Walker Profiling
A Compendium Detailing the Various Types of Pedestrians One Might Encounter Whilst Traversing the Streets and Sidewalks of New York City
By: Joe

Part 3 of 3



You can go back to Part 1 for a big ol' intro to this mammy, but the basic idea here, if the title had too many big words for you, is that I am writing about all the categories of annoying pedestrians I've encountered on my many jaunts through the streets of New York City.

E-mail me with any input you might have. I will do my best to pretend like what you've said has been horribly interesting.





Lazy Nickname:
Equally Lazy Nickname:
No. of Offenders:

The Gravitater is the bane of my existence as a pedestrian. This is the person who erratically and without any apparent logical need to do so, drifts from side to side, all over a patch of sidewalk. Sometimes they will do this quite sharply and suddenly, but I think more often the grav, who is generally already quite slow, will make their side-to-side journey a painfully gradual one.

One would perhaps think from this description that such a person should really not be so difficult to navigate around, but you'd be DEAD FUCKING WRONG!!! On the contrary, this casual glide, as though they are being subtly pushed by a breeze, coupled with their evidently broken center of gravity, somehow manages to put the grav in all the right places to keep you from forward progression at all times. I'm not even really sure how it works, so the only conclusion I can make is that the average gravitater has made some kind of unholy deal with Satan. I'm sure you all reached the same verdict before reading the prior sentence.

Bottom line: It's just like those Family Circus comics! Annoying and not funny.


What, do I really need a nickname for this one?:
Wow, Look How Wasted that Guy Is
No. of Offenders:

I have no problem with drunk people, but they're out there so I guess they get a category.

Theoretically, the drunk should be like a more violent gravitater, swerving back and forth along the sidewalk, booze sloshing from their beer + paper bag + straw combo, but I find that's really a very rare thing. Most drunks travel in straight enough lines, they just shout things and gesture wildly while doing so. And if you actually see one swerving, chances are he's either got friends who are going to straighten him out eventually, or he'll fall over. Either way, he's unlikely to remain a concern of yours for very long.

Bottom line: What, like I'm gonna make fun of myself?


Nickname of Sorts:
No. of Offenders:

Considering how anti-social they are and how highly they value personal space, it's a rather poor fit that New Yorkers live in New York City. NYC is a place of packed streets and crammed subways that essentially force you to at nearly all times be in close proximity to several people. Now, while we all love and appreciate some breathing room, you simply have to get used to the fact that other people are going to touch you. It's rarely a deliberate thing, unless it's like 3 AM and you're on the subway and you're wearing a skirt (I DON'T WANT TO TALK ABOUT IT ANYMORE), but, simply due to the sheer mass of people in the city, you will be brushed up against, stepped upon, and bumped into, usually multiple times in one day.

Now, some people will make the effort to say sorry or at least mumble something that sounds like it (as long as you release an "s" from your lips, you'll probably be okay), but others (and I am not among these, personally) have evolved far enough to realize that apologizing is not worth the effort. Again, most people expect to get bumped into and will probably be ten feet away from you before you even emit the outset of an utterance.

SO! It is these people, the instigators, who I am truly and absolutely amazed to discover actually exist, and yet, I've definitely had encounters with more than one in my time. It's stunning: you'll just barely bump arms with a guy (it likely won't even be entirely your fault) and turn your head to give the admittedly rather frivolous courtesy of saying "ssss." But what's this?! Instead of the other person continuing on their way, more or less oblivious to what has just occurred, they've actually STOPPED DEAD IN THEIR TRACKS and are staring you down. Thus, we have the instigator. Lo!, there he stands, feet apart, fists balled, chest heaving, lips curled into a challenging snarl. "Sorry," you will say and, suddenly he's the most gracious motherfucker on the planet, now casually dismissing the issue with something like a, "No problem, man" and turning to leave.

Although the instigator tends to be only one person (I've never had a posse gang up on me for my sleeve making contact with their buddy's), I think it's quite common to find that they'll have a travel companion (not necessarily a guy-girl situation as the last instigator I ran into was with what I think was just a male friend, but I guess he really wanted him to like him). This companion, I assume, is often their reason for being so suddenly macho and then cooling off just as quickly. Not only do they get to demonstrate to their compatriot how tough they are, but then they demonstrate immediately after how they are the bigger man! What a hero.

My final musing on this matter: one has to wonder if the average instigator is genuinely prepared to pummel the living daylights out of a fellow pedestrian. Try not saying "sorry" to one in the future and get back to me. Thanks.



No. of Offenders:

Jeff reminded me that I should mention fatties so here they are. Fatties are slow because they're fat. They also take up a lot of sidewalk space, mostly because of the fat. You're always gonna run into some fatties and, I mean, whaddya gonna do? Not like they gonna get less fat while you waiting behind them. A tragedy.

Jeff also mentioned the notion of a skinny who comes as an accessory to a fatty, filling in the remaining bit of space next to the fatty. This is sort of a specific situation, I think, but it is a severe concern and I do think about it pretty often.

Bottom line: There are soooo much less of these in, well, any other country you can go to, really. Check it out at your local library.


Alternative Name a Guy in my Forum Came Up With:
Flood Controller
Dorky Alternative Name I Came Up With that No One is Meant to Use:
Let's Play Metal Gear For Real
One More Alternative:
Master of Stealth
Nickname Derived from Latter Alternative that is Impossible to Misinterpret:
No. of Offenders:

The Ninja is what I strive to be at all times, in my training and stuff. The Ninja tends to travel on his own (HE HAS NO NEED FOR DEAD WEIGHT IN THE FORM OF COMPANIONS) because this is the only way to effectively navigate the horrific mazeworld that is pedestrianism. He weaves in and out of the human traffic deftly and expertly, maintaining an impressive gait and finding the openings wherever he can inbetween the many fatties, tourists, and jerks. Oh, wow, I just realized I didn't make a category for tourists. Whatever. I'm not doing it.

Now, although the ninja does not conform to the standard pedestrian flow, I maintain that he is no major detriment to its continued movement. It is the ninja's intent to always be out of the way of others and not have others in his way, so it is rare he will slow down enough in the wrong place to directly impede another's progress. In effect, the ninja is the antithesis of the gravitater. Where the gravitater moves slowly and creates blockage, the ninja does the opposite of the thing I just said. Sort of like a laxative. Yup.

A boy named OokOok in the forum mentioned the people who are wise enough to follow in the wake of the ninja. I suppose these would be his students. Remaining in a ninja's wake is, indeed, not a bad plan. They know what they are doing.

Bottom line: Ninja so cool!!!


A Good Nickname:
Fuckin' Twatbomb
No. of Offenders:

Bikers are the absolute greatest pedestrian menace out there. The main issue with the bicyclist in NYC is his ability to shape and bend our laws to his will (insert president joke). Now, if I'm not mistaken, bicycles are supposed to follow vehicular traffic. However, no cop wants to deal with the sheer of absurdity of taking down a bike (especially if he's a bike cop because he's already naturally humiliated), not to mention nobody's really sure whether or not they're ever definitely breaking the law. Bikers take full advantage of this.

They pretty much follow whatever rules of traffic are more convenient for them at the time. If the cars are moving swiftly, well, then the biker is just like them! But, wait, a red light?! No need to wait for this! Presto changeo, the biker fits in right alongside your average pedestrian! How do they do it?!? HOWWWWW?!?

To be fair, bikers are usually only a problem when you're crossing a street (which, wait a minute, makes it kind of worse, doesn't it?) as you can only guess what form they've taken at that moment and then have to try to calculate in advance how to sidestep their fury. However, sometimes you'll even get bikers on the sidewalk. Charming! I think it is a law, in these situations and if there is suitable debris nearby, that you have to jam something in their spokes. So come on and give back to the community.

On a somewhat related note, I've noticed that a high quotient of female bikers in NYC have a strange tendency towards being breathtakingly gorgeous. This is pretty irritating as well because you can't even pretend to entertain the notion of trying to talk to one of them as they're only sedentary for a few seconds before zipping off and OUT OF YOUR LIFE FOREVER!!!

Bottom line: One of the only "pedestrians" that comes with the possiblity of injuring you quite seriously.

Ok, that's it finally. I hope we all learned how to, um, that we can all, well...ummmm...

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