To the Right, To the Right


When does common courtesy overlap with common practice? DOES IT? I have questions. There is a simple yet legal precedent to driving, whereas if you are moving more slowly you stay to the right and the left is for passing. We all know this, whether we practice it or not is another story. I have lived my life interpolating this rule of thumb to all other MOVING actions. On the sidewalk I stay to the right, on a walkalator in an airport, in a hallway, on a moving escalator. To me, it seems appropriate everywhere someone is either, in a hurry, just moving faster than other people by nature, or on fire… It just seems polite to let someone pass!

And this is where my rant begins. Nearly every day in Penn Station there is a “scene”. Yesterdays involved a non-descript man, saying “excuse me” in a non-descript tone to a woman standing on the escalator on the left. The onslaught that ensued was ridiculous. Her shouts of “if you wanted to walk you should have taken the stairs”, seemed a little excessive. I will admit I have been that person on more than one—or one thousand—occasions. That virtual conga line on the left of the escalator, with everyone trying to save a minute or a few seconds to catch a train is not a new phenomenon. But I just can’t get used to the angry “escalatee” who finds stepping to the right some sort of infringement on their civil liberties.

Where is courtesy, kindness, common sense? I think if an 18 wheeler was barreling up behind her while she was driving her car on the highway, she would get out of the way. Though in this case, there is an extreme possibility she would have had something to say about that as well.

I hear the arguments all the time. Those who say it is common practice, EVERYWHERE to simply step to the right and let people pass, and those who just complain that escalators are for standing still while it moves, and if you want to walk to use the stairs. As for the latter, that is all well and good with me…just stand your inconsidedrate butt on the RIGHT. Problem solved. 🙂


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