Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Mollie Rant: Sidewalk Rage

I like think of myself as a nice person.  I’m a little sassy, but not overly snarky…I'm definitely a glass-half-full, have-faith-in-people, expect-the-best, rainbows and sunshine kind of person.

Except for when I have to share a sidewalk. In that case, I HATE PEOPLE. 

Get ready…this is a Mollie Rant:

If you’re a runner, or even just someone who enjoys walking at a pace slightly faster than a meander, you know what I’m talking about. Sidewalk rage. And this phenomenon is only exacerbated by the snow. Snow encroaches on what are normally standard-width city sidewalks, reducing them to single-track lanes between icy burms, making it almost impossible to pass people.

“Excuse me, on your right!” 

I start off calling out politely. I mean, I don’t intend to ruin anyone’s day. But of course, it’s a rare person who moves on the first try.

“‘Scuse me! On your right!!” 

I try again, a little louder, as I am forced to slow my pace to an in-place jog.

“‘Scuse me!” 

Still nothing.


&^%$#*-^%&!!! (don't worry, I keep the obscenities in my mind, as I am forced to stop)

“EXCUSE ME!!!!!!” 

Translation: MOVE!!!

And then finally the person/people look back, shocked that someone might want to pass them, and grudgingly move to the side. If this happens once in a run, ok, whatever, people are dumb. But oh man, when it’s snowy out, and I get to the 10th time…watch out! Extreme rage.

And what really kills me is the people who scream when you pass them. Yes. Scream. It’s happened. Many more times than once. I’m sorry that you’re completely oblivious to all around you, but really, me in spandex is not quite scream-worthy scary. Other people do use the sidewalk too. Get over it!

What’s a runner to do? (Treadmill? Perish the thought.) Often I run on the road. This avoids the problem of ridiculous pedestrians, but presents the potentially more dangerous problem of vehicles. Because a collision with an oblivious walker is annoying…but a collision with an oblivious driver is straight up dangerous.

I was thinking about this on Monday afternoon, as I ran in the snowy rain. I was cranky to start off…and things only got worse. Pedestrians on the sidewalk were in my way. (Another topic for rant: Why is it that when someone has to move out of the way, and it’s me in running shoes v. some fool in a huge coat and snow boots, it’s me that has to step off into the powder???)

Anywho, there was wind was in my face and snow in my eyes. I hadn’t washed off my mascara pre-run, so I was looking like a deranged harlequin doll. Also, I hate squinting. This time it was so bad that I ran with one eye shut, and the other just open enough to see where I was going.

One eye open does not lend itself to good depth perception…And snowy weather does not incline DC drivers to behave as rational human beings…therefore, running on the narrowed-by-snow road was a bad idea.

Let’s just say that people got angry, but nobody died or suffered any long-term damage.

And thus concludes my rant. I live to run another day! As always, thanks for reading!

Here are some Tips for Runners and Drivers.


  1. call me a wuss, but I usually just run around any pedestrians no matter how wet, muddy, snowy, etc... it might be off the path. I've lowered my expectations enough over the years that I don't count on people being polite. (although, they often are; something that never fails to surprise me...) I me a wuss, but muddy shoes are less of a pain than a rude exchange that can ruin the whole day.

  2. Oh I'm ok with muddy shoes, and I run around people whenever humanly possible...but seriously, DC is completely inept at removing snow and it's either that one track sidewalk, or a huge drift of snow and ice (or a 1-lane road with ice and ANGRY drivers)!

  3. Unfortunately, all of the above applies to me walking EVERYWHERE lately (since poor snow removal = no buses/horrible traffic). I get seriously grumpy with trudging through snow/slipping on ice on sidewalks or praying I don't get hit by a car in the street. Though thankfully people are mostly polite stepping to the side (if possible) when you're walking at each other.

    P.S. Attn: Various embassies and National Cathedral, I'm looking at you!! There's no excuse for the snow/ice situation.

  4. as one who regularly runs in the snow (only without sidewalks) gotta run in a hat w/ a brim under your warm hat. it keeps the snow out of your eyeballs, but not out of your lungs..

  5. Snow or not, sidewalk or trail, many people seem to think they are own it. On one of the trail runs a guy with dogs moved to the side but his dogs still blocked the trail. I kept 'excusing' louder and louder and finally he said: 'oh, they are dumb animals, they don't understand' and he did NOTHING to move them. Btw, they were not leashed though it is a country law.
    One good thing about running trails that I cannot stay pissed for long. Now had that happen on the street I run, watch out!