By Emily Utley (The Daughter of Sandy Welch Thompson)

How Can Right Be Wrong?  It can’t when it comes to sidewalk etiquette.  You can’t go wrong with right.

Whether you are by yourself, with a friend or even walking a four-legged furry creature.  The rule should always stand.  There are several personal benefits to keeping with this rule of thumb.  Isn’t is just easier to assume you walk in America, the same way we drive.   You would think that most of us would think it’s the beginning step in the process.

Firstly, it’s just the “right” thing to do.  We all want to get to where we are going, so the expectation of “right” will help everyone stay on track.  We lead busy lives and we want to get to where we are headed.   Nice orderly lines are just not a bad idea.  We have done this since childhood.  Headed to gymnasiums, classrooms, cafeterias, no matter where we were headed, we stuck to this simple principle.

My second point is Safety.  If each person or group would stop taking their half out of the middle, then we could accommodate nicely, the many people headed to various locations.  It would prevent bumping into each other, and especially this time of year – I don’t know about you but I don’t want your germs.  Keeping these lines of direction separate and distinct, keeps YOU from breathing in my face, and prevents the awkward moments of the “excuse me” or no…”excuse me”.

What it does lend is the potential to smile at your passersby instead of wanting to flip them off because they are headed the wrong way, and in the same light…getting in your way.

Of course there will always be the occasional runner.  You know, the folks that cannot wait behind the slow walker, who most likely is talking, keeping pace with their conversation instead of moving right along.  Staying to your assigned side of the sidewalk would allow these folks to continue past you, through the void left in the middle, as it should be.  Sort of a passing lane if you will.

There are folks that are late for class, the person who flat has to pee, and let’s not ignore the fact some people are on their way to puke.  Forcing them to stay around you just isn’t a clean idea.  Am I right?  (yes, pun intended!)

I mention walking your pets.  Pets are walked for exercise, but they are also taken for a walk to relief themselves.  I would bet some of you have ran into a situation where your pet or your friend’s pet, just couldn’t make that 2 foot step to the side of the sidewalk.  Guess who gets a little gift on the bottom of their shoe, if you don’t pick it up.  Let’s eliminate that concern.  Keep them on the right side of the sidewalk and BAM!  They are closer to the grassy port-a-potty than if you meander back and forth across the sidewalk.

I know sometimes, we want to make a family chain of sorts, so we can all hear what we are all saying as we talk about our friends, events, family or whatever.  I’m suggesting you just save that nonsense until you get to where you are going.  You will get where you want to go faster.  I won’t feel like I want to knock you over to get where I need to go, and quite honestly there would be less flipping off or cursing overall.

Not a hard thing to do people.  Walk like you drive – well those of you who do it properly already.  Those of you who do not.  Listen to me.  Without this simple rule followed, there may be an occasional accident sure, and they may not be fatal – then again, it is cold and flu season.  God knows what is airborne, especially this time of year.  Sneezes, coughs, all kinds of stuff out there that could keep you from getting a paper done, a presentation written, a party to go to, or whatever.

We’re poor college students, not all of us have had our flu shots.  I may like ya, but I don’t want your cooties…well unless I actively take a part in giving you permission to give them to me.  Otherwise, stay behind me on the right side of the sidewalk, pass me when the availability is there and make the right decision on this walking thing.  (Yes, that was another play on the word).