This is very much a Canadian problem and I notice it most when I’ve been away for a few weeks. It may have to do with our polite culture – I’m not sure. But it’s still a problem.
People walk into you all the time in Canadian cities. This happens so often that most Canadians don’t realize it’s a problem or that it isn’t even normal. If you’re walking, with no one around you and someone is walking towards you, if you’re in Canada that person will try to walk into you. It doesn’t make any sense, yet it happens all the time. Worst case is when someone is walking ahead of you – the last thing on your mind is walking into someone that’s walking in the same direction as you- totally forgets where they are on the earth, stops abruptly, looks around 360 degrees and somehow decides to walk in your direction. Think about that. Someone is 10 feet ahead of you. They stop. Look in every direction. They choose the direction with a person in it. Then walk directly into that person. That’s fucked. And it happens every day.
Even more frustrating, if you try to get out of this person’s way, they will choose the side with the smallest margin to get around you. So if there’s 20 feet to your left and a wall 2 feet to your right, they will go wall 100% of the time. Like I said above, maybe it’s our polite culture? They choose the smaller path because it’s more respectful – i.e. they are giving you the larger area to pass. Who knows. What ends up happening though is an awkward electric-slide-two-step-sidewalk shuffle with every person you meet on the street.
Canadians also suck at walking with umbrellas. Specifically, those who decide to use golf umbrellas in dense metropolitan areas. Are you kidding me? These people guillotine everyone they pass because they don’t have the common sense to either buy a regular human sized umbrella or raise the damn thing a foot higher to avoid it’s stranger neck slicing action. Maybe it’s complete obliviousness.
If you’re like me and have noticed this problem, the only way around it is to avoid eye contact with everyone on the street. If you walk through a crowd without making eye contact, people will get out of your way. Try it. It’s crazy how effective it is.
And I’m not even going to get into the fruit stands at Spadina and Queen or couples who hold hands (it’s like playing red rover with strangers).
Here is a list of amazing walking cities in no particular order – i.e. people are self aware.
1) Madrid, Spain
2) Reykjavik, Iceland
3) Buenos Aires, Argentina
4) New York, USA
5) Tel Aviv, Israel
6) Bangkok, Thailand
…as you can see these cities = the rest of the entire world.