Picture this. It’s a new day and you have a destination to reach, a schedule to keep, and the means to get there. You are not addicted to work. You have every intention of relaxing afterward, just not right now. Right now, you are interested in moving forward at a pace that will allow you to get done what you need to get done so you can have leisure time later.
But ahead of you and blocking your path is the oblivious saunterer, sauntering. Mindless to anyone’s agenda but their own. They don’t see you. They never see anyone. They think they’re the only ones there. They saunter because they want to and they can.
I don’t consider myself an impatient person. I know we live in a world filled with rooms designed for waiting, that there will always be stretches of time when I will have to wait my turn. I’ve known this since kindergarten.
But I also learned in kindergarten that you have to share. This is what it means to be a polite person. You have to share the crayons and the swingset and the beanbag chair. And when you’re an adult, you have to share a lot of things, including the space all around you; specifically the busy sidewalk, the grocery store aisle, the airport corridor — every populated environment where you are not the only person around.
This is what the oblivious saunterer doesn’t get. My very patient husband says this kind of selfish ambler is afflicted with acute situational unawareness. They really don’t know they’ve become blind to the fact that their right to choose a pace and space for their choices ends where someone else’s begins. Perhaps they know but they don’t care.
The secluded path is a great place to saunter. In fact, I highly recommend it. The busy path is a great place to remember what you learned in kindergarten about sharing.
Look up the word “saunter” on dictionary.com and even this resource will tell you the best example of this verb is a stroll through the woods, not a busy sidewalk. If you’re in a busy place and you’re not busy, well, enjoy your day. But hey, you could politely move to the side. I don’t want you to disappear. That would be rude. I just want to move past you. And I promise I’ll say thank you. Learned that in kindergarten, too.
I don’t lose any sleep over this, I assure you. It’s a pet peeve, a quirky one, to be sure. I also don’t like wet socks, Christmas decorations still up after Easter, the non-word “irregardless,” and junk mail masquerading as important mail.
Oblivious saunterers don’t ruin my day. They just complicate it from time to time. And sometimes it just feels good to air a grievance even if you know it won’t change anything.
Have a great week. Saunter to your heart’s content on every lonely path. Be mindful of your place on the busy path. See you Friday.