Etiquette on the Esplanade

Natalie Moses

Imagine this: On the Esplanade, someone walking toward you starts to dodge your path. At the last second you both make a leftward beeline and collide. No one laughs. Homework scatters about and is lost in a stampede. Your getaway is thwarted by a gossiping human blockade, and just as you go to angrily tweet, you get hit by a bike. #worstdayever

This might be a slight exaggeration, but poor sidewalk etiquette eventually affects everyone. The realistic worst outcome of sidewalk etiquette might be a coffee stain or being late to class; it is obviously not a world ending issue. However, it is a painfully annoying one, and it does not have to be that way. A few simple guidelines could make your walk to class much more enjoyable and perhaps less hazardous. These two golden rules address the most common problems encountered daily.

First, always remember that right is right. America drives on the right, so it makes sense to stick to the right when walking en masse as well. This one also goes for those awkward sidewalk dance-offs. Typically when two parties are walking toward each other, both are denying the inevitable move. Like a game of chicken, someone gives in just in time. The problem is that there is a 50 percent chance of upping the awkward and actually full out tackling this person. Avoid embarrassment and personal space invasion by always making the “right” choice.

Second, constantly respect your surroundings. In other words, pay attention and follow the traffic! If people are quiet, don’t be loud. If people are in a hurry, don’t be a snail. If no one else’s umbrella is poking everyone that passes … You get it. Almost every sidewalk violation can be prevented if this rule is followed. If a stationary phone checker or an unnavigable herd would realize that everyone is giving them dirty looks, they would probably stop their foolishness immediately.

It might seem silly that two rules can create order out of chaos, but if applied to real world situations, it is clear that they would work. For example, Andrew Coleman, junior communication studies major, has a pet peeve that many people share.

“I hate it when you don’t know someone and they’re walking at the same speed as you right beside you, it feels like they’re just waiting for you to say something,” he said. If this particular offender would take their headphones off and follow rule two, the discomfort would not have existed.

Taylor King, sophomore communication studies major, brings up another problem that could be wiped out by the second rule.

“I really hate when people are smoking and walking,” she said. “It’s just annoying when you’re walking and people are blowing smoke at you.”

Though the smoker surely means no harm, they need to be aware that it might be bothering people ­— or as King would say, “Just go stand for a second!”

Jodi Kokoski, junior education health and human services major, also hates smoke in the face, but she brings up another preventable problem: super close bikers.

“When they fly past you and they’re like a centimeter away, it’s actually a little scary,” she said.

The rules apply to bikers, too!

Alex Most, freshman biology major, and Cody Hasenstab, freshman exploratory major, have only been at Kent State for a month, but they have already caught on to bad sidewalk etiquette.

“The bikers need to calm down a little, and when you’re walking right at someone, it’s common sense — go right!” Most said.

In addition to being annoyed by smoke, both brought up some particularly dirty sidewalk habits.

“I don’t like when people just snot loogies everywhere- it’s disgusting!” Hasenstab said. The same goes with spitting chewing tobacco. “Just do it in the grass,” he said.

Overall, smoking, close bikers and awkward close calls seem to be what annoys people the most. No one purposely tries to be the sidewalk jerk, and now no one has to be. Just keep others in mind and always go right, and the Esplanade will be a happy place.

Contact Natalie Moses at [email protected].