Stepping Aside

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You know what I hate?

I hate it when I’m walking down the street or an aisle in a store and someone is walking towards and I just instinctively move out of the way to let them pass. I do it to be courteous, but what I notice more often than not is they don’t do the same for me. They don’t make any effort to make room for me to pass as well. I’m the one that does all the work. If they are walking down the middle of the aisle, they stay in the middle and I have to scrunch up just to avoid a collision. It’s as if they are royalty and I’m the lowly peasant who needs to grovel as they stroll by.

It’s even worse when there are two or three people walking side by side. They don’t even try to move. They don’t go single file. They don’t even smile and say excuse me. They just keep walking side by side as if I’m not even there. For some reason either they don’t care or they somehow just know that I’m the one who will move.

For the longest time I wondered why they don’t even try to make room. Is everybody just rude and arrogant? Does nobody perform a common courtesy anymore?  And then one day I figured it out. They don’t move because somehow they know I will. From the moment we make eye contact yards away and I start making the move, I must send them some nonverbal message that I’ll concede and they don’t have to do a thing.

In other words, it’s my fault. I must somehow show them that they are more important than I and I just move unconsciously. Oh sure, I tell myself that I’m just being nice, but that is not how I feel. I feel like I am a worthless pathetic loser, a wimp, an quivering fool who does not have enough confidence to look people in the eye as we pass by. And I hate that I just do it without even thinking.

And you know what’s worse? I hate that I even care about it. Why does it bother me whether they move of the way or I do it? We both have to get by, why do I take it as a personal insult or worse, a personal failure to be the one who has to move? Why do I make myself feel like I am inferior because I decide to be nice?  I hate myself for doing it, I hate myself for caring about it, and I hate myself for feeling bad about it.

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