Walk on by

My working life these days consists mostly of traveling from meeting to meeting, usually with not enough time to even pee in between. I spent most of these meetings in an uncomfortable squirm, waiting to be able to release my bladder. In order to get from one meeting to the next, I often walk at a considerably fast pace. When I’m in a hurry, NOTHING aggrivates me more than when some slow-ass walker is in front of me and I have to make a decision. Do I:

  1. blow past them rudely, the sheer speed at which I pass insinuating they are a worthless human being;
  2. slow down behind them until I get to wherever I need to go;
  3. immediately seek alternate route;
  4. walk next to them and strike up a conversation;
  5. roundhouse kick them on my way past, clipping them at the knees and rendering them immobile

I suppose it depends on who it is. Today, I chose #3 when an older person who moves at the speed of a tree sloth suddenly ambled out of a row of cubes and directly in front of me. I invented a quick path through the cubes to get around her, and was on my way. I have also done methods 1 and 2. My Facebook friends made the additional suggestions of clotheslining the person, quoting the great philosopher Ludacris by saying, “move, bitch, get out da way,” and poking them in the back. I endorse any of these methods but would like some evidence that they are effective before I try them out myself.

#4 is tricky. There’s a certain awkwardness that comes if you are traveling at the same pace, in the same direction, as a co-worker. If you’re within a few paces of each other, and the person in front acknowledges you, I believe it’s common courtesy for the person in the lead to stop and wait for the person in back to catch up. Then there is some idle office chatter that must take place for the duration of the walk. However, if it’s a person you have no desire to talk to, and you’re in back, then you have to slow your roll. Keep your eyes to the ground and just seem really absorbed in your own thoughts, so much so that you don’t even realize who’s around you. If the person in front waits for you, try to think of your next possible escape route.

If you’re in front, and you happen to hear someone behind you, try to check who it is using your peripheral vision. If it’s your office buddy, then you’re golden. Proceed with normal plan and walk together. If it’s that person who doesn’t know how to exit a conversation, pick up the pace. Pretend you were just looking to the side. If you move fast enough you can escape.

Navigating your office hallway can be tricky business. If we all band together and share our best ways to avoid awkward conversation, as well as get to our next meeting on time, I think the world will be a better place. Or, at the very least, my office will be a better place.


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