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”
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