What's this? Not another orphaned writing pitch? So sad. Let's give it a safe and secure new home here and tell it we love it like our own:
Welcome to this essential guide to surviving urban walkers. No, not walkers a la The Walking Dead or of the whiter variety in Game of Thrones – although these characters can be just as perilous should they cross your path – but the ordinary, workaday, normal kind. The ones who are just sort of wandering about the place like extras in Grand Theft Auto, getting in the way, causing chaos, obstructing the pavement, only reacting to external stimulus when you finally run them over or pull a gun on them. Ahem. So yeah, who needs cgi zombies when you have the true banality of evil readily available to you in your local streets? Get out there, spot them and if possible, use some of these tips to get them back on the right path, literally.
What’s this lurching towards you? Slowly, unsteadily and on a collision course. Check their head, is it down? Check their hands, do they contain a phone like device? I am sorry to inform you that you are in the path of a Phone Zombie. Do not, under any circumstances, let them bite you. Nothing much will happen if they do, it’s just a good general rule.
Phone Zombie Action Plan: Do not move aside, that is what they want. They have abdicated responsibility for navigating their environment and are relying fully on other people’s vigilance and politeness to dive out of their path and clear the route. Hold fast, until you are almost in touching distance and then shout “LOOK UP!” before making them soil themselves and veer out of your way. Yes phone zombie, it’s not so much fun when the shoe is on the other foot now is it?
Reverse Phone Zombie
No not a sex position, so stop sniggering in the back. This is in fact the inverse of the previous Phone Zombie problem, and it is in some ways much, much worse.
Yes...getting stuck walking behind one *b-movie scream*. They weave from side to side, back and forth, they slow down, they speed up, every time you try to get past them they lurch in your direction of travel like some annoying heat seeking missile. Why can’t they admit their inability to multi-task and step aside for a minute? Or at the very least not opt to shakily inhabit the exact middle of the pavement? We will never know; such are the mysterious depths of their twattery.
Reverse Phone Zombie Action Plan: As tempting as it is to deliver a boot to their bottom, one must not stoop to conquer. Their lack of peripheral vision means that any attempt to get around them will be unsuccessful; without sound that is. So as with the original Phone Zombie, go in close, and deliver a bellowing “EXCUSE ME” directly into their ear. If you’re feeling bold, try to leap frog over them.
Duracell Advert Bunny
Not technically a walker, although they once were, and will soon be again. But at this moment they occupy a curious limbo. Still in the midst of the pavement traffic but stock still, head down, checking their phone (what else?), giving off the impression – particularly when viewed from behind – that they are have run out of batteries. Yes, this Duracell advert bunny has the competitors product lodged up its bum and has ceased to function, becoming a living roadblock.
Duracell Advert Bunny Action Plan: Fight fire with fire. Stop right next to them. Stand uncomfortably close. Then look at their phone as if to say “What’s all this then? What’s this thing that’s interesting enough to justify causing all this disruption? Hmm? I MUST SEE!” They will soon move along.
Usually found in the busy streets of cities and metropolises, these guys aren’t walking, they are full on marching and if you are in their path, woe betide you. Actually even if you’re not in their path, woe also betide you, because as their name suggests, the whole pavement is theirs and they are not afraid to kick you out of your bit. They weave in and out of people, huffing, puffing, shoulder barging. They have to get to their business meeting. They are important. They change trajectory at the drop of a hat. Any space that opens up, they’re in. And any space that is still occupied but they want, they’re in. They see you, coming towards them in the other direction and they decide they want to be where you are. Before you know it, they have switched lanes and are barrelling towards you like the boulder in Indiana Jones. What to do?
The Usurper Action Plan: Like Braveheart Mel Gibson before you, stand firm and shout “HOLD….HOLD….HOOOOOOLD” This will sufficiently freak them out and force them out of your orbit. If they keep coming, produce an umbrella, extend in front of you and open.
The Great Ape
The most feared predator of our densely packed rush hour streets, it’s the (unfortunately not endangered) Great Ape. Swinging their arms like a goose stepping bonobo chimp, they slap silly anyone who walks near or by them, ensuring themselves a cheeky exclusion zone in otherwise crowded circumstances. The more ruthless ones swing not only their arms, but a bonus golf umbrella, raising the stakes from slapping to impaling for anyone who wants to walk within a four foot radius of them.
The Great Ape Action Plan: It is tempting to just duck and cover, but that is avoidance not action, so brace yourself, we’re going in. Get as close as you can without getting clobbered, wait until the arm comes down to their waist level – before they can get the momentum for the upswing – then grab their hand and swing with them, start skipping and pulling them along with you, singing all the way. Where the umbrella wielding ones are concerned, get within safe distance behind them, then grab the brolly as it reaches the maximum radius, stopping them and dragging them back so that you can nip in and get past.
Love’s Young Dream
Picture the scene; a narrow pavement, room enough for one person comfortably, two at a pinch. You are walking along and then on the horizon you see...a couple, holding hands. Love’s Young Dream.
You hope they will do the right thing, drop back and go in single file past you, but you know that never happens. They are always too enamoured of each other to let go for even a moment. THEIR LOVE IS TOO STRONG TO BE CAST ASUNDER...for two seconds. No, they will continue holding hands and taking up the full space quota of this narrow path, and you can just go in the gutter. Obviously.
Love’s Young Dream Action Plan: You could certainly recycle The Usurper Action Plan here but if you are feeling a little more fruity then how about this for an idea? If you are male exclaim to the woman half of the couple “I can’t believe this, you said you loved me!” If you are female, exclaim the very same to the male half of the couple. Then squeeze past whilst they break hands and squabble.
That's the guide. Go forth and survive.