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The 10 Worst Walkers

If you live in New York City or any other urban metropolis, you've surely come across these great offenders: the bad walkers.
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If you live in New York City or any other urban metropolis, you've surely come across these great offenders: the bad walkers. Whether they're slow, they're smokers, or merely children, they all have one thing in common: they're in front of you and are in your way. I've narrowed down the copious deviances from Walkers' Law into these 10 simple types, each with steps on how to defeat/avoid them for walkers of all skill level. Next time, don't be left on the street without this helpful guide.

You're welcome.

10) The Sex and the City four-abreast giggling gaggle

Okay, we get it. You're all friends, you loooove New York City, and especially... shopping! But goddammit, you're taking up the whole sidewalk, blocking oncoming traffic and people wanting to pass you and your giggly, high-heeled asses. It was annoying when it was on HBO and it's even more annoying when I'm trying to get somewhere. And Christ, who really wears Manolos on streets filled with trash bags and discarded flyers? So un-chic.

How to avoid

Usually you can easily pass this group on a narrow-escape basis when there's no one coming from the other direction. You must visualize the window and seize the opportunity the second it arises. Do not hesitate, or you will be forced to listen to Gossip Girl banter for another three blocks. If you are walking with someone else, you must silently communicate that one of you will go first, then the other; four is too many across for each of you to pass on either side at once. It is every man for himself in a situation such as this.

Level 1: Once you are past the group, do not look back at your walking partner, but quicken your pace until you are safely past their squeals. He will catch up to you in time.

Level 2: As soon as you are ahead, resume your original pace, forcing the group to stop short, and as they are most likely linked by their arms and are teetering atop overpriced, wiggly heels, you will witness a sweet panic that can only come at the expense of rich tween wannabes. The euphoria of amusement is worth the twinge of consciousness alone.

9) Couples.

There's something about emotions that make you walk slower. Perhaps it's the feeling of "love" or something else imaginary that supposedly "lifts people out of their heels," and with gravity working against this force to keep them on the sidewalk, their steps become lighter and smaller, or so that's how I imagine it. Whatever, I don't need you oodling each other on my commute. I understand we live in a multi-tasking world, but kissing and holding hands and all that "couple" stuff just creates a barrier keeping me from walking through you and knocking you out of your silly, PDA nonsense.

How to avoid

Your escape is similar to that of the SATC group, made easier by the fact that there's only two people, but worsened due to lip-smacking noises and other displays of happiness that may affect your already established hatred towards everyone and everything. Proceed with caution.

8) Tourists

Every year, thousands upon millions of tourists flood the major cities of the world, including New York, to eat at the same chain restaurants they have at home and take pictures of enlarged, lit-up advertisements. They bring with them their children, their tens of hundreds of extra pounds, and worst of all, their slow-walking habits. There is no getting rid of this yearly epidemic, and so regular city dwellers must learn to cohabitate during these stressful summer months until the sweet release of autumn approaches. Thanks for your money, now kindly go back from whence you came.

How to avoid

Stay away from Times Square, Herald Square, Union Square, or any other "square" until August. For all European destinations, stay away from anything old and historical. If you live in Venice, move. Capice?

7) Children and the elderly.

This is a tough subject to broach, because if you say anything against these two groups, you have no soul. But still, they hinder the gliding nature of your movement, and it must be addressed, though with more tact than the other groups, cuz that's my Nana you're talkin' bout.

How to avoid

Level 1: It must be said that you must exercise patience. However, you are allowed to sigh or roll your eyes only once, just enough to communicate your frustration and readiness to hurry the eff up, but not enough to come across as overtly rude. An ideal walker will simply ride it out, perhaps sharing a wry anecdote with said elderly or child, but let's be realistic here.

Level 2: Have children or become old and teach youngsters such as yourself the value of patience and that life is precious and nothing is more important than where you need to be at that exact moment. Hahahaha just kidding.

6) The Racer

Here is where we enter a series of specific pattern "types." Surely you've witnessed them all, such as this first one, "The Racer." Imagine walking on a street and someone has just turned on from the corner, or is attempting to pass you, but is no match for your outstanding pace. Then, my friends, you enter into an awkward race, in which you step in and out of pace with this stranger so that it appears that you are walking together when that's the last thing you want to be doing, and all you can focus on is that this person is in your peripheral and taking up space in your personal cube. What's a walker to do?

How to avoid

Level 1: Slow down. They will pass you and then you can resume your pace when they have gained enough length on you. Or simply turn the corner and take another route.

Level 2: Backing down is for pansies! Speed up, breaking into a run if you have to. You had a hard day and you'll be damned if this Wall Street bozo passes you up. Shouldn't he be in a taxi anyways? The nerve of some people.

5) The Edger

You're walking along, obeying the rules of the road (yes, they apply to the sidewalk as well), when all of a sudden, bitch is trying to cut you off! You try to pass, but as you angle yourself to one side, she steps in your path. You step out further, so does she. Ultimately this leaves you walking a bit too close to a bodega, a pile of garbage, or worse, the street.

How to avoid
Here is where walking is like a game of chess: you must strategize your moves ahead of time. If you catch the early signs of an Edger, you can outsmart them and begin walking around them the other way before it's too late, for your dignity and sanity both.

4) The Stopper.
Perhaps the most common and most annoying. You're walking along when all of a sudden the person in front of you stops out of nowhere. Curse their lack of common courtesy, or common sense, given the street and level of foot traffic, but you must learn how to avoid this unsettling behavior.

How to avoid

Level 1: Like driving, remain two paces behind people when walking in case of a short stop.

Level 2: Fuck that, run into the turd. That'll teach him.

3) The Zigzagger.

Similar to the Edger, but more dangerous in that the Zigzagger cannot make up his mind about which way he wants to go, so you are forced to enter a dance in which you switch constantly from side to side, looking for an opportunity to pass, all the while the bum in front of you is oblivious to your frustrated sidewalk foxtrot.

How to avoid

Level 1: See above.

Level 2: It's risky, and takes some practice, but just walk straight and hope that you dodge the line of fire. And should you miss, they ran into you. Jerk.

2) The Challenger.

Also known as "The Chicken," this happens when you are passing someone and facing an oncoming pedestrian, or are simply walking on your side no less, and someone starts walking directly at you. Not slightly to one side, dead straight on. What ever to do?

How to avoid

Level 1: High road. Pick a side and stay on it. Don't zigzag and become the thing that you hate. Unless they pick the same side you do, then:

Level 2: Don't move a damn inch. He'll back down. And if not, dude's an idiot, cuz he just ran into a walking person.

1) Anyone below 14th Street.

I don't know what it is, but something happens once you get beyond Union Square. I don't know if it's something in the air from too many hot dog vendors, or the misdirection of part of the city existing off the grid, but people simply forget how to walk in this Bermuda triangle of pedestrian. And the farther downtown, the worse it gets. This isn't conspiracy, it's just fact (blame it on the skinny jeans; they have to hinder movement). Perhaps other cities have an equivalent area, but for New York, lower Manhattan is the 9th circle of hell in the city's Divine Comedy.

How to avoid

These walkers embody each and every walking offense listed, making them the most dangerous of all, and the most difficult to overcome. Navigating lower Manhattan takes a disciplined and practiced skill only exercised by the most advanced walkers. I highly suggest aggressive training in other densely populated areas before venturing downtown, using the tactics above. Otherwise, prepare for a train wreck of hipster shops, tourists, and strollers.

Don't say I didn't warn you.