A message to slow-walkers and nose-pickers
Other people are hell.
Admit it. We're all curmudgeons at heart. And we're also all guilty of occasionally being that annoying person we would usually hate, because we're flawed creatures.
Of course, these annoying habits and quirks are exacerbated in well-populated towns and cities. So, now that Australia is about to tick over to having a population of 25 million, it's time to review how we can make life just a little less irritating for others.
The first thing is to always stick to the left and leave room for overtaking. Of course, you have to do that by law in a car, but really it should be law on footpaths and escalators too. Unless you are Liu Hong, Olympic gold medallist race walker from China who walked 20kms in 1:28:35, there's probably going to be someone walking faster than you who has somewhere to be. By sticking to the left-hand side of the footpath, you can both continue your journey unhindered. By strolling four abreast, you are making every other footpath user silently curse you to a lifetime of always losing the TV remote.
And if you see someone running on a footpath, just move out of the way. Clearly they have somewhere to be and are moving with purpose. Instead of making them nimbly dance around your group of three, try moving more to the left.
Sticking to the left goes doubly on escalators. Just because you are content to stand motionless as you are brought to the next floor doesn't mean everyone is, and you're not going to be forced to get a divorce because you're standing on a different step to your spouse. Escalators are not elevators, and it's just common courtesy to let people walk up on the right.
On the subject of escalators, please either work out where you're going before getting off, or move to the side. Standing dumbly at the bottom of an escalator is a good way to cause a pile up and have those left to nimbly sidestep your selfishness wish that you'd be doomed to forever stub your toe on every coffee table you meet.
We also need to dispel the myth that moving in and out of elevators in a timely fashion seems over eager or uncool. People who wait for the doors to open before slowly peeling themselves off the back wall and trudging towards the exit aren't cool, but are in fact making everyone late. Move with speed and purpose, or I'm pressing the "door close" button.
As a species, we need to master the practice of letting everyone get off the elevator/train/tram/bus/any confined space before trying to get on. Congratulations on sprinting to that seat and all, but once again you're holding up the flow of traffic and deserve to have your favourite band no longer be available on your music streaming platform of choice. Rushing on first won't make the tram leave the stop any faster.
There's bad news, too. Just because you're in a vehicle, like a car or a truck, doesn't mean glass stops working both ways. We can see you pick your nose, no matter how much we wish we couldn't. Please stop doing that.
If I could directly address the men for a moment: stop peeing and spitting in public. Just because you can expel a bodily fluid with relative ease doesn't mean you should. There probably is someone on the internet who wants to see you do that, but they're not the ones looking on in abject horror as we witness the results of your poor upbringing. Do we have to bring back no spitting signs? Just be less gross.
Lastly, there's the cardinal sin of poor public behaviour: smoking in a large group of people, in a line, or generally in other places where people can't escape you. Just because you're standing on the edge of the tram stop where smoking is banned doesn't mean you're clever, it just means you're gassing strangers from a slightly different angle. I have great sympathy for the battle you clearly have with your expensive addiction, but trapping asthmatics and forcing them to suffer because of your poor choices is unfair, selfish and cruel. Please do better.
There's a lot of us the in the big cities, but with a little common courtesy and following of the social rules, we might just be OK.
Alice Clarke is a freelance journalist.