Apparently people are studying a devastating new disease known as Pedestrian Aggressiveness Syndrome. Or sidewalk rage. Left untreated it can lead to Intermittent Explosive Disorder.
You think I’m kidding, but I’m not.
Apparently fast walkers can get impatient with slow walkers, bumping into them or cutting in front of them, while muttering under their breath, thinking hostile thoughts and making faces.
And I just thought they were rude people with short tempers.
The average walker in lower Manhattan walks 4.27 feet per second. But people going to work are averaging 4.4 feet per second while tourists are clocking in at 3.8 feet per second. Women walk slower than men, unless they are carrying bags, in which case they speed up. All these different speeds are being calculated and studied. There is, after all, a Ph.D. project in there somewhere.
Old people walk the slowest of all, by the way. 3.63 feet per second. And there are more of us coming.
You can find it all in the Wall Street Journal, in an article entitled “Get out of my way, you jerk!” What you can’t find is the cure. Or maybe the cause. Apparently it takes a psychologist to suggest that we calm down. Or to explain that we learn these behaviors from our family and friends.
Acting like this is perfectly natural. And completely unacceptable. But you don’t have to go to a therapist to figure this out. And you don’t have to blame your parents, either.
Here are my observations, for free:
- If you have pedestrian aggressiveness syndrome, you probably have a host of other, bigger problems. Start there.
- You don’t learn to be self-centered. That’s natural. You learn to not be. That’s work.
- Don’t think of being rude as a syndrome. Think of it as a sin. (Your pastor can help you more than your psychologist. If they can’t, get a new one.)
- Everything, and everyone, moves at a different speed. Make adjustments.
- Real change comes from the inside out. Deal with the root causes, not the superficial effects.
And stay out of my way, for crying out loud.
I’ve got issues.