Can I not even enjoy the simple pleasure of walking alone on the sidewalk unmolested? Can I not relish the happiness of having a small patch of concrete to inhabit alone as I meander down the street? Is even that lost to me? Why won’t these tail-walkers leave me be?Tail-Walkers: get rid of these nuisances! Click To Tweet
Tail-Walkers: Personal Space Invaders
For some reason, there’s a class of people on this earth who have no concept of personal space whatsoever. In fact, they seem to gravitate towards and into the space of others, as though necessary for their own survival. This class of people makes it impossible for you to walk down the street by yourself without them horning in on your private domain.
They’ll match you stride for stride. You’ll feel them first. They’re all in a hurry to catch up to you, like they have some urgent personal message they have to deliver. But no. As soon as they catch up, they feel a sudden urge to slow down and walk stride for stride at your side.
But the tail-walkers? They’re the worst. They’re not satisfied walking next to you; they have to walk right behind you, lollygagging a foot or two away, but never walking past. You make a turn. They make a turn. You speed up. They speed up. You can practically feel their breath on the back of your neck.
Do’s and Don’ts of Dealing with Tail-Walkers
What can you do about these pests, and more importantly, what should you not do when a tail-walker is right behind you? Here are a few simple suggestions:
- Don’t stop short. They’re so close and so oblivious to their surroundings they’re liable to walk right into you.
Don’t engage with them. There’s nothing worse than getting drawn into a conversation with a tail-walker. They’ll feign ignorance and pretend they have no idea what you’re talking about, even trying to make it sound like you’re the weird one. Tail-walking? What are you talking about? I’m just minding my own business. Hah!
- Don’t speed up. It may provide temporary relief, but nothing long-term. Eventually, you’ll slow back down to your normal pace and they’ll somehow catch up. Remember: to them, you’re the pace horse. In their minds, they believe they can’t let you get out of sight.
- Do slow down gradually.
- Do veer off to the side to let them pass.
- Without being conspicuous, do pretend to bend over to tie your shoe. Or, copy my classic maneuver: the untie-retie. My shoes weren’t tight enough. I had to take a moment. Let me fiddle with these darn laces for the next ten minutes. How do you tie a knot again? I just can’t seem to make a loop. Use any excuse you can, but take your time.
- Once they’re about a quarter-mile or so past, do start back on the road, but first make sure there are no other potential tail-walkers in sight.
Get Off My Tail!
Tail-walkers are one of the burrs in the boot of life. I’ve given you my prescription for dealing with them. Let me know yours. If you have a better way, I want to know about it.