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Walking and age
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 9707
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2012 10:38 am    Post subject: Walking and age Reply with quote

This topic is a little left-of-centre, but I think it still does bear directly to teaching and living abroad.

Walking. Most of us learn to do this before we run, and there are all sorts of cultural norms associated with how one should walk in public. Largely connected with concepts of 'personal space', we all learn that there are ways of dealing with busy streets and public transport etc.

Or do we?

When I first ventured abroad I was surprised, even dismayed to see that my way of getting from one end of the street to another was not common practice at all - i.e, walking in fairly straight line, looking where I am going, and then trying to avoid any obstacles, human or otherwise, that may obstruct my path. Instead I found random, almost Brownian, motion, and couldn't-give-a-damn-about anyone-else attitude, endless collisions knocks and bumps, abrupt stopping or changing of direction for no apparent, predictable reason, next to no concern about blocking the way for any other pedestrians, and almost limitless rudeness when exiting a street door.

To my shame, I initially put this down to third-world backwardness, or just general stupidity, and comforted myself that at least at home people are more advanced. Then, horror! I discover that this cretinism was breaking out in the homeland as well, where before it had never been an affliction.

Or had it?

Is it possible that I am just noticing this now, as I age, and become less tolerant of the general doltishness of humanity? (And it isn't as if older generations behave much better than 'youf' either, so it can't be a generation gap really.) Or has society just broken down? Perhaps there is a virus, let's call it the 'walking dead' virus, that has been sweeping across the globe and has only recently made it across to islands off the coast of Europe - previously the last bastion of pedestrian-rationality.

In Russia, many friends and students put it down to a break-down in civility and social fabric. Older colleagues relate that when they were at school or in Pioneer camps, they would have a lesson from a visiting policeman, who'd tell them that they should always pass an oncoming walkers on the right-hand side, whereby everyone passes everyone by easily. But no more. "Where are those policeman lessons now?" they cry in despair, imploring deaf heaven.

So, what is the situation where other posters live and work? Is the whole world just shambling off into street walking senility? Or have I just been unlucky where I've travelled to?

Ach... I need a drink...
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HLJHLJ



Joined: 06 Oct 2009
Posts: 915

PostPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2012 10:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It has made it into a Half Man Half Biscuit song, therefore it's automatically a valid complaint.

"Down in the High Street somebody careered out of Boots without due care or attention. I suggest that they learn some pedestrian etiquette, i.e sidle out of the store gingerly, Embrace the margin"

http://www.chrisrand.com/hmhb/csi-ambleside/national-shite-day/
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9604
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2012 12:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ach, I know these people in various formats:

.... university students who climb to the top of a staircase (or the bottom of one) and then pause whilst they collect their friends, decide in which direction they will continue on, take a poll about whether their little group wants to buy a coffee....all whilst the busy professors who were unlucky enough to climb the stairs behind them are stalled on some precarious, crowded staircase.

Tram zombies. They climb the stairs slowly, then stop elegantly at the top to consider at length whether they would prefer to move to the front or the back of the tram, effectively blocking anyone still unlucky enough to be trying to board the tram...meanwhile the bells and whistles are going off to signal the doors closing....

Exiting a shop onto what is likely to be a busy sidewalk, right into the path of me, rushing to class...

I'm going with the 'walking dead' virus theory, personally.

By the way, having a protective schnauzer helps greatly to minimize the actual physical contact, in case you find you really need an antidote, Sasha.


Last edited by spiral78 on Fri Nov 09, 2012 1:11 pm; edited 1 time in total
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johnslat



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 12872
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2012 2:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I guess it's not only I.

People in supermarkets/stores are often so clueless and inconsiderate. They park their carts in the middle of an aisle, blocking others, and chat with a friend. They never seem to look where they're going; their heads are on swivels, gawking at something off in the distance while they plow right into you.

Is it getting worse? It seems that way to me - but then, I'm REALLY old Very Happy

Regards,
John
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cmp45



Joined: 17 Aug 2004
Posts: 1404
Location: KSA

PostPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2012 4:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sadly more and more people are lacking self awareness of their immediate surroundings. Add to this fact ...a selfish sense of entitlement regarding public spaces. Plenty of clueless people out and about! The larger the city the worse it becomes...here in Riyadh, I rarely ever go out in the evenings anymore as it is absolutely NUTS! I try to avoid the most populated areas. trouble is...every where you go there are hoards of people Laughing

I never did like city life for the very reasons you mentioned Sasha.
Here, it can get rather insane during peak hours. I avoid the craziness by shopping during the least busiest times of the day when possible (early mornings when most are still sleeping). Unfortunately, it is impossible to avoid it completely. I still must contend with the hoards of absent minded phone addicted students in the hallways at school.

I treasure the day when I am able to move to a remote private peaceful location in the country where the nearest neigbour is at least 15 kilometers away. Hiking, fishing, gardening and perhaps when necessary, shopping at the nearest village for supplies with out having to contend with rude ignorant city folk. I hate city life Laughing and here I am in RIYADH! Twisted Evil

The country oasis I have in my mind is coming very soon!!!
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artemisia



Joined: 04 Nov 2008
Posts: 867
Location: the world

PostPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2012 9:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pretty much all of the above experiences including the supermarket one.

Is it the Modern (technological) Age? The Rise of Individualism? People too concerned about their latest phone text to bother where they’re going? One thing that I’ve noticed about walking around with a bunch of predominantly Asian students is how achingly slowly they walk. You really have to allow a lot of time to get anywhere!

My worst experiences were actually as a cyclist in little old Cambridge (which does get flooded with tourists in summer). It didn’t matter whether it was the cycle track or the road itself, people would suddenly step right out in front of you – sometimes they’d even see you first. I’d have to slam on brakes & suddenly find myself swerving madly to avoid them - sometimes hitting the gravel in the process. This would frequently be accompanied by a stream of obscenities (to comfort myself) while the guilty culprits would snigger sheepishly and apologise. This never happened to me as a cyclist on cycle paths in orderly Germany. However, I found other cyclists there could be vicious and brutal if anyone got in their way.
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Mr. Kalgukshi
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Joined: 18 Jan 2003
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Location: Anxious? Stressed? Repeat the following 300 times daily: A wet robin never flies at night.

PostPosted: Sat Nov 10, 2012 1:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It would be a very good idea for everyone to stay on topic and avoid derailing this thread or causing it no longer to be available.

The PM mode is for personal discussions and sidebars and even it is not to be used in violation of board rules and policies.

Several inappropriate postings have been deleted.

Future violations of this warning will result in immediate sanctions.

Es verdad.
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johntpartee



Joined: 02 Mar 2010
Posts: 3245

PostPosted: Sat Nov 10, 2012 1:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
So, what is the situation where other posters live and work?


Quote:
One thing that I’ve noticed about walking around with a bunch of predominantly Asian students is how achingly slowly they walk.


Ditto. And (in China, anyway) if there are two or three together in front of you, they "spread" themselves across the sidewalk; if it's females, they're holding hands so you can't go between them.

Also in China it seems that an inordinate number of people seem to kind of "aim" themselves at people in front of them who are walking in the opposite direction, almost as though they're playing chicken.
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johnslat



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 12872
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Sat Nov 10, 2012 1:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I may be seeing the glass as half-empty, but it seems to me that in my life, I've observed more random acts of rudeness/thoughtlessness than of kindness / consideration.
Regards,
John Crying or Very sad
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johntpartee



Joined: 02 Mar 2010
Posts: 3245

PostPosted: Sat Nov 10, 2012 1:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, although outright rudeness is less prevalent than what I've usually considered to be thoughtlessness, i.e., a lack of consideration for other people's space (and not just physical space; I don't wanna say "headspace", but you know what I mean).
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Glenski



Joined: 15 Jan 2003
Posts: 12844
Location: Hokkaido, JAPAN

PostPosted: Sat Nov 10, 2012 3:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Where I live (Japan), I have not noticed any significant changes in the past decade and a half. There are some differences between here and my home country. Got used to them early on.
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 9707
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Sat Nov 10, 2012 10:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Seems I am not a solitary pilgrim aghast at the wrong-footedness of the people around me - which is a relief!

Perhaps we should try to raise consciousness of this issue in our EFL classes? Wouldn't want the learners to get off on the wrong foot if they emigrate, for instance.
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scot47



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Posts: 12395
Location: Ultima Thule

PostPosted: Sat Nov 10, 2012 11:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am not as aged as the Venerable Johnslat, but I agree with him and with Sashathedroog. In supermnarkets it sometimes to me that many trolleydrivers especially wymmym are totally inconsiderate.

So far I have retained my composure but trolley-rage WILLt break out one day. I can just see the news story.

"RETIRED TEACHER GOES BERSERK IN SUPERMARKET"

The journalist will probably attribute the event to insanity brought about by travel and sojourn in hot and barbarous lands.


Last edited by scot47 on Mon Nov 12, 2012 8:39 pm; edited 1 time in total
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coledavis



Joined: 21 Jun 2003
Posts: 1837

PostPosted: Sat Nov 10, 2012 12:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The ideal place for an idle conversation? In a doorway of course.
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 9707
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Sat Nov 10, 2012 12:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Even better - metro turnstiles!
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