The Rage Virus

I’ve always suspected there was something wrong with me and now I have a name for it: "intermittent explosive disorder!"

But seriously, this article about sidewalk rage fills me with even more rage because it’s totally biased toward the slow, oblivious and meandering as if that’s the norm and standard we should all adhere to. It’s commonly accepted, even indicated with signs in some places, that you stand on the right on escalators. Just like driving in America, slower people should walk on the right, and the faster can pass on the left. Not rude, very simple. Only elderly, disabled and maybe foreigners should be exempt. No mercy for texters of any persuasion. (I’ve started checking email on the way to and from the gym during lunch when I work from home and only do it when no one’s around me and put my phone in my pocket when I get close to pedestrians and I still hate myself for it.)

I possess 12 of the 15 bullshit traits of Pedestrian Aggressiveness Syndrome (according to a University of Hawaii researcher)

•    Having denigrating thoughts about other pedestrians
•    Walking by a slower moving pedestrian and cutting back too soon (feels hostile or rude)
•    Feeling competitive with other pedestrians
•    Acting in a hostile manner (staring, presenting a mean face, moving faster or closer than expected)
•    Feeling stress and impatience when walking in a crowded area (crosswalk, staircase, mall, store, airport, street, beach, park, etc.)
•    Walking much faster than the rest of the people
•    Not yielding when it's the polite thing to do
•    Walking on the left of a crowded passageway where most pedestrians walk on the right
•    Muttering at other pedestrians
•    Bumping into others
•    Not apologizing when expected (after bumping by accident or coming very close in attempting to pass)
•    Making insulting gestures
•    Hogging or blocking the passageway, acting uncaring or unaware
•    Expressing pedestrian rage against a driver (like insulting or throwing something)
•    Feeling enraged at other pedestrians and enjoying thoughts of violence

I would never intentionally bump (if you’re taking up more half of a normal-width escalator, not a single-file one like at Essex-Delancey, and I brush you in my puffy parka while walking past and you’re standing, that is not a bump) someone, hog passageways or make gestures, but a bump did occur this morning. I guess I was raging? A woman got in front of me and I let it go even though I could tell she wasn’t going to keep pace (being competitive is a sign of Pedestrian Aggressiveness) but it wasn’t so bad because she was an escalator walker who went to the right. I went to the left as usual. I was gaining a bit too much on her and there wasn’t really enough space to pass politely so I eased back to stay behind her diagonally. Fine. But then she got a few stairs from the top and just stopped and stood in the middle. My momentum made my bag bump the back of her legs, which was not on purpose. I felt a little guilty but did not say sorry (another sign of Pedestrian Aggressiveness Syndrome) and rushed around her and beat her through the turnstile and made it to the stairs first, doing a little bit of a cut off (two more glaring violations).

Such a shocking amount of rage before even starting my work day…and so invigorating. When I read prescriptives like “…someone blissfully free of sidewalk rage may still be frustrated, but thinks more accepting thoughts such as, ‘this is the way life is sometimes’ or, ‘I wish that slow person wasn't in front of me.’” I want to punch someone in the back of the head and bruise them with my bag and knock them down, maul them and eat their flesh—oh, sorry, I’m typing and watching a show about fearless coyotes bred with wolves who are killing teenagers in Canada. Also, every time I flip through channels, 28 Days Later is on.

Leave a Reply