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The Lost Art of Perambulation

By Pearl Bullivant on September 23, 2020 in Satire

Oblivious. Photo: Al Capone

As COVID-19 Ambassador, Pearl is here to take up the slack of the economy-obsessed federal government, providing advice on day-to-day living in a time of medical crisis. As mentioned in my previous column, it appears that Australians cannot be trusted to do the right thing for the betterment of the community. As long as we behave selfishly the number of cases will increase and our personal rights will be restricted, so I play my part, guiding the behaviour of the ignorant and arrogant.

Pearl is unconcerned about the psychology behind poor behaviour; there are no excuses. If you are depressed because you are missing out on your yearly Aspen skiing holiday, Pearlie recommends taking a big stoic breath and dealing with it.

This month, Pearl’s ambassadorship will focus on pedestrianism. The COVID lockdown saw a plethora of bored people literally stumbling onto footpaths with little idea of how to negotiate them in a considerate and virus-safe manner. Walking may appear simple, but when one spends most of their time behind the wheel of a Range Rover, loitering in Westfield, or walking on a treadmill, perambulation becomes a lost art form that is difficult to regain.

Crowding the streets during a time of crisis may cause walking to become more vibrant and exciting to the uninitiated, but by doing so you are impeding the foot flow that is vital to pedestrianism. Remember, you are no longer in your SUV stopping in the middle of Clovelly Road to chat with a friend on the kerb; you are sharing a footpath with people who use their legs as a form of transport.

Move with purpose – no sauntering or walking three abreast. The footpath is not a personal gym and the old adage, ‘Two’s company and three’s a crowd’, applies, particularly when abiding by the 1.5 metre rule while accommodating those coming towards you. We may be ‘all in this together’, but that doesn’t mean forcing others onto the road for the sake of a conversation. This is a time to be alert and spatially aware, so checking Instagram and sending selfies is better done at home, along with Skyping or using your speakerphone. Taking your life to the streets might make you feel more important during a lockdown – it may even make you like feel part of a reality TV series – but be mindful that your fellow pedestrians do not want to hear about your latest business deal, nor how bored you are making sourdough during their 5.30am promenade. The same goes for public music playing – you may think your music taste is hot stuff for all to hear, but please pop the earphones in and be mindful of traffic when crossing the road.

Remember readers, think before you leave the comfort of your Porsche Cayenne to meander the streets and ask yourself whether your behaviour is putting others at risk and raising the ire of seasoned walkers like Pearl. You do not want to be the victim of a shoulder charge by not keeping to the left.