Walking in a Straight Line: A Tutorial

30 Jun

There are things in my life that I find extremely difficult. Walking in a straight line is not one of them.

Call me crazy, but wandering around with my head buried in a newspaper, or more likely, a cell phone or blackberry, is not the smartest thing to be doing on a crowded New York City sidewalk. And yet, time and time again, I dodge complete idiots walking aimlessly in a diagonal fashion, slowly enough to make it hard to interpret the best way to get around them. Will they meander left? Saunter right? But when I make the move to go around, they wake up from their trance and run right into me.

All of this had led me to believe that walking in a straight line is the equivalent of, say, filling out my tax forms, or coiffing my hair in the morning. Which means it’s extremely difficult. But like both of these examples, there is typically a set of steps you would follow to get the desired result. For example, if I have a hard time filing my taxes, the steps include 1. Printing out the forms and 2. Handing them to my dad. Fixing my hair involves 1.  Brushing it 2. Crying 3. Bobby pins and headbands. See, simple!

Of course, some people may need a bit more direction (pun intended…). So below is a step-by-step (again…pun intended) tutorial on mastering the art of walking on a New York City sidewalk, in a straight line.

1. PUT YOUR PHONE/BLACKBERRY/IPAD/TALKING DEVICE AWAY: This is imperative to walking in a straight line.

2. Survey the scene: Are there a lot of people on the sidewalk? What is the situation like behind you? Do you see a young female barreling across the street in an attempt to make it to work on time? If you do, it is even more crucial  to focus on the task at hand.

3. Find your end point: This may be somewhat advanced, so in the beginning stages, take it block by block.

4. Walk to it, straightly: Put one foot in front of the other, try your best to keep your body moving forward, and resist the urge to bury your face in your phone/blackberry/ipad/talking device.

5. Repeat steps 1-4 until you reach your destination: Be sure to pat yourself on the back when you arrive, because this was a huge accomplishment and you should be proud.

6. Repeat steps 1-5 EVERY TIME YOU WALK OUTSIDE: Please. I am begging you.

Feel free to print this guide out and keep it in your pocket. Just make sure you don’t actually read it while walking, as it will invariably distract you and detract from your goal. Best of luck!


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