City sidewalks

by Honolulu Mother

What kind of sidewalk walker are you?

There Are 3 Kinds of Sidewalk Walkers

I walk quickly so I’m probably a give-way type, as I need to snake through the slower walkers and the old ladies with pull-carts of shopping and the bus-stop crowds. But I do sometimes bump shoulders with that certain type of guy who walks down the middle of a narrow sidewalk and looks right at an on-comer and doesn’t move an inch to either side. I guess I’m not *that* willing to give way?

And, what kind of sidewalk behavior would you ban if you were the Monarch of the Sidewalks?

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142 thoughts on “City sidewalks

  1. Easy – I would ban tourists and people who read their phones while walking. Maybe they could be in a separate lane? Also, why do people congregate at the top the subway stairs, blocking the entrance/exit? I also can’t stand people who block the subway car entrance without even an attempt at moving to the side or allowing people in.

    Like HM, I usually walk around/give way to most other walkers, except for the super-aggressive walkers who don’t give way.

  2. We might also expand the discussion to include driving behavior.

    For example:

    Come July, motorists in Indiana will need to step on the gas or step aside.

    If they don’t, they’ll face fines.

    A new law aimed at slow drivers permits police to ticket motorists in the left lane if they hold up faster drivers behind them and don’t move to the right.

    The so-called “slowpoke” law is believed to be one of just two in country that attaches a fine to dawdling drivers in the “fast lane.”

    http://www.indystar.com/story/news/2015/06/05/crackdown-slowpoke-drivers-coming/28571147/

    I’m 100% behind this law. However, for violators I’d propose savage beatings rather than fines.

  3. that certain type of guy who walks down the middle of a narrow sidewalk and looks right at an on-comer and doesn’t move an inch to either side. I guess I’m not *that* willing to give way?

    I do that too. I sometimes signal with eye contact that I’m not going to be submissive, and if he doesn’t move, then guess what? We bump into each other.

    The worst offenders in this arena are swimmers. I could write an entire essay about the sociology of lap swimmers, since I’ve been swimming for 40 years in many different states. Public pools, private pools, YMCA pools, university pools, I’ve crawl-stroked through ’em all. And there is a certain kind of man, usually late 20s through early 50s, who thinks he must be faster than that fat gal and he’s not going to move out of my way, or share the lane, and he gets his toes bitten and his thighs kicked as I pass him by.

  4. I’m the situation based. I give way when needed to get where I want to go at my speed (usually a bit faster than the crowd). I hold my ground typically when being approached by someone is taking up more than their half of the sidewalk, especially when it is two or three abreast or a person giving their dog a long leash on a busy sidewalk for only one going each direction. I always give way to people with small children, the elderly and anyone who appears to have less control over the space they occupy.

    My sidewalk rules:
    1. Stay on your side. In my downtown area, people often window shop against the flow of traffic.
    2. No gathering in groups in the middle of the traffic flow, move to the outside. This seems to be especially bad outside of restaurants.
    3. Treat walking like driving – slower to the right, faster and passing to the left.

  5. RMS,

    I’m right there in the next lane saying you go gal.
    At my current pool, I usually get my own lane, but I hate sharing with people who cannot stay on their own side. Also those with unorthodox, unpredictable strokes.
    We could expand further to include airline passengers.

  6. I can’t even imagine the answers if all of the regulars were raised in NYC. My father actually “coached” us on how to walk in the city. He is tall, so we walked very quickly to keep up with him. I still walk this way in the city, but it is getting more difficult in some neighborhoods with the crowds.

    I would describe myself as an aggressive walker when I am in NY. I can’t stand when people block the sidewalks to take photos, use their phones, or hold hands. Double width strollers are a whole other problem. I try to make as many crosswalk lights as possible, and this is easy in midtown when the grid is timed.

    I’ve lived here for 50 (!!!) years, and I have gained some patience with age about people that walk on the wrong side, or just move too slowly. The one thing that does drive me nuts is when people stand on the escalators even though they are supposed to just stand on the right, and let people pass on the left. I think London does a great job of posting signs about this all over the Tube, but NY doesn’t seem to want to push this method. I met my friend from California in Grand Central terminal at 6PM earlier this week. She has been to NY many times, but she said she couldn’t have walked across that terminals without me. Tt is just second nature to me since it is something I deal with on a daily basis.

    I do try to adjust my style to the cities that I am visiting because I know the NY style isn’t welcome every where. My DH commented that people thought we were breaking the law in Missouri last week when we crossed against the light. It was early on a Sat morning, and we were downtown near the arch. There were very few cars, and we just crossed. It was so hot, and there was no way that I was going to stand and wait for the “walk” symbol, but most people did wait even when no cars were present.

  7. Lauren – Lately I’ve noticed three things really annoying me about midtown. Cars that block the box and then get stuck because the pedestrians are crossing with the “walk” symbol. London aggressively polices this with heavy fines.

    Related, really aggressive pedestrians who stand so far into the street that the cars can’t get through. And, clueless pedestrians (usually looking at their phone) who cross, oblivious that they do not have the right of way and then are surprised and angry that a car is coming right at them. I’m all for jaywalking opportunistically in NYC but these pedestrians are making it dangerous for everyone.

    Have we talked about bikers who don’t believe traffic rules apply to them at all yet?

  8. I have a new fitbit and have been trying to walk more during the day so have been more attuned to these issues lately. Walking in midtown is a nightmare. Wish my office was closer to the Park!

  9. I am a typical NYC walker – fast and efficient. When people block my path, I give way and walk around them because it is faster. People blocking the sidewalk by holding hands, or standing peering at their phone, or wobbling on spike heels, drive me bananas.
    The reason New Yorkers walk so fast is that they are walking to get somewhere, not to take in the sights. When I worked in the city, I had a particular train I needed to make. The walk to Grand Central was 15 minutes if everything went well. I usually could get out of work with 18 minutes to make it, 3 minutes to spare. Obviously, too many people blocking my path, and I wouldn’t make it

  10. I have been a little guilty this week, though, as my kids and I hunt Pokemons. But we are doing it on relatively uncluttered Westchester sidewalks

  11. ATM, I agree. The phones are a real problem because people are not paying attention when they’re on the sidewalks, or crossing the street. Also, people taking selfies don’t always realize how dangerous it can be when they’re moving backwards on a sidewalk.

    I was in lower Manhattan yesterday, and I had to be patient and careful when i was walking because there are just so many tourists looking up due to the WTC, new transit hub etc.

  12. Last weekend, walking from Port Authority to the Times Square station, DH and I witnessed a one of the best NY moments ever. The light changed and a throng of people crossed 8th (including us). A few cars squeaked by before the throng, mostly to block the box. This cab tried to run the light. The guy in front of us pulled the Gary Sinese from Forest Gump. Totally screamed at the cabbie as he quickly walked across 8th. DH and I agreed that we’d follow that guy anywhere in NY. Sadly, he turned off at 7th and did not go where we were headed.

    I realized last weekend that my whole demeanor changes when I’m in the City. I’m zipping in and out of people like I’m on a mission (’cause I am). I tend to walk closer to other people in isolated areas for “group” protection. I barely talk about my surroundings or enjoy my being with the people around me. Just get where I need to go. I also hold everything close to me, and rarely put my phone in my pocket for fear of it being snatched.

    It would be so hard for me to be a tourist in the City. The farthest up I look is to see the street signs.

  13. I try to get out of people’s way when I walk. I walk fast and go in a curved path to walk around those going slow.

    I also miss cues and suffer from “hallway awkwardness”

    ““conflicting role assignment,” or that that cringe-inducing game of chicken when you don’t know who’s going left or who’s going right and you end up shuffling to one side together, like some sort of unfortunate, spontaneous line dance.”

  14. ” I’m zipping in and out of people like I’m on a mission (’cause I am).”

    this is me too

  15. I am a super fast walker and so I always go around people. I will even stand really close to you on the escalator if you are standing in the middle or on the left and do not move. I also pass people on the R on escalators if they are holding on to the L side (who does this????).
    There was a recent article in the NYT about people going into the street bc there is no room on the sidewalk – I do this whenever I am in the city. Always tourists walking 4 abreast in the middle of the sidewalk!

    HOWEVER, if you are a dude who is walking down the sidewalk and not moving over, I will walk right into you, AND give you the stink eye re: not moving over. There was a study a few years back that said women are almost always the ones to give way when passing a guy on the sidewalk, so I never move over in that situation any more so as to fight the power. ;)

  16. Rhett, wow that is crazy

    “The first thing the Allens, a British family of four, want you to know about them is that they are followers of something they call off-grid parenting. This includes common, and sometimes questionable, alternative parenting practices such as home-schooling, avoiding vaccinations and modern medicine, co-sleeping,”

    no, the first thing they want you to know is about is the extended breastfeeding, or she would not have chosen this picture, does it say how old that kid is?

  17. The Pokemon people were ALL over St. Louis. I haven’t noticed it as much in NYC, but it was beyond annoying in St Louis. We saw a guy almost get run over by a car in a major intersection near Wash U because he was looking down at his phone. Some of the restaurants had Pokemon hotspot signs, and Fitz’s soda even created a pokemon soda bottle so people would walk in just to buy the soda.

    BTW, that was my first time at Wash U. It was a beautiful school. Great for walking, and a really nice campus in a nice part of St Louis.

  18. Wine,

    My favorite was: “There are also less common ones, such as “lotus birthing” (letting the placenta and umbilical cord fall off naturally) and avoiding shoes for their children.

    Not to mention with no shoes and no tetanus shots one hopes the kids never step on a rusty nail.

  19. Shudder, the baby is left attached to its rotting placenta.

    As the tissue in the placenta dies, the blood flow to these regions will gradually reduce, but microorganisms that are inhabiting the rotting placenta cannot be protected from entering the neonatal circulation via the umbilical vein, which may cause the baby to become seriously unwell or even die.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lotus_birth

  20. I don’t know which is worse – lotus birth, or those wackos who save their placenta to (a) make prints with it or (b) make smoothies out of it or (c) dry it, and grind it into pills.

    Hospital can keep the medical waste, thankyouverymuch.

  21. And never mind sidewalks — what about Costco? What is the deal with multi-generational families of six or eight all waddling (Grandma) or darting (the toddlers) or just standing there in the middle of the aisle blocking everyone else (Mom and Dad)? It’s practically impossible to negotiate the aisles with those huge Costco shopping carts even when the aisles are empty.

  22. And back to sidewalks, what about the folks with golf umbrellas who refuse to tilt them when passing?
    I agree on Costco. Also Target and the mall. The whole family going to Costco or Sams Club still amazes me. We always took the divide and conquer approach when both parents were available.

  23. Actually I would love to move my family to Costa Rica! Can I start a totebag fund me page? I promise to grow my own food! And in return for al your generosity, I can post from time to time about how the corn is coming up!
    I already vaxed my kid so it is too late on that front, but please don’t hold it against me!

  24. Our local supermarket has aisles so narrow you can’t get two carts down them at once. And there are always senior citizens (sorry, but it is always seniors) who park their carts right smack in the middle, and then spend 20 minutes trying to find their glasses in order to carefullly read the ingredient label on the canned tuna. They always seem to be deaf too, so a simple Excuse Me has no effect.

  25. One thing I miss about the east coast – people stand on the right if they are on an escalator so people can go by them on the left. In Seattle, the prevailing attitude seems to be stand wherever you want on the escalator. Drives me crazy.

    Also I recently drove from Boston to Vermont. People on the east coast were much better about only using the left lane on the freeway if they were passing someone. People here are really bad about that. Argh.

    I will say that the Massachusets drivers I experienced didn’t seem to realize their cars come with turn signals. There was a noticeable difference when I got into New Hampshire and Vermont.

  26. I think stores (grocery, Target, Costco and, of course, malls) have a certain entertainment value for some people.

    When I was young my grandmother lived with us and didn’t drive. There was nothing within walking distance for her (less than a mile) and we had no bus service, so her “big” outings were to the stores. My dad didn’t have a lot of hobbies/interests, so for him, too, the weekend shopping outing was a big deal. I HATED it, but I was a kid…two grocery stores, the local equivalent of Walmart, plus the pharmacy and bank, EVERY. SINGLE. SATURDAY. (Yes, before blue laws were repealled).

    Usually, the only times I am a casual shopper are when I am waiting – filling the time between two things that I can’t get something else productive done and not enough time to go home – and at least can stroll rather than consume a high priced coffee.

  27. MM, I once made the mistake of going to Kohl’s on senior citizen discount day. What a mess.

    Here’s my grocery store pet peeve. I pull my cart to the far right to stop and look at items. While I’m parked, some doofus pulls their cart up next to mine, thereby blocking the aisle. Then a third shopper pulls up glaring at me with an irritated “excuse me” to make me get out of the way. I always want to say”but I was here first!” Such is the drama of my grocery shopping adventures.

  28. Seattle – I am terrible about using my turn signal. I’m going to tell DH it’s because I’m from Mass.:)

    The only thing I get irritated about while driving is when drivers clearly don’t have room to clear the intersection, but drive into it anyway and then when the light turns, cars going the other direction can’t go. If I’m by myself on a sidewalk I weave to get where I’m going faster.

  29. “One thing I miss about the east coast – people stand on the right if they are on an escalator so people can go by them on the left. In Seattle, the prevailing attitude seems to be stand wherever you want on the escalator.

    Not in NYC. Folks ignore the stand on the right rule. And the first time I was in Seattle I was reprimanded when I tried to cross the street against the light. In NYC it’s a free for all — if there are no cars you cross.

    I’ve observed that mobile phones have overtaken tourists as the main culprit in NYC slow walking. I try to walk fast and adopt a kind of Zen attitude of gliding through pedestrian traffic. But it doesn’t always work.

  30. “The only thing I get irritated about while driving is when drivers clearly don’t have room to clear the intersection, but drive into it anyway and then when the light turns, cars going the other direction can’t go. ‘

    That’s called blocking the box. Maybe that’s a British term? Not sure if there is an American equivalent.

  31. In FL, I got called some very nasty names because I blocked the box. I didn’t do it intentionally (serious here). When I hit the intersection traffic was still flowing, but then stopped as I got to the far side of the intersection, trapping me in the intersection. I aimed my car to pull over behind a parked car, but someone turned into that spot from the intersection because he *had* to turn instead of letting me get out of the way.

    ATM – I’ve always called it blocking the box. I’ve seen smaller towns paint giant “X” in the box to keep people from stopping there. Not sure how effective the paint is.

  32. I just want to ditto every single thing that ATM has said. Here, we also have the issue where pedestrians block the protected bike line while on their phone and almost get run over by bikers.

    Going to the park to walk at lunchtime doesn’t usually help for me because the tourist factor is very high there as well.

    Costco – I dread when I actually have to get anything from the frozen section because the sample hawks gather there & block all the aisles. For a 1/2 taquito from a tabletop oven. I can’t take it! I try to go before the sample people come out at 11am, but sometimes I have to go later.

  33. We just call it blocking the intersection. Street signs threaten fines for doing so (and the red light cameras will fine you), but people still do it regularly. Of course, in the Loop, drivers also get screwed by pedestrians crossing against the light on the left turn signal (which is another pet peeve of mine – LET THE CARS PASS! You are breaking down the whole system. We are living in a society!)

  34. My DH always said “blocking the box” so I assume it is a NE thing? I never heard my parents even mention the concept

  35. I am right with Rockey on the swimming lane sharing issues. Has anyone tried an endless pool ? I am considering getting one installed on my covered patio to use year around as I am getting so agrivated with my fellow Y swimmers. As someone who is year by year becoming elderly and , who has both nurtured children and puppies from infancy through young adulthood I would have some of ya’ll take mercy on those who don’t have the sterling characteristics evidently displayed by New Yorkers.

  36. I tend to adjust my style to where I am.

    ATM, I was all set to tell you about William Whyte’s analysis of the city nearly 50 years ago, how it inspires urban planners today, and his comments about the “hundred percent corners” which are places like doorways or street corners that people have to pass through and where people tend to congregate. There is even an article about Brooklyn on the webpage of an institute inspired by him. It talks about the waterfront, sidewalks, train stations, etc. Then I remembered what your hisband does for a living. If the stuff I just mentioned interests you, I’m sure you get plenty of it from him.

    Rocky, German swimmers are the worst at lane sharing! There can be six or seven people in a lane and they each mark out their own tiny narrow strip. They will not circle swim or make way for anyone. Ugh!

    Lauren, that reminds me of an outing with my parents and makes me giggle at how much we were the opposite of your and your dad. When they came to visit me in Berlin, we sat on the top level of a double-decker bus, right up front so I could point things out to them. It was too rainy to all around, and the 100 bus goes past many of the things tourists want to see. It was going well until I suddenly realized that we should get off at the place we were stopping, so the three of us needed to rush down the front steps and get off the bus. Mom was in front, partway down the steps and she suddenly froze. She still shudders when she describes the guy coming up the steps, folded umbrella in hand “I thought he was going to stab me with that umbrella!” Lol. She was scared. I saw the guy as just another little impediment while moving around in urban space.

  37. I’m fairly short, so I definitely bob and weave when walking in a crowd. I am not a wispy thing, but people tend to step on me, elbow me and run into me if I’m not watching all the time. When waiting, I think I tend to give other people more personal space than average. (Like when queueing for an airport tram). Which means men cut in front of me all the time. It makes me crazy.

  38. I was taught that I should pull into the intersection to make a left turn as soon as I was able, even if I couldn’t turn yet. That way, when the light changed and I was still blocking, I would be required to clear the intersection. People in Tampa rarely do that. Can’t tell you how many hundreds of times I’ve sat behind someone at a green light who let the signals run through their whole cycle rather than pull forward and get us through T the left turn. Grrrr. Not sure how it applies to sidewalk behavior though–no one walks here, and the city isn’t set up for it. GRR

  39. SSM, using the turn signal alerts the other drivers to your intentions, so a MA driver would no more use one than Eisenhower would have alerted the Germans to his D-Day plans.

  40. I hadn’t heard “blocking the box” before — I know it as gridlocking.

  41. I would view the misuse of “it’s” in the funding request as reason enough to not fund the Crazywoods.

  42. I am not a fast walker and try to hug the right side of the sidewalk so faster walkers aren’t impeded.

    The one thing I cannot tolerate is people littering – I don’t understand that mentality! I have seen people litter not only in the streets put indoor malls, open areas of hotels, ladies rooms. I particularly hate people that throw cigarette butts and chewing gum on the ground – how rude and uncaring! I agree with Singapore where gum is illegal and I think you can be caned for littering,

  43. “I was taught that I should pull into the intersection to make a left turn as soon as I was able, even if I couldn’t turn yet. ”

    me too

    “blocking the box”

    not familiar with this term wither

  44. So I’m back from the high school. About halfway through me saying roughly my first post from yesterday, the guidance counselor interrupted to say that Algebra is not needed for high schoo. There was no need to bring up 504s, IEPs, a legal mandate to discover and reach out to disabled students or anything else. She went to the data processor and got the enrollment switched over to HS. I can pick the schedule up tomorrow. :DDD

    I hadn’t said anything about this to the kiddo, because I didn’t want to interrupt the online course before I knew it wasn’t necessary. So when I made the surprise announcement, my kid leapt into my arms, so excited, smiling and nearly in tears. I mentioned later that this was the Totebag’s idea. “Oh, then thank the Totebag”. I do thank you all, from our whole family.

  45. Congrats Emb!!! You and your kid deserve whole cookies tonight! (and maybe a bottle of wine for you?)

  46. Emb. – followed along yesterday, but when you got so much great advice, felt no need to add my 2 cents. I do want to congratulate you though. That is fantastic news!

  47. Rhode, this kid has refused to take any time off for fun, so we are going to do it all! Whole cookies, water parks, movies, maybe a musical, maybe a trip to the beach, whatever, just tons of fun and hitting “refresh” to be ready for the new school year.

    I just hope the need to call for help immediately when there is a problem is now clear to this child.

  48. I was taught that I should pull into the intersection to make a left turn as soon as I was able, even if I couldn’t turn yet. That way, when the light changed and I was still blocking, I would be required to clear the intersection. People in Tampa rarely do that. Can’t tell you how many hundreds of times I’ve sat behind someone at a green light who let the signals run through their whole cycle rather than pull forward and get us through T the left turn.

    It’s the same in Denver. People just don’t get the concept.

  49. I walk fast, clutching my purse to my body, legacy from growing up in a big city. I don’t wait for the walk sign either. I am however cautious when I get in my car. It was hard for me to drive in MA because I wanted to follow the road rules but other drivers couldn’t wait to honk their horns.
    Here, it is a smaller place with more patient drivers.

  50. “I HATED it, but I was a kid…two grocery stores, the local equivalent of Walmart, plus the pharmacy and bank, EVERY. SINGLE. SATURDAY. (Yes, before blue laws were repealed).”

    Whoa did this bring back memories….we didn’t do quite that much shopping, but it was all concentrated on Saturdays because of the blue laws and our one car/one driver family. No one seemed concerned that the kids didn’t find such errands to be enriching. Though it was fun to paste all of the green stamps in the books.

  51. Emb, that’s great news.

    NYC used to have very strict rules about blocking the box. Major intersections in the city still have the lines to designate the box, and you’re not supposed to enter the box or you will get a ticket. I don’t want to turn this into a political discussion, but this is just one more thing that has gotten worse with the new mayor. There used to be huge fines for blocking the box and creating gridlock, but I don’t think the city is on top of this as much now.

    I DO think that you can ask people to stand to the right on busy escalators in NYC. I see people storming up the left and saying excuse me until the people get the message. This is especially true in the long escalators at the Path and stations like 53rd. People are rushing and I’ve seen some NYers be quite pushy about getting people to stand on the right. I don’t see it any where else though except busy transit stations. People just stand anywhere on the escalator.

  52. Great news, Emb! I wonder why the middle school was jerking you around? Or were they just being incompetent?

  53. Emb – I’m really happy for you both. I hope between now and the start of school he can get his math mojo back a little. Have fun!

  54. “Oh god Rhett, that slowpoke law is perfect! I too vote for lashings as punishment!”

    And a speed trap just around the bend from where the slowpokes are pulled over.

  55. “Hospital can keep the medical waste, thankyouverymuch.”

    Did you bank Baby Rhode’s cord blood?

  56. And a speed trap just around the bend from where the slowpokes are pulled over.

    Highways don’t need speed limits if people observe proper lane etiquette..

  57. ATM I’m up to Season 5 now, moving slow through them because it annoys DH

  58. I watched it when it aired, but not from season 1, I started watching it around ’03

  59. Has anyone been watching The Night Of… on HBO? I don’t usually like crime dramas but I’ve been completely sucked into it. I noticed that James Gandolfini is listed in the opening credits as Executive Producer. Apparently, he was supposed to play the defense attorney before his untimely passing.

  60. Yes to Longmire, The Night Of, Narcos! Also catching up on Justified. Really enjoyed the first season of Bloodlines on Netflix, but the second one has been a little slower to grab our focus.

  61. I think bad pedestrian etiquette is mainly due to two factors: cluelessness and rudeness, both of which have roots in self-centeredness.

    Another factor is that the ‘rules of the road’ for pedestrian traffic aren’t well defined, and vary from place to place. E.g., we were in Japan recently, and in some train stations the stairs were marked to indicate staying to your right, and in others they were marked to stay to your left. Others weren’t marked, leaving us wondering which side to stay on.

  62. DH was once pulled over for going too slow in the left lane. The cop gave him a lecture. I think he was listening to some engrossing performance on the Classical Music station.

    Emb – Glad it worked out. What the Totebag did was let you know that something was wrong with this picture, and it was external to you and your kid – some sort of “failure to communicate”

    I can walk NY style when needed. What is difficult now is that DH can’t walk very fast and he still tries to practice the disregard of signals and signs from his youth. I actively slowed down and said hi to people when I was walking in DC last week. Felt a little strange.

  63. Yesterday and today there were two people from the ACLU, trying to get people to sign a petition. Most people just walked past in a hurry after departing their offices. However, today one guy decided to stop and try to engage the two young people with the clipboards in a debate. He just wouldn’t move on. They couldn’t get rid of him and the other passers by were rolling their eyes at him.

  64. I was going to say that I am enjoying The Night Of, but it’s not exactly enjoyable since it is so tense to watch. It is very good though.

    @Finn – I think you are right about cluelessness and rudeness. This is why the sidewalk hogs who refuse to move even after they see you are enraging while the tourists walking slowly and blocking the way while taking photos are merely a little bit of a nuisance. (one that cuts my property tax bill).

    @Meme – DH gets really freaked out when we travel to places where strangers say hi and/or wave to you on the street. He finds it really unnerving.

  65. “DH gets really freaked out when we travel to places where strangers say hi and/or wave to you on the street. He finds it really unnerving.”

    DH is that guy–he says hi to everyone. People usually don’t say hi back, unless they know him. I chalk it up to the fact that he’s from the Midwest, which seems to be filled with unnaturally friendly people.

  66. Embarrassed, I’m happy for you and your kid. I’m going to celebrate a little for you tonight. :D

    Although I sometimes become annoyed with slow walkers, I try to be sympathetic toward the old and/or disabled. I’ve been there and will likely be there again.

  67. I’m almost done with 4th season of Orange is the new black, and I think I’m going to check out this new HBO show because I really like crime dramas.

    I read the Nightingale months ago, and I still remember the book. I really enjoyed it. I liked Risley book.

    I just finished the The Two Family House by

  68. A former colleague who moved here from NYC was unnerved by people who attempted to chat with him in the elevator at work in the morning. I say hi to people, but both my kids are very friendly to store clerks and random people they encounter.

  69. I just finished The Two Family House by Lynda Loigman. I really enjoyed the novel, and I think this is her first book.

  70. “DH is that guy–he says hi to everyone. People usually don’t say hi back, unless they know him. I chalk it up to the fact that he’s from the Midwest, which seems to be filled with unnaturally friendly people.”

    Haha, when this Midwestern girl moved to the big city of Berlin, forgetting not to make eye contact got her mistaken for a hooker.

    Wine, for some reason, your comment about “Silver Bells” just kicked in. Now I’m probably going to hear that song all night!

  71. Does the laundress still come here or is she more of an irregular? Finn, you’ve already made that pun before, so drop it. ;)

  72. “Highways don’t need speed limits if people observe proper lane etiquette..”

    Oh yes they do, Rhett. Unless you can keep your car from bouncing off the retaining wall and into my lane, or over the top of the retaining wall into incoming lanes one needs to control speeds. Similarly with spins and roll overs in a monsoon. If you can spin out or roll over in your own lane, I’m perfectly fine. I just don’t want to run into you or have you land on top of me. I also suggest that speed limits might be useful to keep entitled drivers from literally running into people in front of them who may not yet have the time to get over.

  73. The elevator at work is full of chatty people. Also the gym I go to. I’ve made friends this way. Eventually you chat so often with the familiar faces you find out you have something in common. That being said, on the sidewalk or hallway I will not move out of the way if I feel the oncoming person is taking up more than their fair share of space. Don’t push me around.

  74. DH is a very aggressive driver. I had gotten my license but no experience so I tried driving with him as my driving buddy. It was such as disaster. We would argue all the time. I decided to just go out on the road myself slowly without him.

  75. ATM, traffic here can be so non-aggressive that it presents its own dangers. There is also zero lane discipline, to the extent that I wonder if most people here have even heard of slower traffic sticking to the left.

  76. Lauren – thanks for the book recommendation – I just added it to my list.

    Have you read the Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker? It came out a couple years ago. I just read it and really enjoyed it.

  77. I am in a major airport walking down the concourse while reading your most recent comments. I’m also posting while standing on the escalator. You’re welcome.

  78. ATM – I loved The Nightingale too. The book haunted me for weeks.

    Emb – have fun with your kiddo! So glad you got a break.

    My pet peeve are the People With A Cause who set up shop at the entrance/exit of the local grocery store. I can’t go shopping without being accosted by someone trying to raise money for scouts or a sports team, or trying to get signatures for some ballot initiative or other, or some such. I just want to enter and exit the grocery store in peace.

    My DH actually engaged one of these folks a few weeks ago. There was a woman at the entrance to the grocery store trying to collect signatures for a proposed Massachusetts ballot initiative to get rid of Common Core. My husband, the teacher, is all for Common Core, so he asked this woman what CC standards she found objectionable. She could not even name a single Common Core standard. Sigh.

  79. “I’m also posting while standing on the escalator.”

    Standing to the side to allow those in a rush to walk up past you, I assume.

  80. There is also zero lane discipline, to the extent that I wonder if most people here have even heard of slower traffic sticking to the left.

    No wonder it’s so screwed up there – slower traffic is supposed to stay to the right.

  81. “My pet peeve are the People With A Cause who set up shop at the entrance/exit of the local grocery store. I can’t go shopping without being accosted by someone trying to raise money for scouts or a sports team, or trying to get signatures for some ballot initiative or other, or some such. I just want to enter and exit the grocery store in peace”

    I always just pretend that I am on my phone. The ones that really bother me are the sports teams that are not even from my town and the teams, scouts, etc. where it is the parents and not the kids soliciting funds.

  82. I use the phone ruse as well. That doesn’t work with the checkout clerks who ask if I want to donate $1 to the charity the store has chosen as its current Worthy Cause. I always say “not today!” very politely, but I hate that the clerks and customers are put in that position because someone at the Worthy Cause persuaded the store’s corporate management to participate. If the store wants to contribute to the Worthy Cause, why can’t they do it with their own money rather than mine??

  83. The clerks don’t really care one way or another, but what fun it is to tell the kids tagging along with you at Petco that no, you don’t want to spend $1 to help a homeless pet.

  84. I sometimes donate to those. If I don’t, and I think my kid needs to see an example of charity or compassion, then I make sure to mention other contributions to him later. “Oh, look at this trinket your grandparents have. They must have donated money to A Good Thing”

  85. There are people who speak to strangers in elevators?!?

    I thought that only happened in TV commercials.

    When I lived in Manhattan, I didn’t even speak to my neighbors and coworkers in the elevator, unless it was a coworker assigned to the same case.

    Don’t get me started on Massachusetts drivers, although sometimes I wonder whether it is really that they are that bad at home, or if it is just that they are usually lost when they drive here.

  86. “Have you ever noticed that anybody driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac?” — George Carlin

    I’ve been walking around my neighborhood in the evenings, and greeting others who are out and about depends on the circumstances. The serious looking runners or walkers with headphones are usually non-communicative. Most other strollers like me will greet each other. Occasionally I’m been greeted by folks sitting on their porch, which can be startling because I usually don’t see them until they speak out. The people out watering or gardening are usually friendly. I usually nod to everyone, and I only wear one earbud so I have a better chance of hearing cars or other hazards.

  87. Our local supermarket participates every year in a fundraising drive for a charity that is extremely near and dear to me. They have lots of photos of kids up around the store – and I often know some of the kids (though that is happening less and less these days as we get farther away). My own kid was photographed for the fundraiser when he was very small, though his picture did not get used. And I know where the money goes and have seen some of the things that were purchased by money raised. I always liked the way the store used to do the fundraiser – you bought scratchoff tickets and could win silly things like a free yogurt (and there was the chance of winning money too). So whenever I was in the store, I would buy 3 tickets for my kids to scratch off. It ws fun for everyone.
    This year, the store changed to format so that you give $3 and get a coupon book. The coupons are stupid, and once you have the book, there is no incentive to give another $3 (though I do). I am guessing this is cheaper for the store, but it saddens me.

    And of course, since I am enthusiastic about that fundraiser, I then feel like I have to give the $1 at the other store for the diabetes cause, and the $1 for the hungry homeless animals at the pet store, and the $1 to fight hunger in the community at yet another store. Oh well, I just see it as a tax substitute – the money is needed for these various causes, and if the government can’t help out because our taxes are low, then we just have to pay out the money at the cash register.

  88. There is one guy, middle aged who has been sitting in the area outside my office for years now. The regular office goers acknowledge him with a nod of the head.
    There is a couple (young people on their 20s) very decent looking who were approaching people asking them for money. When the girl approached me, I gave her the look and she walked away. Like the Crazywoods that Rhett posted people can lead whatever life they want. I work and pay taxes to cover a range of services including indirectly supporting people who want a life of leisure. Just don’t ask me to Go Fund your leisurely life on top of that.

  89. “Did you bank Baby Rhode’s cord blood?”

    Finn – nope. They take it from the umbilical cord, and Baby Rhode’s was the size of a shoelace. The whole thing needed to go to pathology to make sure everything was OK. Poor guy also had a genetics panel run on him before he was 24 hours old.

    Ah drivers… this morning I got cut off while on a curve. Wheel turned to the right and hitting the brakes jerked me around a bit. I love when people don’t look.

    I give the $1 at Petco. And when DS gets old enough to beg us to give the $1 at every store, I’ll probably tell him he’s got $5 to give to charity throughout the month, so to spend wisely. When it’s gone, it’s gone.

    I find the recreational sports teams to be the pushiest panhandlers outside the store.

  90. Charitable giving…as I’ve said before we run it like a business, deciding how much we’re going to give in total and then splitting it among several causes that are important to us, this year roughly:
    30% Church
    30% Kids’ school
    20% Our grad school
    15% split between our undergrads
    5-10% for what comes up (direct appeals from neighbors / kids / nieces & nephews for walk-a-thons, etc.)

    I also give a relative pittance to United Way thru work which is directed to the town food cupboard. Small amount, yes, but the amount I increase it every year is > double the raises I’ve been getting lately so no bad feelings.

    This set up makes it easy to say no to all the e.g. “check-out-hunger” appeals at the register.

    of note, it’s the last year we’ll have a kid at the school after 11 total years there, so what’s important in our charitable giving could well change. I doubt we’ll eliminate our giving there, but it could well be reduced and something else substituted for it.

  91. I was in Chicago recently for a dinner at one of those trendy restaurants in a marginal edgy neighborhood. They had valet parking, but we got there during a torrential downpour so fierce that more sensible drivers without urgent restaurant reservations had prudently pulled to the side of the road to wait it out. A guy appeared with a huge golf umbrella at my door, saying that he didn’t want the lovely lady to get wet. He admitted upfront that he didn’t work for the restaurant, and asked for some money because he was hungry. DH gave it to him without hesitation. Despite the storm, the restaurant was packed, so he probably made out very well.

  92. “And when DS gets old enough to beg us to give the $1 at every store, I’ll probably tell him he’s got $5 to give to charity throughout the month, so to spend wisely. When it’s gone, it’s gone.”

    That is a brilliant idea in so many ways.

  93. What my kids ask me for is the specific donations their schools request. So, it could be pantry goods, school supplies, household items. I hate this because of course these things are due the next day. If I can, I will give from what is at home, otherwise it is a trek to the store. The schools also come up with “bring three items every Friday”. After the first few times these efforts go by the wayside because no one, the kids, parents or teachers can keep up with it. Next time, I am faced with a request like this, I will ask the principal to think through the logistics before making such a request.

  94. I think the reason there are so many appeals for a dollar here, a dollar there, and all for a good cause* is because so many people give nothing and so many others have no real giving plan so, combined, those people are willing to part with small amounts frequently making the appeals successful. (there’s also the peer pressure of not wanting to seem hard-hearted to the people in line at the grocery store).

    *excepting the club, i.e. non-school affiliated, sports teams, where my opinion is the players’ families should foot the bill, AND the sponsoring organization should be squirreling away a small portion of everyone’s participation fees to (help) fund the truly needy who want to participate but cannot afford it — Little League does this.

  95. Rhett – I want to know how that case turned out…

    I love how they all think Redwoods aren’t fast growing trees, that they won’t get ridiculously tall and wide.

  96. COC – I think strolling in your neighborhood is different from walking in a downtown/business district/more crowded area. We definitely say hello to people in that context, even if we don’t know them and only recognize them vaguely.

    I feel no guilt at saying no at the cash register to the appeals, but I do give sometimes depending on the cause/my mood, etc. Once I gave an excuse about how I give directly & then I realized that no one cares, so I just say “No, thank you.” I really cannot stand the people who accost you on the street in tourist areas. “Do you have a moment for Greenpeace/The Great Lakes/The Children?” NO, no I do not. And I am most definitely not giving you my CC information in the middle of a busy street. They are very aggressive. Those people I just blatantly ignore even if they get in my face.

  97. Thanks Louise. The only money that has been wasted so far is on the dry ice treatment versus ordinary rat poison. And when you buy a condo, up front you understand that there are certain group responsibilities. There is no way I would ever take on the additional costs of a private home AND sign away my absolute right to use my land as I wish. I prefer drying many items on a clothesline, and gardens with edible items, and those are usually regulated.

    A five day vacation does a lot for one’s perspective and elevated blood pressure. Things have been quiet so far. Today’s job is clearing out the rest of the ground floor for DD’s arrival next week.

  98. Stories like the one Louise posted are why I refused to buy a house that was part of an HOA.

  99. “And I am most definitely not giving you my CC information in the middle of a busy street. ”

    Phone solicitors hate me. I don’t trust anyone and ask specifically for them to mail me stuff. They never do. And I do feel bad… I want to support our local PBA and their children’s sports teams, but I don’t recognize the number as the local police department non-emergency line. And we just got notified that the local PD’s number was “phished” (I guess) so that caller ID would tell you the PD is calling, but it was a scammer. How does the PD expect me to believe it’s really them??

  100. The constant phone calls asking for money are what make me really nuts. Firefighter and police associations are the worst culprits. Sometimes i wonder if they are legit. I know in some towns in the midwest, firefighters will stand in the middle of busy intersections, stopping all the cars asking for money. That is really annoying.

  101. “excepting the club, i.e. non-school affiliated, sports teams, where my opinion is the players’ families should foot the bill”

    Do you consider school sports teams to be a good cause? Worthy of your support?

  102. When a neighborhood kid comes around selling a coupon book / card for $15 to support his/her HS sports team, I’ll buy one. Their parents probably bought from my kids for the same thing in the past, so it’s just part of the circle of life. But for me to do that, it really needs to be the kid at my doorstep, not a horde in front of the grocery store. And, really, if it’s club hockey/soccer/softball, the answer is likely to be no unless I/we know the kid/family.

  103. “I never give money from phone solicitations and can’t imagine why anyone would.”

    Because they are good-hearted and honest people who think that everyone else is as good-hearted and honest as they are. Or they are older and lonely. Or suffering from some mild cognitive impairment. When we were sorting through my MIL’s mail upon her return home from rehab, I found a letter from a purported police/fire charity asking her to pay up on her telephone pledge.

    What I can’t stand are the robocallers who call my cellphone. I hit “block this caller” every time, and there must be 60 numbers on that list.

  104. MM, I have seen firefighters standing in intersections with boots. But they were collecting for some local children’s charity, not themselves.

  105. *excepting the club, i.e. non-school affiliated, sports teams, where my opinion is the players’ families should foot the bill, AND the sponsoring organization should be squirreling away a small portion of everyone’s participation fees to (help) fund the truly needy who want to participate but cannot afford it — Little League does this.

    Around here, unless a kid plays on a non-school affiliated sports teams, they likely won’t make the school team and if they do make it, won’t play. I prefer to support the club sports that aren’t run by crazies, there are some. The school teams already get my tax money.

  106. “When a neighborhood kid comes around selling a coupon book / card for $15 to support his/her HS sports team, I’ll buy one. Their parents probably bought from my kids for the same thing in the past, so it’s just part of the circle of life.”

    That’s not the case for me, so I guess I’m not part of the same circle. Both my kids’ participation in sports was funded by us, either directly or via our tuition payments. I’ve never felt bad about not supporting sports teams.

    “The school teams already get my tax money.”

    Do you consider this a worthy use of your tax money? In particular, is funneling of tax money to sports teams that are not open to everyone (i.e., teams that are not no-cut) worthy of tax funding?

    We had to confront that question several years back, when the DOE was so strapped that we had Furlough Fridays. During that discussion, a local sports hero who now lives in CA visited here, and on a radio show mentioned that he paid fees to cover the costs of his kids participating in school sports teams.

  107. Do you consider this a worthy use of your tax money? In particular, is funneling of tax money to sports teams that are not open to everyone (i.e., teams that are not no-cut) worthy of tax funding?

    It depends. If there is a chance for everyone who wants to play, to play, in jv, varsity, intramurals, I think it is ok and reasonable to fund the teams with taxpayer money. If they opportunity is only for a select few who have the resources to train year round, no.

  108. Back to the Ellison dispute story, I found it interesting that a humanities prof could afford a $6.9M house.

  109. Well, after all, AP classes are funded by tax dollars and they’re not open to everybody.

  110. I found it interesting that a humanities prof could afford a $6.9M house.

    Family money. Lots of humanities professors have family money. It’s why they could indulge in being humanities professors.

  111. Well, after all, AP classes are funded by tax dollars and they’re not open to everybody.

    Yes, AP classes are funded by tax dollars, but there are often open to everybody. Haven’t you heard about differentiation?

    And everyone can/has to take English, Math and history. It just seems to me there should be an option at a public school to play a sport, just like there is for everyone to take a math class.

  112. Oh, I agree with you, Cordelia! Even InMyDay™ I thought it sucked that sports became so insanely competitive by 8th grade. You had to prove you were striving for the Olympics or you just couldn’t play. There should be more low-key intramural teams, at the very least.

    Haven’t you heard about differentiation?

    Apparently not.

  113. “Yes, AP classes are funded by tax dollars, but there are often open to everybody. Haven’t you heard about differentiation?”

    I thought calculus classes were only available to those on the calculus track, and that many kids fell off that track or were never put onto that track in the first place.

  114. “Family money. Lots of humanities professors have family money. It’s why they could indulge in being humanities professors.”

    That was my guess too, although I also considered the possibility that his wife was the primary earner in the family, and also wondered whether family money came from the wife’s family.

  115. “And everyone can/has to take English, Math and history. It just seems to me there should be an option at a public school to play a sport, just like there is for everyone to take a math class.”

    Most schools offer/require PE.

    But I agree in general. I can see schools siphoning tax dollars to school sports teams if participation in such teams is considered PE, but funding levels should be commensurate with that purpose.

    My kids’ school allows some PE credits for participation in interscholastic sports. DS planned to join a team to obviate the need to take PE and give him the option to take more electives, but discovered that practice times conflicted with other ECs in which he wanted to participate, and also that PE classes were not considered academic and thus did not preclude him from taking a full complement of academic classes. So he took PE instead, and discovered that those classes were largely populated with the non-jocks (most jocks got out of PE via school sports participation), and was pleasantly surprised that he had fun. DW and I appreciated that he ended up realizing sports, in the right context for him, could be fun.

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