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Mall Walking Etiquette
January 29, 2012 - Al Stephenson
I have joined the ranks of mall walkers. For the last couple of months I have spent several days a week at the Tiffin Mall walking with my health conscious counterparts. It is an interesting mix of people, some might say eclectic, with most being my age or older. With the exception of a few young mothers, most of the walkers are of the senior citizen variety. And yes, I do qualify for that label.
People who walk have their own pace as well as path that they take. Some walk around the middle of the mall, while others take each aisle. A few go down some of the aisles while bypassing others. I have yet to figure out that strategy, but to each his own. One man walked in a zig-zag pattern in the center of the mall. He however, was not the most interesting person I discovered.
A fellow would walk backwards while propelling his outstretched arms in a counter- clockwise rotation. He did this at certain intervals while normally walking forward like the rest of us. I'm sure there was a physiological advantage to doing his backward strut, but I'm not sure what it was. He did make me smile though.
Then there are the salmon as I like to call them. It is tradition for the walkers to go to the right on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Walkers head the other direction on Tuesday and Thursday. There are no signs that require this and certainly enough room to have people traveling in both directions. Seriously folks, the walkers invariably outnumber the shoppers in our little shopping mecca.
A few people however seem to think it is fun to swim upstream (got the salmon reference, didn't you?). A couple of ladies seem to do this. One gentleman in particular goes the opposite way most of the time. I like to refer to him as Wrong Way Korrigan. In his defense he does normally give people plenty of room and he frequently disappears for minutes at a time as he heads into a store and chats up the help. What I don't understand is why he goes against the grain.
One day a lady wagged her finger at him (and another fellow who decided to motor along with Wrong Way) and admonished him for going the wrong way. He just smiled and kept going. Perhaps there is some joy in being different and maybe he likes to be chastized, but I still don't get it. Most people will start walking a certain direction and when they see that everyone else is going the other direction - THEY SWITCH. Not Wrong Way. He dances to his own drummer.
Some day the inevitable is going to happen. Wrong Way is going to be distracted just as he rounds a corner and he will forget to swing wide. He is going to run into a little old lady, who in turn will be knocked to the floor breaking her hip. Or he is (and this is nearly as serious) going to run into ME. Either way it will not be pretty.
The view from my seat suggests that Wrong Way should join the rest of the sensible people and "go with the flow." Don't walk the opposite way, don't knock over a little old lady, don't be responsible for a broken hip and for gosh sakes don't let your grandson wear a dog collar!
Go the same way as everyone else. I will thank you for it. I doubt I will be the only one.
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