Photo credit: // solidether
In the interest of promoting a more civil society, I propose the following rules when walking through the City of Brotherly Love in the rain:
1. It seems the bigger the umbrella a person is carrying, the more slowly they walk. This impedes speedy pedestrian traffic. Meandering through the rain, particularly when it is chilly outside and cars are splashing puddles everywhere, is no fun at all. I propose that if you must carry a five foot-wide umbrella and block the entire sidewalk with it, you walk quickly (slow trot – no reason to dally in the cold rain on the way to the office, you know).
2. If walking quickly isn’t your cup of tea, I will happily trade umbrellas with you – mine is small and built for speed, but I’m up for the challenge of carrying a huge sail through the wind tunnel near Arch Street.
3. Pop quiz time! You’re a six foot tall dude built like a linebacker, and you’re walking directly towards a tiny little woman. Do you
a) change your path slightly so that you only narrowly avoid walking into the tiny little lady and knocking her over onto the wet sidewalk;
b) keep walking directly at the tiny little chick, give her the evil eye, dip your umbrella slightly away from her, and forcefully brush shoulders with her, thereby knocking her bags askew and nearly knocking her over; or
c) pretend you don’t 1) see her there and 2) see that she is an inch from the curb/puddles/traffic, keep your path, avoid eye contact, and force her to dart out into traffic so that you can continue walking in a straight line?
If you picked c), that’s probably exactly what you did this morning…so pleasant! (City of Brotherly Love? *snort*)
4. So, since you answered incorrectly (neither a, b, nor c are correct answers), I propose that when carrying an umbrella and are approaching oncoming umbrella-carrying traffic, everyone on the building side of the sidewalk take one step to the right. In this way, the people walking on the street side of the sidewalk do not have to run out in front of cars to avoid you, and everyone gets to pass freely without getting knocked over. If you are someone who doesn’t like to change course, walk toward the street side; if you are polite and don’t mind moving around a bit to allow other pedestrian traffic to pass, walk on the building side. Everyone knows where they belong and the commute will work much more smoothly.
There is no need to play chicken, guys. There are better ways to demonstrate your manly manliness.
5. Walk in a straight line. This is much easier to do when you are not trying to tiptoe through the city and avoid getting your cute little heels wet. Wear sneakers or rain boots. Good for your feet, good for your back, good for speeding everyone’s trip – it’s a win all around!
6. Keep a firm grip on your umbrella. It is nice that umbrella manufacturers made those pointy little sticky-out things rounded for “safety”, but they can still hook an eyelid and pull it over a nose. Please be mindful!
7. Turn that frown upside-down! We’re all walking in the rain together. It sucks. We all know how much it sucks. You don’t need to tell us all how much you hate the rain and/or how soaked you are while we’re waiting for the light to change. Some of us are trying to block out the ick and enjoy the walk.
8. When exiting a subway station, there is no need to unfurl your umbrella on the stairway and decapitate and/or knock over the people coming up the stairs behind you. Please just don’t. A drop of water is not going to melt you unless you are the Wicked Witch of the West, in which case you’ve got bigger problems than an umbrella is going to solve.
9. Before entering buildings, take a moment to fold and shake your umbrella. This one seems pretty obvious but it is amazing how many people refuse to do this.
So, citizens and commuters of Philadelphia….please think about these proposed rules the next time it rains during your daily sidewalk commute. Maybe you can make your walk more pleasant and, just as importantly, make things pleasant for everyone else around you.