There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that I am, by far and away, the fastest walker in Santiago. And to take advantage of my obligatory and permanent label of “ignorant gringo”, I will conclude that a Chilean walker is no different than any other Latino walker. Thus making me the fastest walker in all of South Americaâ€¦ fact. So what could I hate about walking when I am the clear champion of the southern hemisphere and no one should be able to stop me? Well many things, and it is my innate ability to overcome these problems that got me where I am today. If you are a slow or bad walker, or what I like to call a “slawker”, you may never have thought of any of these things because you are dead smack in the middle of doing these thingsâ€¦ all the time.
1) Turning your head more than 15 degrees to either side.
If you are walking straight forward, and you turn your head more than 15 degrees to either side, you better divert your course in that direction or you have just become a slawker. Without a clear field of view in front of you, you cannot be expected to walk without causing chaos.
2) Taking a slow slant across the sidewalk to get to the other side without looking
This is the most efficient way to fuck over the most people in the most amount of time making you the most hated person on the sidewalk. You are not in an inner tube laying on your back, with a bag of beer attached to you cooling in the water, as you kick lazily and flap idioticly with your hands to cross a slow moving current. You are in the middle of a high speed sidewalk so you better know exactly when you are to get off, and make it happen with precision and hastiness.
3) Fail to move a shoulder or turn your body as people approach you when there is not much room.
You are a fucking dick. Have common courtesy for your fellow species. There is no reason you should feel that you are more important than another walker so that you should never have to turn your body or bow your shoulder to let someone fit through a gap. Nor are you the better person to turn and look back at the person who just bumped you. Douche bag.
4) Stopping on a staircase
This is never acceptable, never. It is tiring enough climbing a staircase and it sure as hell is frustrating enough to put both my feet on the same stair as I mentally urge you to walk faster. But when you ignore my mental urgings and stop, and I ram my head into your jello butt that had me hypnotized just enough to slow my reactions down, it makes me want to throw my shoe at you. If you dropped something, forget about it. If you forgot something behind, you will need to use the designated stairs for going down. If you are tired, sack up and get on with it before I push you over.
5) Walking four people wide
Firstly, if I am one of the four, I hate this situation because I cannot hear what the hell is going on. But imagine the 80 meter queue of people behind you and your arm linked friends. Are you playing red rover red rover? Are you trying out for that burlesque dance with the high kicking legs? Are you stopping a crowd as they riot around you? Unless you are doing any of these things, immediately deconstruct your wall of in-passe, and go down to two by two. You will be a lot happier as well as the released flow of people going past you.
6) Wildly flailing your arms as if you have a mental disorder
Maybe more common in South America, especially Argentina. But to think it’s just a “thing that happens” as you back hand slap someone to your side as they are trying to pass you, is just plain wrong, and you are two steps closer to being a salted slug of the earth.
7) Gazing up, browsing around, and looking at this and that
Sudden stops will ruin governments, computers, machinery, and it sure as hell will destroy a sidewalk. When you decide to gander at that cute top or new computer game, you just unleashed chaos and that ain’t cool in my book. Be courteous and look to the side or behind you before making drastic decisions on the sidewalk. But this would break rule one, so even better if you feel uncomfortable breaking rule one, is to put a hand out to the side pointing down and shout out “Slowing!!”
8) Choosing the far left door when you have to turn right or vice versa
Try and think ahead more than five seconds. There are a lot of doors because likely there are a lot of people using them. It is not cool to leave a door and immediately run into your perpendicular adventure that should have nothing to do with me.
9) Not staying to the side on an escalator if you are not walking.
Why? Do you really need a sign every few meters going up to tell you to do this? Just because we are getting a free vertical lift doesn’t mean I am not going to take advantage of the opportunity to feel like I am walking super extra fast.
For sure at some point I have committed some of these errors, but I learned. I learned from my mistakes and saw the misery I caused and I aim to never do them again. Unless you are old, a young child, mentally or physically handicapped, or drunk, you have no excuse to repetitively commit the errors above.
Now don’t get me wrong… I once ordered 25 guys to walk with with an italian walk whenever they saw me or one of my 50 fraternity bothers. An italian walk consists of your hands clasped behind your back, you lean back like you are almost about to lean on something, and walk slowly like there is nothing in the world you are trying to get to. I can appreciate the joy of life and the things there are to see while walking slow. But in general I am an efficiency walker, that’s why I have a motorcycle that takes me around at 175mph and many bicycles that are far more efficient than a car.
I hope I pop into your head the next time someone runs into you on the sidewalk and gives you a look like “gawwd, who the fuck is this slawker?”