As I climbed out the subterranean depths of the Red Line at Pershing Square tonight, I straddled the right side of the steps as I normally do. There was a black chick who was in the same car as me and she was rushing. She might have been a dyke. Her hair was short, unstyled, and her mannerisms reeked of manliness even though her body’s buxom curves screamed female. She might have just been a manly woman. Whatever the case, she reached the stairs ahead of me and began scaling them on the left side of the steps and at the halfway point she encountered a white woman, middle-aged, straitlaced, descending the stairs directly in her path. In other words, the white lady was on her right side of the steps. She was obeying typical conscientious, logical and consistent traffic flow patterns, even as applied to pedestrian traffic around town. The popular flow of automobile traffic is so ingrained in our psyche by virtue of laws and painted lines, that we just…do it. We drive on the right side of the road. We stay out of the left side…
All traffic, even that not governed by the Department of Motor Vehicles, should abide by this common sense pattern so as to avoid head-on face to face collisions and spats (which I dread, incidentally, judging by how many times I cross streets or duck into restrooms). Tonight the black chick would not give up the right of way and the white lady needed to detour and she was not happy about it! She muttered some passive aggressive bullshit, I’m sure some of it race-laden, as she gave up her lane for the wrong-way-driving sista. My sympathies were completely with the white lady. I abide by the unofficial traffic flow myself. I always stick to the right side of sidewalks, stairwells, hallways…it’s just goddamned common sense. It’s courteous and conscientious. As long as things flow according to plan and pattern, everything is fine. Even when walking, you split the path and stay on the right side, dummy. There is no reason to break tradition and overthrow mannerly Western grids just because there are no laws dictating what you can and can’t do.
It’s like waiting in an unregulated public line. There are no “line forms here signs” or numbers called. In fact, one great example is the Red Line ticket machine. It is anarchy. People form lines wherever they plant their lazy ignorant ass and there are 3 machines side-by-side and essentially, 3 disjointed and confused lines form to feed them when in fact, the logical and orderly thing would be for one line to feed all three machines in an sequential procession of patience and next-in-line maturity. But hell no, you don’t see that. People jump in front of you and they burst ahead just to get in a bus or train car faster even though it will not get anywhere faster just because they got on seconds before you.
There is such a strong sense of disorder governing pedestrian traffic. People are truly dysfunctional oafs in the absence of rules and laws. We need to be told, repeatedly, and threatened with mild punishment, where to line up, where to proceed, where to avoid…we need it spelled out and diagrammed and enforced by legions of intrusive lawyers whose mission in life to punish the lack of common sense behind flowery words and even more flowery ceremony. If you lift the laws, if you lift the guidelines, groups of humanity will turn to marauding idiots, improvising traffic lanes for themsleves, walking where they want without regard to order or structure.
They walk on the left side of the road for fuck’s sake.
People, man. They need to be treated like children in order to maintain a “functioning” society.
Everything runs like a smoothly coerced machine.
Coercion = religion, morality, conscience.
Just walk on the right side of the goddamned sidewalk like you’re supposed to.