Some months ago I read a post on Twitter (which of course I can't find now. Sigh.) written by a woman who noticed that men would often expect her to step aside if they were on a collision course on the street or in the hall or whatever. So she tried an experiment where she just...didn't step aside, and reports that men would just crash into her.
And this is disturbing. Disturbing because I find it all too easy to believe her, and then disturbing because I have to look at my own behavior. Do I do that? Do I expect other people to stand aside, to give way when I'm walking? I'm not a small man and I can be physically clumsy; do I just barrel through?
The problem is that it's hard to remember things that you did without thinking. I sure hope I don't behave like this.
So I started watching myself walk. But of course, since I was paying attention, I was doing it right; I was giving way to others when on a collision course. I realized fairly quickly, of course, that just giving way to women is a good start but what does it cost me to just step aside in all cases? Maybe twenty seconds a week? I can afford that.
So now that's my new habit. I don't worry too much about right of way when walking, I just be sure to step aside. I sincerely hope that I wasn't one of those men who just walked through women and expected them to make way; I'm much more sure that I'm not one of those men now.