Vent Your Spleen: Slow Walkers

It’s eight forty-five on Monday morning. The only way I’m going to get to my nine o’clock is if I hit a time vortex on the way into campus. I’m that hungover it takes me three minutes to find a matching pair of shoes, and another two to make sure they were on the right feet. Nevertheless, striding past the people waiting for the bus gives me a smug sense of superiority, and as I get into my power walking, a fuzzy thought forms that I might not even be late.

But now the path is narrowing and there are three people walking in front of me. Their Converse are shuffling along so s-l-o-w-l-y that they’re practically going backwards. Their bulky backpacks are blocking any escape routes, and as the gap rapidly closes between me and them, I realise they are deeply immersed in a conversation about whether Asda or Sainsbury’s is cheaper. Don’t these people have places to go? Degrees to get? And, more to the point, can’t they see I’m in a hurry?

When I finally manage to battle through the supermarket enthusiasts during a break in the traffic (amidst plenty of sighs of ‘what’s her problem?’), a couple emerges in front of me, ambling along at a dazed romantic pace, occasionally stopping to kiss. Clearly in their world birds are singing, violins are playing, and I don’t exist. Their joined hands are fully obstructing the path, and I am forced to walk so slowly that I almost stop. I cough loudly, gradually progressing to a full-blown impression of a consumptive on her last legs, and the girl moodily allows me past. I arrive at my lecture ten minutes late; the lecturer stops her power point and glares at me for one long minute until I have found a seat.

Now. Whilst I am fully aware that we all have different leg lengths, I am not alone in my hatred of slow walkers; the Facebook group ‘I secretly want to punch slow walking people in the back of the head’ has over a million members. Perhaps this vast number will convince you slow-coaches that, although you may not be going anywhere fast, there are more than a few of us in this world who are actually trying to get somewhere, and would love to get past you without feeling like we have pavement-rage.

Jess Lea-Wilson


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