sidewalk chicken is a phenomenon that we’ve all experienced. you’re out there in the cruel, unrelenting world without any desire to be anywhere but under your blankets. on top of that, you barely made it out of your office building unscathed what with all the requests for your expertise following you out of the door like a hungry pack of wolves. finally you are free to pursue your lunch quest and no one can stop you. not even the almighty administration can touch you on lunch hour. the only thing working against you now is the general population roaming the streets.
make no mistake: they will attempt every maneuver. there’s the old back-up-into-the-middle-of-the-fucking-walkway-while-in-a-conversation move, the classic babbling human child meandering in circles at random for your tripping pleasure, and the smelly guy who can hear the change jangling in your pocket yet refuses to believe it simply isn’t owed to him. but beyond the standard horde are the worst of the worst. the worst don’t recognize you as a threat to their path. they are walking on the wrong side of the sidewalk, and are headed directly at you. you are nothing to them.
these dead eyed sharks are on a mission, and you have nothing to do with it. you have so little to do with it, in fact, that to them you are a minor inconvenience to be waved away. to them, not moving out of the way is a challenge of wills. they believe they are the train, and that you are the golf cart parked on the tracks. they will mow you over without so much as an apologetic glance.
so there you are. you made it out the door and all the way to the take out place and are headed back, anxious to stuff your face with noms and generally not do anything work related. arms filled with soda, chips and sandwich, you begin the journey back to cubicle space. that’s when you see him. he’s a tall, well dressed gentleman on a smartphone. he’s clearly some kind of business man. he seems ok at first, until you realize he’s on the wrong side of the sidewalk and has no intention of utilizing the vast expanse of unpopulated space to his right to allow you to remain on your side.
you tell yourself that you’re on the correct side. your arms are full of lunch items maintaining a delicate balance. he tells the voice on his phone “no, not this weekend. can’t take the yacht out. we’re auditing blurgy blurga derpderp money financial derp.” his arms are full of egotistical emptiness and shallow material victory. your trajectories lock onto the same point in space as if space itself is expected to bend instead of your wills. suddenly the moment is upon you both, and in a brief moment of rational thinking you step aside slightly, but not in time to avoid the atrocity of actual physical contact with this model specimen of arrogance.
your shoulder bumps into his. your drink slips. the cold bubbly sweetness of cola saturates your shirt as the terror begins to set in. this animal has just ruined your entire day. nay, your entire life, or so it feels. “hey you arrogant piece of wall street shit! watch where you’re going!” you yell in disgust, dripping soda on your shoes and sandwich, but he has yet to even acknowledge your existence, and you have lost this round of sidewalk chicken to a cash hoarding yuppie. next time, you think to yourself. next time you won’t step aside. next time your lunch will be on his shirt. but this time, this time the yuppie wins. one more nail in the coffin of your self respect, it seems.