Reality Check with Sadie Zarkin

Illustration by Marleigh Culver


Dear Sadie Zarkin,

Why do people insist on slowing their pace to a near complete stop on staircases to text on their phone, or halting in the middle of areas of heavy foot traffic to chat with their friends?

While these people seem to have all the time in the world to f— around, I have 19 credits of classes to attend, homework to do and a job to get to. There are so many things already slowing me down in my day. I just have no tolerance left for these rude, useless students.

How do I get them to understand that they are a major inconvenience for me and undoubtedly other people?

Girl on the go


Dear Girl,

You are experiencing a problem very common not only on college campuses all over the country, but also in shopping malls, grocery stores and downtown sidewalks. I appreciate you drawing attention to this growing epidemic.

While your deepest fantasies of grabbing the individual with your super-human strength and effortlessly swinging them above your head and out of your traveling path like the piece of useless trash you assume them to be may seem to be rewarding, you must remember to keep your cool and act like a rational adult.

Simple solutions to your problem, like lightly coughing in annoyance, can sometimes be effective, depending on the intensity of the person’s interest in their phone. If more of their attention is needed, sometimes a light bump on the shoulder will inform the person of his or her decreased speed, in a non-awkward way.

Unfortunately, if this minimal amount of physical contact doesn’t jolt the sluggish walker into action, more drastic measures may need to be taken. You will need to address the individual verbally. Simply place your hand on their shoulder and as you slip past them say “excuse me” loudly and confidently. They should get the point and hopefully move out of your way. If the person (or persons) have been particularly bothersome, a sassy undertone may be added to your voice at your own discretion.

Other than these quick tips on how to deal with the situation after it’s already started, I’m afraid I can offer no more advice. A lot of people are shamelessly narcissistic and inconsiderate, and I have no remedy for that.

Got problems? Email [email protected] for advice.

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