How To Walk And Where To Stand

Silent strangers full of hate, the front right window of a subway train: these are sources of social anxiety and death for newcomers in cities. Situate the body in an informed way and the likelihood for both things (death and stress) decreases. This is a collection of relevant death and stress scenarios, breakdowns of their spatial difficulties and potential for unwanted interaction/ harm.

Walking in a Crowd

Enter and walk through a crowd in this way: with jawline tilted at an obtuse angle to neck, affect the expression of finally catching sight of the object of a lifelong search (for lost love/ real parent/ separated twin). When genuine, this “significant motivating realization” expression disappears quickly, turning to “joy.” When used for crowd-walking, it will be constant, joyless, unconsummated and unchanging. Avoid eye contact, use long purposeful strides–crowds will part between you, your distant false target.


Lapses in correct crowd-walking occur–reading of street addresses, halting for stoplights, tripping and falling. After these, vulnerability to “samestepping” increases. The risk is suddenly looking a stranger in both eyes while approaching from the opposite direction, drawing closer to colliding with every moment. After both parties turn abruptly in the same direction to “avoid” the other, pain begins. With each following unsuccessful evading turn, desperation builds until sadness replaces it. Always walk right, never make eye contact; alternately–accelerate, walk directly into the person and push them backward (without the use of arms) until they fall to the ground, allowing you to walk over and on their body.

Standing in an Elevator

Stand in the rear, acknowledge entrants wordlessly, point face forward toward doors. Looking either up or down reeks of discomfort, lack of constitution and confidence. Determined absorption in a cell phone screen or favorite magazine communicates weakness. While navigating crowded sidewalks demands an air of ceaseless/ uninterruptable motion, elevator-riding hinges on developing a stubborn, even militant ease with stasis. Respond to attempts at conversation as if distracted from an important project.

Walking Around a Corner

Make noises when about to round a corner; the corner will be less dangerous. The specifics of these noises are unimportant–whistling, clucking, loud buzzy hums are all acceptable. Each announces your presence. It may be helpful, with each necessary-to-round corner, to envision a collision with a person holding two Trenta-sized Starbucks iced coffees he/ she bought to share with a new friend in hopes of becoming close with this person to fight off an otherwise strange and unwelcoming urban environment. This visualization breeds contraceptive stress, which reflects the gravity of your glottal stops/ buzzes/ clicks in relation to the corner-collision-to-be, prevents post-spill social anxiety.

Waiting for/ Entering a Subway Train

Wait for a train at the edge of the platform, in front of all others. A safe distance is two bumps into the bumpy yellow–this accounts for unexpected jostling, prevents falling onto tracks/ death. Avoid leaning/ neck-craning to look for the train–master the correct reading of telltale glints of headlights on reflective tiled walls. While the train approaches, prepare to judge its speed and door placement. Do not flatly face the side of the train as it slows–with shoulders forming a right angle to the train, walk to the edge of the end-trajectory of the nearest doors. Those exiting the train will cut the corner sharply–account for this in body placement, watch for swinging bags, pivot and cross behind the last person to step out.

Riding a Longboard/ Skateboard/ Scooter/ RollerSurfer® To Reach a Destination More Quickly

Do this, reach destinations more quickly. Much later, age 27, feel an abrupt thought bubbling up through years of accumulated distractions while the Razor/ Vespa/ heelies roll to a stop in front of a destination–realize: in the years since purchasing the convenient wheeled thing, countless friends/ acquaintances/ passers-by have seen it, been convinced of general childishness/ emotional underdevelopment/ lack of self-awareness hovering about your person. Alternately–never feel this way, continue to reach destinations more quickly on a novelty non-bicycle or foldable/ collapsible bicycle. TC mark

image – Aaron


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  • Alexandra Koktsidis

    Thank you for this. As a person who lives in the city, I think about these things daily. Some people really got to learn how to walk/do most of these things. 

  • Alexandra Koktsidis

    Thank you for this. As a person who lives in the city, I think about these things daily. Some people really got to learn how to walk/do most of these things. 

  • Nat

    You forgot the most important thing of all: On an escalator: stand on the right, walk on the left!!!

    • STaugustine

      If only more people knew this simple rule…! Corollary: please step to the left or right of the escalator, after disembarking, before consulting map or assuming immobile  “i am bewildered” posture

  • Me

    The preemptive crosswalk walk: edge in front of the parked car on the side of the road when at a crosswalk, off the sidewalk.  allows for optimal views of a gap in traffic to cross the street while the light is still red. also allows views of the light changing so you can begin walking after the light changes and before the “go” on the crosswalk.

  • drea

    I’m definitely not from a city – I’m terrified of standing anywhere NEAR the yellow line.

  • am

    ” A safe distance is two bumps into the bumpy yellow.” I love this. No one ever really acknowledges the bumpy yellow but we all know exactly what you’re talking about.

  • Frida

    love this

  • YES

    I loved this but how could you forget the most obvious one? When riding subway/Bart/tube, make sure you have either a book to read or music in your ears to avoid awkward eye contact or unnecessary conversation. 

    • Anonymous

      Sometimes have your earphones in and plugged into nothing. 

  • Anonymous
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