Friday, April 07, 2006

The other day in the park, there was a guy who just didn't seem to *grasp* the concept of walking on the right-hand side. Both times we passed each other, I had to take my dog and cross to the other side because he and his GIANT dog were walking toward me...on "my" side of the track.

The dog wasn't the only scary thing about this guy, BTW. This man was terrifying...huge, overly-tattooed (IMHO), a straggly beard which came nearly to his enormous waist, denim overalls, and a permanent scowl on his face. His dog was on a metal chain which led to a metal choke collar, and in the man's right hand was a big stick. I definitely got the feeling that he was on some kind of weird power trip as everyone who walked/ran/skated/etc. either had to move left or WAY over into the grass to get out of his way.

So about a quarter of a mile after I passed this guy, I started wondering *why* we all walk on the right. 99% of the people in the park circle the track in the same direction, probably without thinking about it. Kids are taught to do it in school hallways. Americans even do this in our shopping malls. (Think about matter what mall you visit, it feels like you're going against the flow if you try to walk on the left of the kiosks/benches/fountains in the middle of the mall "boulevard.")

Okay, then I thought...Oh, maybe it's because we DRIVE on the right. I've been told Americans drive on the right because during wagon-train days, men walked to the left of their animal teams to keep control of them with their (usually) stronger right hand. Therefore, when two teams met each other, both "steered" their teams to the outer, right-hand side of the road.

But, wait a minute. If that's the case, do Britons walk and jog on the left-hand side of the track? If I went to a shopping mall in London, would everyone circle the mall in the other direction?

Hey, maybe Scary Beard & Overalls Man wasn't weird! Maybe he was just visiting from another country...

1 comment:

Sandra said...

Kristy, this is a GREAT question!!!! I cant believe I haven't ask myself that question. It is definately something I could've come up with... I will get right on it and try to figure it out. I'll let you know how the britan's do it... that is if my brother in law doesn't think I am tooooo weird for posing the question and ignoring me.....