepping into the road.
  3. People tacking haphazardly across the pavement and back, their unpredictable path meaning that in order to overtake I had to…yes, you guessed it…step off the pavement.  Or to just get past if they were bobbing towards me.  And in every instance, the directionless meandering was caused by much concentration on mobile phone screens and frantic tapping away at miniature keyboards and no thought to where they were going.  I wonder how many accidents have been caused by people just wandering into roads or over cliffs through mobile phone fixation?!
  4. People dropping their children to school and parking on the pavement, so as to allow the road to remain clear for other drivers. Guess what I had to do to get around all the 4x4s lined up o the pavement of Charlestown Road?  Yep – step off the pavement…which is for walkers, not drivers.  (It’s like those rare, sunny days when non-smokers hog all the smoking areas outside pubs, then glare at smokers who come outside for a fag.  Especially if they’re eating.  You wanted us outdoors!  You segregated us!  Don’t use our designated area and then have a go at us for being where you sent us!)
Yep. I know, I know:  I sound like ‘Disgruntled of Chorlton-cum-Hardy’ and will now start ranting about the youth of today and how there are no manners shown in public anymore…but this seems to go deeper than that.  Plus, age doesn’t count, as there are as many guilty parties of pensionable age as there are people under 25.  So why is nobody aware of anyone else anymore?

I could blame technology (to a degree) and our newfound reliability on it 24 hours a day:  I’m always hooked up to my iPod, but even when yodelling my loudest rendition of Morrissey’s Last of the Famous International Playboys I’m aware of other people, vehicles and wildlife on the roads / pavements, and adjust my speed / direction accordingly.  I don’t use my phone when walking (unless it rings) because I’m terrified of wandering off a cliff.  If I’m with someone else it’s automatic for one of us to drop behind the other when faced with oncoming pedestrians. So are we all now so self absorbed that we simply don’t notice anything anymore?  Or, more worryingly, so self absorbed that we do notice other people…but don’t give a toss about them?

Scary thought…oh, and normal service will be resumed next blog entry…

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