Last week the government introduced new punishments for careless drivers including on-the-spot fines and licence endorsements. This week, I’m calling for similar action to be taken against the growing number of careless pedestrians. I believe that reckless, inconsiderate, dangerous walkers should be fined, clamped and ultimately, forced off the paths.
I am tired of being slowed down, obstructed, tripped and infuriated by people who are incapable of navigating public areas. Forever practical, I have got the proverbial ball rolling by putting together a handy guide to the worst and most common walking offenders. For each, I have offered a handy everyday solution, which can be easily enacted by the average pedestrian. As for the state’s response to criminally negligent pedestrians, I leave the police to punish as they see fit. I, for one, hope their response is aggressive.
Naturally, those with a mobility issue are exempt. Actually, when you think about it, they have most to gain from a war on path plonkers.
Come on Britain, let’s March on parliament in an orderly, efficient and sensible fashion and demand a new army of pedestrian police.
A SPOTTER'S GUIDE TO IDIOT PEDESTRIANS
The Grenadier Guard
Most commonly, this individual can be found standing completely still in shop doorways. You may also spot them next to bus doors and blocking fire exits. In some cultures they’re known as door constipaters or path statues. The Grenadier Guard suffers from a particularly troublesome form of narcolepsy which renders them immobile and thoughtless on exiting retail spaces or alighting from modes of transport. They freeze in the path of other pedestrians and stand, glassy-eyed, in the flow like a dead, seed-puffed reed. God will be launching a bug fix soon.
Solution: Pick them up and move them aside like a mannequin. Warning: do not wake them, they might die. Wake them.
The Drunken Bumble Bee
Try not to get trapped behind this zig-zagging path-clot. You could be there for days. Using a mysterious third eye in the back of their head, they will roll to the right just as you try to pass them and then roll back to the left again as you attempt an alternative route. It is easy to think, on first encountering the Drunken Bumble Bee, that they have no idea you are there. But, after a sequence of failed overtaking manoeuvres, you will come to realise that the timing of their obstructive meanderings is just too artfully timed not to be deliberate. The Drunken Bumblebee population is now reaching epidemic proportions, thanks to the ability to use mobile telephone devices to feign ignorance.
Solution: Squeeze past and tut loudly.
The Salmon is a particularly feisty and rebellious form of pedestrian. Preferring not to swim with the tide, Salmon enjoy pushing their way against the general flow of traffic, leaping majestically through the press of people in their way. The Salmon is only capable of walking head-on and cannot turn sideways, nor can they turn around and swim with the flow. They have been spotted in a number of high profile situations. A salmon was executed in 1938 after marching the wrong way during the Nuremberg Rallies. Another has been banned from Pamplona after insisting on running at the bull.
Solution: As a crowd, all turn round at once and walk in the same direction as the salmon. It’ll be forced to turn around and move in the opposite direction of its destination.
The Queen Salmon/Lawnmower
The Queen Salmon is a vicious and extremely aggressive sub-species of the ‘common’ Salmon, also known as the ‘Lawn Mower’. It is formed when a standard female Salmon mutates, growing a four-wheeled battering ram called a pushchair. It is not yet clear quite what volatile power gives the Queen Salmon her violent obnoxiousness. However, researchers believe that the Queen Salmon is most likely powered by a monstrous sense of maternal entitlement, mixed with a manic belief that everyone should have ankles as painful and swollen as her own.
Solution: Move out of the way. She is highly dangerous and not to be confronted.
The Teenage Dam
The Teenage Dam is capable of pressing back those in its path whilst simultaneously blocking those behind it from progressing beyond its wedge-like barrier of skinny jeans, expertly-tangled hair and obnoxiously precocious squawking. Those making up the barricade assume that the sheer precious exuberance of their youth is an impregnable force field; that no human older than the age of 17 could possibly be capable of breaching their chain. They are wrong. We are British, and you can bet your life we’re capable of smashing through a thick wall of Twiglets with Top Shop bags.
Solution: Speed up, stretch your arms out wide, start singing the Dam Busters March, run at them and then blast your way through at a triumphant and determined gallop.
The Network Railers
Close cousins of the Grenadier Guard, the Network Railer will shut down unpredictably, suddenly and often and when they do, everyone behind them will halt suddenly to avoid bumping into them. Perhaps they’ve received a text and they’re unable to type whilst moving their legs. Perhaps they only just noticed the ground. The Network Railer is unaware that other people exist, believing the rest of the population to be a myth.
Solution: Push their shoulders and shunt them in front of you like a wagon in a railway yard.
The Country Dancers
Did you know that, when we approach another pedestrian, we give off tiny, almost imperceptible signals, telling the other person which way we are going to step, so as to avoid a collision? Well we do. Also, the way we’re most likely to step varies from country to country. In Britain we are most likely to swerve to the right. In parts of Asia it’s to the left. (Insert political satire here). Country Dancers, however, lack the part of the brain which thinks. They are therefore unable to negotiate their way around other people’s bodies. Their affliction leads to a momentary left and right do-si-do when met with a less challenged pedestrian.
When two country dancers meet, the impasse can be much more serious. Fortunately, country dancers are a happy bunch, so they quite enjoy being caught in a side-stepping jig and will chuckle along to one another until release. The world’s longest pathway do-si-do lasted eight days and ended only when one of the participants became so tickled by his hilarious situation that he hyperventilated and died.
Solution: Head butt.
The Reverse Lawnmower
The reverse lawnmower (not to be confused with the Queen Salmon or Lawnmower) is seemingly unaware that they are pulling a large, square box on wheels behind them. Thus, they march through busy terminals, hotel lobbies, shopping centres and funerals without realising that they are tripping up and thwacking the ankles of countless pedestrians with their suitcase.
Solution: Tap them on the shoulder and inform them that they are pulling a suitcase. After their initial surprise they will take greater care for approximately no seconds. Follow them. Kick their suitcase. Run away.
The Juggernaut has decided to forget the fact that some people are less rushed or less physically able than he is. He also believes short people would have grown longer legs if they’d only tried harder. For him, an ideal path would have three lanes like a motorway and you can bet he’d be screaming down the fast lane in Ferrari trainers. He will tut at other pedestrians and physically remove them from his path, using his superior height and nuclear-powered obnoxiousness.
Solution: Laugh at him and get on with your day.