Crowded Sidewalk Hulton Archive/Spencer Platt
By Enrique Grijalva



I get irritated when people don’t move with the fast pace of the City. Granted, there are three exceptions: small children, people with disabilities, and the elderly. However, unless a building explodes, there isn’t any reason to stop the flow. (In fact, you’d actually start running.) But if you don’t fall under one of the three exceptions, then you better haul ass or move to the side. New Yorkers have places to go, things to do, and people to see.

Nowadays I catch myself in an uncomfortable situation, particularly at night with women. I walk so quickly that I catch up to the person in front of me. It scares them. I don’t do it on purpose, though. When I’m walking these streets, I’m in a “New York State of Mind” — I know you’re there, but I don’t care that you’re there. I acknowledge your presence in the event of a dangerous situation, in which case, I might have to punch you in the throat for your own safety.

Hey, I wouldn’t be sneaking up on you if you weren’t one of these three people:

 

The Droid

This is the asshole who has developed a symbiotic relationship with their phone. Give them a pass if it appears to be an emergency. If it’s not, you have my permission to give them a swift kick in the ass.

The Transplant

This is the New-New Yorker — the future parents of tomorrow’s New Yorker (shoot me now). In the beginning, a majority of our new citizens are soft and slow, and their behavior rivals that of Bambi in the aftermath of his mother dying. Forgive them. In time, they’ll adjust. If not, the City will spit them out.

The Game Stopper

Be glad this asshole doesn’t have a driver’s license. This miscreant is infamous for suddenly stopping on a dime, at the most the inopportune times and locations. For what? Who the fuck knows? If they’re not tourists or photographers, I assume that they’ve succumbed to a force so powerful it cannot be seen or explained. Beware.

 

Because these people are unaware of their surroundings, it’s my practical assumption that natural instinct helps them sense danger when I approach. New York is one of the few cities that utilizes walking as a mode of transportation. Thinking, talking, and doing can all be done while walking. To “The Droid,” “The Transplant,” and “The Game Stopper,” this is foreign. Yet they’re capable of achieving these supernatural feats, too, but it’s not until they realize this that I’ll be able to avoid judgmental looks from your “Typical Mean Girl” (TMG).

Every night, coming home from work, I observe a new neighbor; one whose idea of “poor” is shopping at Trader Joe’s instead of Whole Foods. The exit from my subway stop unfolds into a narrow stretch of concrete, enough for two people to walk through. That’s unless the mountains of garbage are threatening to kidnap you, of course.

This causes me to strategize my walk home. It helps TMG from confusing walking home quickly for the predatory action of existing. (It’s one thing to be considered a criminal in your own neighborhood by police. It’s another when your new neighbor considers you a threat to them in your own home.) I make obvious points that I’m not here to harm TMG. I begin by distancing myself from the woman. Then I proceed to tiptoe on the edge of the sidewalk, like I’m circling Chris Christie. I walk quickly and I don’t return to the center of the sidewalk until I have cleared the paranoid civilian.

This technique doesn’t always work. Recently, I ran into a “Game Stopper.” He clutched his purse when I approached, then watched me. He felt insulted when I mocked his silent judgement with a frivolous smile and head shake, which provoked an unwarranted race. He actually tried to keep up with me for two blocks until we parted ways.

Look, all I ask is that you practice proper walking etiquette. It’s not that difficult to move to the side if you’re walking too slow, slowing down, or stopping.

Ladies, I’m not trying to rape you. Many of you look great on the outside, but you’re mostly terribly ugly people on the inside, with a low self-esteem that I’m not trying to build up. That catcalling video got too many of you gassed up. You ain’t that cute, mama. Walk faster.

Gentlemen, if someone gets too close to you and your first instinct isn’t to protect yourself, then you need to grow a pair. You run up on me; I’m putting my hands on you. Walk faster.

To the children of New York, my people with disabilities, and to the old heads: take your time.

Let’s keep it moving, New York.