Monday, October 8, 2012

Maybe I'm not a people person

I like to think I'm a decent person. I do wish for the people of the world to one day come together and live in peace. But part of me is still realistic and realizes that we cannot all come together with such a prevalence, dare I say epidemic, of stupidity out there. Stupid people doing stupid things, and it's happening all around us. Insert appropriate snarky political comment here.

While I see this stupidity everywhere from foreign dictators to the checkout line at the grocery store, I will narrow it down to some of the people I feel really deserve my attention here. I will begrudgingly take a moment here to point out it is not all of the people mentioned, but a bad bunch of each that I hold responsible for my anger... except for the traffic cops. They all suck. Each and every one of them.

Traffic Cops
True to their name, these paid state officials are set loose throughout the city with the sole purpose of causing traffic. And they almost always succeed. I am a frustrated walker, but I am a downright angry driver, especially when I get within spitting (only did it once!) distance of a traffic cop.
In their quest for honking horns and misguiding trucks, these orange vested fools will often take the perfectly functioning traffic lights as mere suggestions. Aren't there people that study this? Hasn't the traffic light system been designed to function so that we don't need people in the middle of the street directing who goes when? Is there a problem with the system that leads the traffic cop to believe it is OK to freestyle and choose the traffic patterns in spite of what the light says?
If you are crossing the street based on the walk signal in front of you (a novel idea, really), you can find yourself in quite the predicament as all the frustrated drivers try to drive over you to get past the intersection and back on their way... all this per some arm flailing that says they should in fact drive over you, even though they technically have a red light.
In short: if you see a traffic cop in the street, proceed with caution. Traffic looms ahead.

Ah, la touristas, or as New Yorkers like to refer to them, la hinderance to our traveling anywhere quickly and easily at any time of day, anywhere in the city. Tourists could probably have their own blog dedicated to their berating, certainly their own post, and yet we also have to cut them a bit more slack. Though they often come from cities which do practice good walking skills, they are on vacation and cannot be expected to be sensible or considerate when in a foreign country. And hopefully they will also take a break from sarcasm, leaving that last sentence to fall upon them kindly.
Non Americans have a terrible sense of personal space... or perhaps, like everything else American, ours is just oversized?
The tourists I'm referring to are the primary reason any sensible New Yorker or savvy tourist knows to avoid Times Square. Sure, we all love big colorful signs that light up, and ooooh! they're so high up! We get the appeal. But until there is a way for people to gaze lovingly at these LCD displays while not blocking up the sidewalks, I think I'll give it a miss.
A note to my tourists out there: If you are taking a photo in a high traffic spot, like for example across the entire sidewalk, I am going to walk through your photo. I shouldn't be considered the rude one in that situation.
Also, slowly wandering down the street while taking up the entire sidewalk is just unnecessary and makes me hate you so much more. Case in point:
This is actually one group of people, SLOWLY walking down the street, not speaking English. Confirmed sh!tty tourists.

I used to be one, so I can only be so critical. I held myself to a certain set of standards though, so it is fair that I hold other smokers to those standards as well. Any more would be hypocritical, any less would be uncivilized.
The smoking ban in buildings has forced smokers out onto the sidewalks. I understand you feel wronged as you were once able to smoke in the comforts of your own office/stairwell and now you have to suffer the extreme heat/cold. But never forget that these are sidewalks, not smoking pens, and we the walkers were here first. I'm not saying that we can't peacefully coexist, just know your place... second, in this case.
Unless you can guarantee you are alone on the street, please be conscious of the fact that you are not. Assume that other people on the street are not smokers who forgot their pack at home and are jonesing for one so it falls on you to actually blow it in their face. In fact, unless someone comes up to you with some heartbreaking tale of how they have no cigarettes, no money, but desperately need a drag and need you to blow one in their face, assume that the rest of us do not need you to blow it in our faces. Thanks anyway though.

I am a proud New Yorker. I know full well that jaywalking is against the law, but I can argue to the death that it is only against the law like pot is against the law. Not because it is a bad thing, not because it doesn't serve it's purpose, but because a few misguided individuals have no clue how to handle it properly, it is ruined for the rest of us. The drivers definitely pose a greater risk to the walker, and in our city they should usually give the walkers the right of way. But honestly, people that attempt to cross when traffic has the right of way are foolish people that do not deserve the protection of the law.
If you are not fit enough to potentially run across the street, you should not be jaywalking as you could have to run at any moment. If you personally object to looking both ways, you should not be jaywalking. If you believe that New York drivers won't really hit you, you should not be jaywalking. But for those of us that can handle the task of safely crossing the street and not getting in any driver's way, we should be allowed to do it. Everyone else can get the tickets.

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