After I moved to the city where I live now, it didn’t take long to notice that one of the streets I cross on my way to work has a special characteristic. Initially I said it was just my impression and I tried to find explanations.
It was a rainy morning. The footpath is quite wide, even more than necessary, considering the number of people who use it even at rush hour. A man was walking in front of me. He had a carrier bag in one hand, and with the other hand he was pulling a shopping trolley behind him. I kept trying to overtake him, without crossing the grassy area. He had to walk in the middle of the footpath, so that no one could pass by him. I would try to overtake him without stepping on the wet grass and much too fed with what the dogs left in their natural. I didn’t want to be the most perfumed in the office that I was going to share with 3 other people.
I raised my voice and wished him good morning, trying to make him understand that I wanted to pass by. Although I thought he didn’t notice me, he knew about my intention. I found this out when he said to me in an angry voice: “What’s the hurry? Go in line. Can’t you see I’m in front of you?” I passed on the grass and left him to his own speech.
Further on, one tries to get his car out of the parking lot. The street is quite crowded with cars. He pushed the car with its back towards the street, occupied the entire footpath and looked at the passers-by as if he was surprised that they pretended to be noticed for wanting to pass. At one point, he says to us: “What are you looking at like that? I just want to leave the parking lot.” A more daring schoolchild says: “But we are on the footpath and it’s time to move on, and you blocked us.” “What? Is that your footpath?” The bold schoolboy adds: “But neither your.” In the end, he jumps over a puddle and passes on, putting his life in danger, getting too close to the cars speeding down the street.
I told myself that the weather is to blame.
A sunny day. The same street. A lady dressed as if for a dance party mutters something to a dog that relieves itself in the middle of the footpath. I tried to avoid the dog and the lady, using the remaining space between them and the bushes on the side. When I reach her, she looks at me and says: “Not even a dog can poop, because there is someone to disturb.” I felt guilty and thought I should apologize. I didn’t manage to open my mouth, because the lady with the dog continued in an even higher tone: “Yes, not even a dog can poop in peace.” I disappeared as quickly as possible from the scene of the poor animal’s deed, while the lady continued to take her anger out on me – in absentia.
Further on, a younger man walks without looking where he is, texting something on his phone. I realized that he will collide with me if I don’t say anything. “Good morning”, I said. He flinches and exclaims as he looks up from his phone: “Holy scrap, mate. You can’t even walk on the street without being disturbed.” I couldn’t help myself and added: “There is a street lamp post in your way…” Then he changed his voice and was more like yelling that he was disturbed. But I was already far away.
Continuing my way to work, I was thinking if this street has something special that makes people grumpy when they enter it. In the evening on the way back, I looked to see what the name of the street is, thinking that the name “Grumpy Street” would suit it better.
28th March 2023, Southend on Sea