Walking patterns

In Tokyo, there are “up” arrows denoting to walk up the stairs in the subway, and “down” arrows denoting to walk down the stairs. Everyone (except Chris and me) follows this while in Japan, even if it means queuing up in a single file line. There is no crowding in the stairwells, just neat lines. The same is the case with boarding the trains on the platform; everyone lines up. No one crowds around the door.

In New York City in subway stations, people crowd around subway doors. But the order that I never quite appreciated before was that people always walk in the way that in the U.S., you are expected to walk: keep right, keep right, keep right. You walk to the right, and to your left, are people walking to their right. Occasionally you will see people in a rush interrupting this, but they are the exception, not the rule.

Well, here in London, as I’ve observed in the last two days, there’s no order at all. People crowd around train doors, and when walking on the street, sidewalks, or underground, no one keeps left or right; everyone just walks right into each other or gets close enough to move out of the way just at the very last second before running into each other. I figured… okay, I’m here in the UK, and people are technically supposed to keep left. I tried to keep left, but it made no freaking difference. People were constantly walking into me and getting into my personal space, and I still just don’t get it. Does it add a little extra drama or interest to the day? Is there not enough stress already in life as is that they feel the need to add this to their walking commute?

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