Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Road Rules

Some rules and general guidelines to walking in New York:
(or anywhere really, since we should all know this stuff)

A lot of the rules of the driving road apply to the sidewalk. 
One immediate problem you could identify is how few New Yorkers ever take a driving exam. So those rules, which often seem common sensical, are elusive to many. Another problem is that like the gorgeous English language, there are many exceptions to the rules. Let's review.
Slow on the right, passing to the left:
Picture it: You're late for work and would like to move quickly through the crowd. You end up having to dart left to right, back and forth through people because they don't seem to recognize this very basic premise of the road. 
Slow movers, I don't begrudge your speed. You have every right to move down the street like a slug. Go slow. But can we just all agree that the slow movers should stay to the right, so the people in a hurry can glide by effortlessly to the left? 

Unless, of course, we're talking about that 12-18 inch space at the edge of the sidewalk behind the phonebooths and parking signs... That space is sacred. It is reserved for the people that know about it's secret passageway potential, like those incredible boxes on the Clue board that will take you to the opposite side of the "house" instantly. It's the unofficial passing lane on a busy street. Sadly, I had to abandon using this magical portal when a stroller became part of my daily routine. But it must be respected and well tended, so don't crowd it with your parked bike or your sh!tting dog... we gotta get by!
Don't stop short: 
Did you forget to turn the oven off? Didn't realize you were headed east and not west? Suddenly realized you don't tell your husband you love him enough? Doesn't matter! Unless you are stopping because you are suffering the late stages of a coronary and are stopping just before you fall to the ground in cardiac arrest, there is no reason not to gradually move to the side. If a car stops short, the cars behind it will (and have every right to) plow into it from behind. Short stoppers, you are no different.

Check your blind spot before changing lanes:
*In this example the lanes are the imaginary parallel strips of each sidewalk that we all deserve to walk in uninterrupted and unobstructed. In fact, many blocks of this beautiful city help by paving actual lines into the cement. If you need a reference point, just stick to those lines. And if you're going to move to the side, check over your shoulder first to make sure no one is cruising along in your blind spot.
As in, two moving things headed directly towards each other... Something's gotta give.
Pull over to text or email:
The author should note that a good many points of this post were originally documented while walking, but I can assure you it was all done in the most efficient way possible. I never blocked anyone, walked into anyone, stopped short, veered off my course, or kicked a dog. And that's all true except for the last one, but he was tiny and jumped in my way. Which brings me to my next subject...
Dogs - but moreso the walkers of dogs:
Can the owners/walkers of dogs please agree to be more aware of your tripping hazard, AKA leash. If I walked around with a limbo stick at the ready, I would be conscious of the pitfalls it may present to other walkers. A leash is even more dangerous because it is thinner, lower to the ground and further out of our sight range. Obviously a limbo stick is way more fun as it tends to come with Calypso music or the song "Hot, Hot, Hot." But since there are way more leashes than limbo sticks, leash etiquette is what we need to work on.
Now, I think that dogs peeing on the streets is a questionable concept to begin with. It seems strange to me that you actually have to teach a dog to pee outside. Why not just teach them to pee inside? Why should they not be forced to learn what some humans and all cats know?
In any case, the outdoor peeing continues. Please keep it as close to the curb as possible to avoid those naturally occurring streams that flow from a building-side puddle all the way across the sidewalk towards the curb. No one enjoys walking or rolling through those little yellow babbling brooks. They don't even help wash away the remains of the poos that get "mostly" picked up. Not that I want people to stop picking up poos, I just wish the scoop could be more up and off than scraped across. 
Ok, that one has nothing to do with driving rules, but I feel better getting it out there.
Keep your wits about you:
The truth of the matter is, we don't solely walk in straight lines. By keeping your wits about you, you can better zig when someone else is zagging... even though zagging may be a ridiculous course for them to plot. Having a clear sense of where you are in relation to other walkers helps prevent crashes and also allows for overly dramatic behavior when a "zagger" is passing so that we may roll our eyes, throw our hands up in surrender, or whatever sarcastic act of superiority we care to use on that given day. 
If we all used the driving rules for walking, it would make for a much nicer experience out there. Of course our "accidents" aren't nearly as dangerous or costly, but the point remains the same: Let me get where I need to go, as fast as I need to get there. Stay out of my way. Go wherever you're going and I will stay out of your way. 

Simple, right?

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Where do we go now?

So... here we are.

I am standing on a crowded street corner and there is a dead rat at my left foot. To my right, a boisterous man waving a pamphlet in my face is screaming about some "crazy bitch." To the average person, this scene is fairly daunting, yet I am merely observing. Where is my gag reflex? This rat is missing body parts for the love! Where's my sense of outrage? My disgust? Did I ever have that squeamish reaction to it all? The answers lie in the simple fact that I am a New Yorker. An interesting bunch of people, we are completely desensitized but also quite sensitive. We are super focused, making us blind at the same time. We are observant to the point of being too clever. We are cynical but love laughing at ourselves and others. For one reason or another, certain things just don't rank on our scale of outrageous. Dogs and people relieve themselves on our sidewalks. It is what it is. We are who we are.

To be here is to live it. To live here is to own it. I own it. We all do. Welcome to our fair city. Help yourself to the best food, nightlife, art, people watching and more. Have a good look around. Stay forever if you want. But if you're going to walk around, please respect our way of life. Walking is our primary method of transport, unlike many other places, so I can see why it's not always second nature to everyone. Walking is sacred here, so I'm going to have to ask those who don't understand that to please not f#$% it up for the rest of us. I am happy to set some rules and guidelines if that makes it a bit easier on everyone.

I believe walking around New York City is an art. It's dangerous and often times befuddling. On any given day, a walk to the nearby pharmacy can give a person more than enough anger to fuel a fire deep within. Am I grumpy today because some dude walked into me while typing on his phone? Probably not. But a slightly crappy morning needs only one ill-placed pedestrian to really set me off. Now I can make these observations in a much safer and kinder way than say, slapping a slow-walking, pipe smoking, short-stopping tourist every time I see one... and for me, that is approximately six times a day.

Walking in New York can be a lovely, cerebral experience. You have a chance to connect with the people. In certain areas you can connect with nature. You also have the option of getting lost in your own thoughts. You can completely escape from the rest of your day or life or whatever you need a break from. It is a safe haven out there. But it is also a dog-eat-dog, infuriating experience, particularly if you ever want to actually get somewhere.

It is with this in mind that I focus on you today: cell phone user. Listen, I'm not anti-technology. I think mobile phones are an amazing thing. The ability to communicate with people, in varying ways, at any time of day is pretty incredible. But not everyone is capable of this constant contact. If you believe that you can read or type on your cell phone while walking, all while maintaining an accurate perception of who and what is in front of you and/or approaching you, then fine... keep doing what you're doing. But some people cannot do this. Not even close. They would (and do) actually walk into people or things while engrossed in the witty thing their Facebook friend just wrote. They disturb the natural flow of traffic by alternating their pace as they switch browsers. They block the corner ramps while constructing the perfectly funny yet easy going text to send to that potential third date. They just plain suck. Come on! We're all going somewhere, but the blatant disregard they show towards the rest of us swiftly getting to our destination is rude and unnecessary. Knock it off.

And now a song for all my fellow native New Yorkers:
You're no tramp, but you're no lady... you're the heart and soul of New York City!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Je m'appelle Lindsey

I recently decided that all of my crazy thoughts needed an outlet. All the anger, the road rage, the random waxing nostalgic or philosophical, and the occasional wit were cluttering up my otherwise clear thinking head and needed out. The way I see it, there's a lot of nonsense out there on that interweb thing. As a society, we're very unlikely to ever clean it up or clear it out - kind of like electronic thought landfills. So, I may as well contribute too.

Brevity is an art form that I have never mastered, nor even dabbled in. Facebook statuses left me unfulfilled and twittering, or whatever the kids are calling it, was never a medium meant for me. When I have something to say, I must have the freedom to run on and ramble, lest I ever clearly make my point, but rather jump from thought to thought like a fruit fly you chase around your kitchen as it passes in and out of your view between the bananas and the windowsill and back over towards the trash can. Little bastard. Where did you come from? Why do you love bananas so much? It's not like you can even eat the good part with the peel on you know! But as I was saying... brevity, no, never been my strong suit.
Nor am I able to effectively communicate 2 peepl using lttrs & #s to save precious space. It reads funny, but not good funny, just weird. Not 4 me thx!

So, having never really read an actual blog, I decided to make one of my own. With absolutely no means of comparison I have no shoes to fill and voila!, very low expectations. I will take this time to ask you, the four or five people I get to read this, to set your expectations very low. That way I will only moderately disappoint.

It came as quite a shock several months after having this idea, when I actually took the time to set up said blog, that I would have to name it. I didn't know they had names. What a long, lonely time I sat thinking of a name. Naming anything bears tremendous responsibility, especially a blog (or so I think). I would need something witty and existential, funny yet subtle, provocative and individual, with tremendous mass appeal. So I sat, and thought, and looked around the apartment for clues into my own psyche, and thought some more, and sat, and stared at the screen, and thought, and thought. After five excruciating minutes, and one failed attempt at scoring my actual name, I stumbled on the name Lindsey B Good.

It does encapsulate some of what I am trying to achieve here. I would like to be good. It has long been a desire of mine to be considered "good people" by others. I would also like to treat people better. So now instead of launching into a severe verbal attack on a band of Italian tourists taking a tour of Chelsea Market, I will instead rant to you, empty void of internet space. I will feel better having released these nasty, often funny insults, and the world will be no worse for my rage. Most importantly, my beautiful daughter, the blank slate on which I am trying to draw a most perfect individual, will not have to recount in therapy one day of the various times she saw her mother berate a 17 year old with a fanny pack for stopping short on the sidewalk. But mostly what the name symbolized, dear reader, is what you will come to learn very soon... sometimes my grammar just isn't very well.

That name lasted all of one attempt at telling someone with a straight face what my blog is called. Couldn't do it. First, I'm not really the type to name something after myself. Second, and this is really the clincher, I hated it. Back to the drawing board, or the online drawing board of sticking names into the blog address line and seeing what wasn't taken already. Enter Miss Spartacus.

So sit back, relax and enjoy the ride.
No, that sounds silly.

Thanks for reading!
No, that's just lame.

Thank you for indulging in my pre-midlife crisis. Some people get sports cars, plastic surgery or take to philandering... Four days before my 35th birthday I have chosen to help contribute to the drivel that lingers in cyber space like a bad smell... if you could smell in space, which I'm pretty sure you can't.

Here I am.

Let me entertain you.

It's now or never.

Space, the final frontier.

Seriously, I have no idea how to end this thing. How do I stop writing? This is getting out of control. Maybe I should've gotten a twitter account.