Xela Sidewalk Etiquette
By Armando Caminando
As we all know, Xela is not reknowned for its wide, smooth sidewalks. We are forced to share walkways made of a combination of cobblestone, brick, dirt, tile, bubblegum, urine, spit and pavement bonded with centimeter-thin cement. You may not realize there is a code of courtesy that goes against many people’s intuitive sense to keep to the right. Ignore that. Instead, think, observe, and apply the local customs.
Most chapines stick to slow-moving groups and pause often to divine their route curb side to wall side based on Xela’s cacophony of stimuli, such as cars hugging the curb, packs of dogs on a single-minded mission, and calls from passing ayudantes. This behavior indicates a rich and complex body of local knowledge that we can only begin to touch on here.
We are here to help you across this chaotic landscape with a simple Q and A session to test your logic and give it to you straight.
Q. You are walking in the center of the sidewalk, because there is absolutely no one else using the path (they are all on the upcoming corner looking at a motorcycle accident), but lo and behold, an old man approaches, which side of the pathway do you fall to?
A. Always default to curbside with old men unless they stare you down.
Q. You, a woman, are walking on the pathway, and you are to the right of the pathway, on the wall side. Another woman is walking towards you wearing high heels. The sidewalk is crumbly and uneven, as they are all. Who goes curbside and why?
A. You go curbside. Wobbly women on stilts can’t be trusted near moving traffic.
Q. You are a man, walking on the sidewalk. Up ahead come a group of men your own age. Do you smoosh up against the wall for them to pass, or make them smoosh up against the wall to let you pass?
A. Cross over to the other sidewalk. Period.
In summary – the feeble and the frightening always have right of way to pass building-side, while you risk your life on the curbside. Feebles include; children, women who are your senior, anyone wearing high heels, decrepit old men, and drunks. Exceptions always exist, such as older men who are still fit and insist on chivalry and will yield for women. The road is an option when unsure, but always look first. Or if knowledge fails you, just cross. Lesson is: it may take some practice to get it right. Buena suerte!