Oh For A Lamp Post When You Need One


No, this is not about walking the dog. This is about walking the phone.

As I went down the main street of our city today I engaged in a game of Dodge-Em on the footpath with about 50 people. It wasn’t a desire to be playful – it was self-preservation. I survived to write this blog.

Footpaths in Australia are generally two-way things. People will mostly stay to the left as they go – rather like we do when we are driving cars on the roads. There is the same convention on escalators – if you just want to stand as you ride, keep to the left of the escalator and let the impatient walkers go up or down the right side. On the footpaths it is not as clear-cut nor as rigidly enforced – people can drift left or right from time to time.

If they are engaged in other things, like fighting giant squid or texting on their mobile phone, they can drift left, then right, then left again in a random pattern. This is called Brownian motion as it tends to give everyone else the browns…

I watched a dozen ladies and gentlemen do this today as they came toward me on Hay Street. All of them well-dressed, with their eyes firmly glued to the screens and in some cases electric wires feeding music to earplugs. Thmbs busily tapping away at the keys as they advanced.

I held my breath as they narrowly missed other walkers, rubbish bins, and street hydrants. I prayed that at least one of them would walk into a lamp post and knock themselves cold. Unfortunately it did not occur – but I now know the best place in town to watch for this and will be making a point of lingering there the next time I am downtown in hopes of a rewarding crash.

I’m not naturally cruel – I developed the trait over a long period of time by strict exercises and careful study. I do not exercise it upon the weak and helpless – I save it for the careless and stupid – both of which I regard the heedless walkers to be. While I would be loathe to see one of them disappear under the wheels of a TransPerth bus*, I would quite enjoy watching them hit the lamp post or go arse-over-teakettle into a council bin. You see I have seen their like in the shop I used to work at, and they were the bane of the place – impossible to engage in meaningful conversation while they responded to the call of distant and invisible influences hidden from our ken. Standing ready to serve while someone pointedly ignores you – thumbing their bit of electricity – is wasteful and demeaning.

I wonder if I could have utilised their distraction in the shop and hit them with a lamp post…?

  • The drivers are excellent people and would suffer distress and possible legal consequences.

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