Sunday, February 3, 2013

Umbrella manners and Sidewalk Etiquette

In college, walking is an incredibly prevalent mode of getting around. It seems great, right? Exercise, time outdoors, and guaranteed social interaction are all built into your day. What bliss!

No copyright infringement intended. Discovered on pinterest.
HOWEVER, at my school there is a chronic problem with pedestrian selfishness1, especially during rainy weather. As a local driver and fellow pedestrian, I have witnessed the many problems and dangerous situations this solipsismcauses.

So here is a preliminary code of conduct that could be used as a reference almost anywhere!

You might wonder, “Katie, how can there be a Christian perspective on walking?” Glad you asked, friend.

Proverbs 20:11 says, “It is by his deeds that a lad distinguishes himself
if his conduct is pure and right.”  And Galations 5:13 says, “For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another."

***I do not in any way mean to imply or state that I am the judge for what is pure and right; however, there needs to be a jumping off point for what is and is not acceptable. Perhaps we can learn as global community can serve each other in these ways! Concurrently, Psalm 141:3 says,

Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips.”

I will admit that in my time I have, (ahem) not always thought of or spoken loving words in these frustrating interactions (such as “umbrella altercations,” “pedestrian apparitions,” or “Move glitch! Get out’ the way!”). And thus, this is the padlock on my indiscrete internal comments…

The New American Code of Sidewalk Protocol, Vol. I: 
Please observe Mutual Occupational Voyage Etiquette

  1. Acceptable and appropriate communication henceforth is a wave or other gracious gesture (i.e., a smile, mouthing the words “Thank you,” [obvious] head nod with a simultaneous eyebrow raise) shall be used to indicate the following:
    1. Do you see me?
    2. Yes, I see you. Please go ahead.
    3. Thank you very much. Have a lovely day!
    4.  *In the event that an umbrella is in use, the umbrella may be raised or tipped as an extension of gracious communicative gestures.
  2. A pedestrian must never assume that a driver “must be able to see them” or “just needs to stop.” Measures, such as the aforementioned acceptable gestures should be used to confirm visibility
    1.  Indeed, in Virginia, pedestrians in the crosswalk have the right of way; however, sometimes weather conditions or time of day makes it INCREDIBLY DIFFICULT to see a pedestrian in general. Please be mindful that being in the right legally can’t keep you out of the hospital literally. Make them see you.
  3. In the event of umbrella-appropriate precipitation, the umbrella should be held in the hand most to the outside of the path to accommodate umbrellas from the opposite flow of traffic.
    1. Appropriate measures should be employed to prevent the prongs of any umbrella entering the ocular area. In the event that this happens, please help your victim seek appropriate medical attention.
  4. Large umbrellas might be shared in a gesture of friendship with fellow sidewalk commuters enduring the day with a lack of umbrella. In areas of high umbrella occupancy, umbrellas can also be shared to reduce congestion and risk of injury.
  5.  Pedestrians are responsible for minding their speed and location in the sidewalk traffic pattern. Please walk in a straight path and yield to those who hasten to their destination, as they might be time constrained. 
  6. Parties of more than two should distribute themselves appropriately as to not force others into the street, into the mud, puddles or other unpleasant and potentially dangerous (or yucky) vicinities due to disproportional allocation of the public space.
Something missing? Please propose your own additions in the comments!

Concerned excessively or exclusively with oneself: seeking or concentration on one’s own advantage, pleasure or well-being without regard for others
2 A theory holding that the self can know nothing but its own modifications and that the self is the only existent thing; also: extreme egocentrism


  1. Soooo true. I struggle with the smiles sometimes. I tend to give awkward "hello, but my face wasn't prepared for this greeting so I look like I have a flat line in the middle of my face" smiles. (great picture choices!)

  2. I'm with you on the smiles- the half, subtle smile becomes an epidemic of Platypus face, second cousin to the infamous Duck face.