An open letter to the guy on the stairs


Yeah, you. I’m talking about you, the guy at Pape station who was coming down the stairs to the subway platform on the right-hand side — your left — while I was coming up on the same side. Remember? When we met, we both stood there for a moment, unmoving, until I finally rolled my eyes, sighed, “Really?” and moved to let you by.

Now, I realize that the single word “Really?” might have been a little cryptic. Let me elaborate:

Are you really not aware of the cultural convention here in North America that the unwritten rules of pedestrian traffic tend to follow the written rules of vehicular traffic? Do you really not know enough to pass on the right-hand side instead of driving on the wrong side of the road, so to speak? Did you really not notice that I was tightly hugging the right-hand side, right against the wall, and that the most obvious place to pass was the other side?

Did you really not notice that I was heavily burdened with not only a briefcase but also  a bag of groceries, a six-pack of beer, and a box of wine? Did you really also not notice that I was trudging ponderously up the stairs bearing this weight and bulk while you were virtually flying down? Did it really not occur to you that it would not only much easier for you to move aside for me than for me to move aside, or that it might be the polite thing to do?

Are you really that much of a rude, self-centred jerk, or is your lack of consideration simply a result of complete obtuseness?

I hope you were in a hurry to get downstairs so you could throw yourself onto the tracks in front of an oncoming train. Really.

10 Responses to “An open letter to the guy on the stairs”

  1. 1 Mully

    A box of wine?? Oh, la la, your majesty.

  2. 2 Peter Lynn

    I will let my girlfriend speak to the issue of box wine.

  3. 3 Chris

    This is just thinly veiled bragging that you own a briefcase and had beer.

  4. 4 Candace

    What can I say? We’re trash. Actually, the stuff we get is quite nice. And if you don’t care about letting it breathe (we get red), it’s pretty good because it seals right up without letting air in so it doesn’t go bad. I believe in box wine. Box wine makes me happy.

  5. Maybe he was British or Australian? And if that’s the case, then surely that makes you the most racist person to ever own their own briefcase?

    However the rule is that whoever is walking -downwards- is the one who has to move, out the way of those walking upwards. So you are right to feel slighted.

  6. 6 Marty

    I am disinclined to believe this story. A briefcase, a bag of groceries, a box of wine and beer. That’s too much to carry, and a little too much alliteration for me to consider reasonable.

  7. 7 Peter Lynn

    @ Chris: I don’t know if my briefcase is anything to brag about. I was recently asked, “Is that vintage?” I had to say that it wasn’t when I got it, but might be considered that now.

    @ Seresecros: You have a very good point about the one walking downwards needing to be the one to move. However, even if he were British or Australian or Hong Kongese or whatever, it’s his responsibility to adapt to the local customs. Otherwise, it’s like pushing people aside and braying, “Out of the way — I’m an American!” What kind of jerk does that?

    @ Marty: I agree with you: That is too much to carry. This is why I was having such a miserable time.

  8. 8 Candace

    “Otherwise, it’s like pushing people aside and braying, “Out of the way — I’m an American!” What kind of jerk does that?”

    Uhm, you. In Hong Kong.

  9. 9 Gloria

    To be fair, Hong Kong is really crowded, and Chinese people are really small, so it’s a potent formula for some good ol’ North American shovin’.

  10. 10 hilly

    Thanks for making us look bad in Hong Kong, CANADIAN. You’ve pre-emptively RUINED my vacation there! Next time you pee on our soil, I sow salt in your snow fields!

    Technically, however, you could claim “American” status owing to the fact that you’re from North America.

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