Skip to comments.Sidewalk Rage: Mental Illness or 'Altruistic Punishment?'
Posted on 02/24/2011 8:28:33 AM PST by ETL
For many residents of New York City, our bodies are our cars. So rather than engaging in "road rage" against slow or erratic drivers on a highway, New Yorkers descend into "sidewalk rage," paroxysms of fury directed at people who exhibit irrational, obstructive walking behavior on Manhattan's crowded concrete. But is this reaction a sign of mental illness - or could it perhaps reflect an evolutionary adaptation that may have enabled the development of cooperation? (More on Time.com: Five Ways to Stop Stressing)
I will admit personally to fits of pique when slow tourists fail to keep to the right, or insist on standing side-by-side on escalators, blocking the left-hand fast lane, like some of those described in a recent article in the Wall Street Journal.
That article came down on the side of sidewalk rage as psychiatric disorder. Shirley Wang writes:
Researchers say the concept of "sidewalk rage" is real. One scientist has even developed a Pedestrian Aggressiveness Syndrome Scale to map out how people express their fury. At its most extreme, sidewalk rage can signal a psychiatric condition known as "intermittent explosive disorder," researchers say. On Facebook, there's a group called "I Secretly Want to Punch Slow Walking People in the Back of the Head" that boasts nearly 15,000 members.
For the rare folks who act out in dangerous ways, sidewalk or road rage may indeed signal illness. But the idea raises the much more interesting question of why so many otherwise normal people also feel the same intense emotion when navigating around slow hordes - and have to temper their impulses to act on their anger - in the first place.
(Excerpt) Read more at news.yahoo.com ...
And it isn’t just the tourists. Many of these sidewalk morons are clearly city residents.
I think it’s a symptom of living cheek by jowl in a city. Sidewalk rage doesn’t happen in small towns. Very little road rage either, except when they’re moving farm equipment and some dope is afraid to pass. Usually not a local.
A while ago, as a joke, a prankster group whose name escapes me now, painted lanes on the sidewalk, one for New Yorkers, one for tourists. Most New Yorkers I talked to wanted them to be made official.
There is sort of a passing lane, a fast lane, and a window-shopper/gawker/tourist/oblivious lane. Or most people think there should be that same consideration, some getting angry when it’s not observed as convention. We’re all in a hurry getting to wherever it is we’re then in a hurry to get away from to hurry on to wherever it is... [repeat ad infinitum]
I’ve seen folks texting, head down, while jaywalking.
I wonder how much public funding was used in these studies and how much rage would be induced if we knew?
Being very irritated is not the same thing as being enraged, you know. If you started screaming at the miscreant, or even attacked him, then you where enraged. If you only thought "what a jerk", and moved on, then there was no rage involved. Road rage, for example, involves actual criminal assault. I'm afraid that "sidewalk rage" is just some catchphrase invented by the author, or others, for literary effect. The normal tension that one feels walking on a crowded sidewalk in the big city is very far from rage.
Do we need legislation for this new problem now?
Now get out.
I would not live anywhere that “sidewalk rage” could exist.
But plenty of times it has nothing to do with texting or talking on a cell. They just can’t seem to reason well enough to see that what they’re doing is dumb and/or potentially dangerous. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve likely saved some mindless dope (on a cell or not) from getting hit by a car crossing the street.
This article sets up a false choice. The options aren’t do nothing versus fly into a rage. The first analysis is whether the person really is doing something that impacts you. Someone walking and talking on a cell phone is a good example. Just because you see someone doing it doesn’t mean they are impacting you unless they are blocking your path. Some people just like to engage in “justified anger” at behaviours even if the behaviours don’t really impact them. The second analysis is how to react. If someone is blocking your path or bumps into you, it isn’t necessary to fly into a rage or react with a nasty look or obnoxious comment—that usually is not warranted. A polite “excuse me” is all that is necessary.
Or maybe its just a selfish character defect.
I see people swerving around and walking into things more and more often here in Manhattan. Usually they are texting or chatting on a cell phone. (Sometimes, I think they’re just bonkers.)
When I lived in Atlanta, I noticed that drivers on cell phones did a lot of swerving in and out of lanes of traffic.
One of the most annoying things here in Manhattan are the strollers. Mother’s walk side by side blocking the sidewalk. Sometimes 3 or 4 will walk side by side blocking the whole sidewalk. They get annoyed when you simply stop and make them go around!
Oh, I've yelled at them plenty. But never got to the point where I would consider hitting them. I generally like people. I just wish they would use their heads more often, assuming (perhaps foolishly) that it would make a difference if they did. Liberals, for example, do the dumbest things imaginable when they use their heads.
1. Groups that stop dead in their tracks to figure out where they are headed. Why can't they move aside to think/chat?
2. Groups that walk 2,3, 4 (or more) abreast towards you and will not move to let you walk past.
Of course, because if texter CAN’T see the taxi bearing down on him, it isn’t really there.
Lol! Occasionally when I warn someone of a car bearing down on them they freeze in their tracks, as opposed to moving quickly to get out of the way. They’re so preoccupied the handheld that they’re completely out of touch with the world around them.
We need a new rule-of-thumb -
“Idiots will gather at the narrowest choke-point possible”
But again, many times it isn’t about texting or talking on a cell. My ‘theory’ is that mobs of people at a crosswalk are like a herd of wildebeest at a river crossing: when one goes, they all go. (replace saltwater crocs with fast moving automobiles)
A few years back I was at a Walgreens ready to check out. I walk over to the checkout counter and this blonde chick is standing in the way - just talking away on her cell phone. I wondered if she was in line, but guessed not. So I said “excuse me” and moved around her and took my place in line.
She then moved several feet up to where I was and said; “Excuse me, I was in line.” I said; “No, actually you weren’t. You were standing in the middle of the aisle blocking me and others while you talked on you phone. But hey - if you feel that you really were in line and that I cut in front of you, then please. Move on here in front of me.”
She took note of the heavy sarcasm in my voice, went back to yakking on the phone, and left me alone to check out.
I’m a tourist, and ill walk how I want. Remember,, YOU chose to live in a sense city. New Yorkers act like they own the place,,, lol.
make that a dense city. Sorry,,, droid vomit
I'm far more understanding of tourists that block the sidewalk traffic flow than the mindless long-term residents of the city that do the same. Tourists are unfamiliar with many of the areas they are in and are looking around at various attractions and things, while helping boost the city's economy by spending their money here.
No joke. I just came back from a Dr appt, and this idiot was walking to the parking garage. He almost walked into a glass window. He got on the elevator, still texting.
I punched the button for my level, and asked him for his. No answer, but after the door closed, he punched another level. The door opened for his level, and he stood there texting away. Dumb@$$.
I realize NYC is a densely populated place, but I'm referring to people who make matters worse by not thinking properly. A little basic common sense is all.
And with cell phones at least, the conversation almost always seems to be on some dopey unimportant topic, such as “did you watch Oprah yesterday?”. I imagine it’s the same with texting.
It’s pathological behavior brought on by overcrowding (see http://www.psychlotron.org.uk/resources/environmental/A2_OCR_env_crowdeffects.pdf). Read what happened in the famous Calhoun lab-rat colony study as they became more and more crowded. Killing their young, homosexuality, increased aggression, and other depraved behavior.
standing side-by-side on escalators, blocking the left-hand fast lane,
I didn’t realize there WERE lanes on escalators,
you’d think the DOPT would mark them.
( Dept of Pedestrian Transportation )
Unfortunately common sense is no longer common. I think we’re breeding oblivious humans. Our early ancestors either paid attention to their surroundings or became dinner.
We’re reacting to the inattention of others. People driving don’t observe basic courtesies because of inattention and possibly inadequate skills. Now we find out neither do pedestrians pat attention. Maybe we need to turn man eating tigers loose in NYC to keep folks on their toes.
Yeah go ahead and text. Just remember you are part of the food chain whether it’s a tiger or the bacteria processing your dead body.
I broke my ankle a couple of months ago, and I can't get around at my normal speed (admittedly, that's pretty fast). So, I stay aware of my surroundings and others, and I get the hell out of the way of faster moving people coming up behind me.
I also don't stand in doorways or in areas prone to traffic.
I was at the Whole Foods earlier this week, a prime spot for lib watching. In the ten or fifteen minutes I was there, one libtard left his shopping cart at bizarre angles in order to maximize his ability to block traffic, FOUR TIMES.
As I was leaving, I noticed him returning his shopping cart, which was surprising since he'd shown no recognition of the existence of anyone else up to that point... but I was wrong. He just took it to the doorway leading to the steps, grabbed his stuff, and left - blocking the doorway.
I don't think I need to mention that when I saw him in the parking lot, he had an Obama/Biden bumper sticker on his Prius.
There aren't. It's more of a common sense, common courtesy thing. I can understand some tourists not getting it, but not those that lived here awhile.
I agree on the need to be understanding as a city resident or worker. At various points in my life I worked in Union Station in Washington DC and Times Square in New York City. You just knew that at certain times of the year you were going to be in a mob, many of whom were from out of town and didn’t understand “city” walking rules. City folk like the idea of living in a town with a million tourist attractions but they get annoyed when tourists actually come to see them. When a tourist does something like stand at the top of an escalator and I say “excuse me”, they usually react like they didn’t understand they were doing something wrong and move.
I must admit not knowing the unspoken rule for escalator traffic (stationary on right - walking on left) on the east coast when I first visited. So, maybe that rule should be posted for those from flyover country where escalators are seldom used on a daily basis.
I've noticed that the dumbest tourists almost always seem to be from France. Just like the worst drivers often having New Jersey plates. :)
I will admit that from time to time I have been tempted to launch into “Walmart aisle rage” by the, um, “Sunday drivers” wending their way at a leisurely pace three abreast through the store, taking up both the slow lane and the passing lane as well as the lanes for the traffic going in the opposite direction...
Yes, some people make shopping a family outing. They not only bring all the kids, but also grandma and Aunt Flossy.
You can often times see people walking up the left lane of an escalator with stationary people on the right, especially during rush hours. One needn’t be an Einstein to figure it out and step to the right. General traffic rule: left lane = passing lane. :)
We had one driver in front of us on a very curvy road some time back. The driver (a female) was crossing the drunk bumps into the oncoming lanes, and then cross into our lane. I thought she was DUI, and decided to stay behind her. We caught up with here at a traffic light, and she was texting. After the light, she got off the texting and into the right lane. Drove normally after that.
And like Mr Magoo, she probably had no clue of the danger she narrowly escaped.
That Prius driver is going to be the one doing the rolling roadblock to enforce conservation on the other drivers.