Wednesday, 19 November 2008


So there's something that remains forever a mystery to me - and for once, I don't actually mean the male of the species . . .

So what am I referring to, I hear you ask? (Well, technically speaking, I can't hear you ask, since I'm sitting in a room myself. So either it's the little voices in my head, or I'm just imagining what you're thinking right now. Anyway, I digress.)

I'm talking about people who can't seem to walk in a straight line.

And not because they're drunk. I know that would be the obvious reason (hell, it's the reason why I can't usually walk in a straight line) but it's weirder than that.

I've noticed this strange phenomenon after years of test studies (ie. having people almost walk into me on many an occasion) - some people cannot seem to walk in a straight line while doing the one of the following things . . .

1) Smoking
2) Speaking on the phone

Both confuse me greatly. I mean, after the physical act of lighting a cigarette, surely you can watch where you are going and walk at the same time. Surely after the act of locating a number in your phone and putting it to your ear, you can watch where you're going and . . . you see where I'm going here? . . . walk at the same time. Why is it apparently so difficult for certain people to do this?

I see it happen so often. I'll be walking along the street and the person in front of me, who was previously walking in a relatively straight time, suddenly starts veering all over the place. Instantly I wonder "cigarette or phone?" It's always one or the other. I don't understand it. I mean, I can send a text message and still walk in a straight line. Surely that takes far more coordination than smoking/walking or talking/walking? No?

Today I was walking home and saw a woman coming towards me and veering back and forward a bit. "Cigarette or phone?" I thought straight away, squinting in the darkness (I only had one contact lens in and my eyesight is more fucked at night anyway) to see if I could tell from a distance.

Eventually I saw she was on the phone while smoking a fag and not walking in a straight line.

A true multi-tasker.


The first thought that struck me as I tried to work out how to get past her without a direct collision was that I had thought perhaps doing both things would cancel everything out. That if you smoke, talk and walk, perhaps it all balances out. Maybe you would walk in an extremely straight line.

Apparently not.

Secondly, given that she was barely pausing for breath during her conversation, I wondered what the point was of her actually having a lit cigarette in her hand at all. Not that I asked. (The lit cigarette could have been used as a weapon . . . )

Sometimes I wonder if I'm imagining things. But it's happened waaayyyyy too often for it to just be a coincidence. Has anyone else noticed this? Or is it just me???


  1. Oh dear, I'm pretty certain I often don't walk in a straight line. I put that down to my lack of balance though, and it's often when I'm staring at something and not watching where I'm going, not whilst I'm on the phone.

  2. what if I'm just a klutz???

  3. yeah, i just straight up don't pay a lick of attention when i'm walking

    do you think smoking and cellphone discussions straighten my gait?

  4. Wow, good call. I don't think I ever thought about this before, but you are so right. Now I am going to pay attention and see if I do the non-straight line walking while on the phone... hmmm...

  5. Wow, good call. I don't think I ever thought about this before, but you are so right. Now I am going to pay attention and see if I do the non-straight line walking while on the phone... hmmm...

  6. I just find that people are retarded and have no spacial awareness. This is partially the reason I no longer shop on the highstreet. If it isn't someone trying to sell the god-damned Big Issue, it's some dozy person walking into me, or stopping dead right in front of me. Ugh! I hate people sometimes.

  7. Oooh, and you play Nintendo DS. +1 for DS lovers! :lol: I need to actually get around to playing more games on my DS and Wii :(


  8. I actually can never walk in a straight line. One morning I was the first person to walk across a snow field on my campus, and I looked back at my footprints to see the strangest weavy line all over the place. Very odd. I was neither smoking nor talking. I also frequently run into the person I'm walking next to.

  9. You know what - i have noticed it! I have also noticed some people - ie, my mother - cannot walk and talk at the same time. I dont mean she cant walk and open her mouth, but she cant walk and have a full blown conversation. Everytime she hits open a point, she stops moving.

    So frusturating!

  10. I am so gonna test this theory out...will get back to you on the results

  11. I hate people who veer off, especially if they have a cigarette *and* you're trying to overtake them - grrr! Also, have you ever noticed how much slower these people are?

  12. Hi :D Well, I can't walk straight and I always hit myself unintentionally with all the pieces of furniture in my house. :(
    I quit smoking..a month ago! (today is my anniversary :D) tht should have given me my balance back, right?
    I am multi-tasked, but I don't pay attention to anything..maybe that's it!
    Or maybe I find bruises sexy :P

  13. I can't walk straight talking on the phone or not. I am way to busy looking at people and watching to be worried about people making fun of me for not walking straight. Although wifey always yells at me for bumping into her when I walk.

  14. My sister has had this issue forever. I kinda wish it was due to a cell phone... She always walks at a slight angle - leaning toward the person she is walking next too. It is the strangest thing.

  15. Augh! Just this morning I slammed into a woman's purse b/c she was walking all wobbly. I just decided that if she couldn't walk (or in her case literally WOBBLE) while smoking then I wasn't moving. I swear, she was bee-lining toward me and I just wasn't in the mood!

  16. Uh-oh. Yep, that was definitely me. Not the smoking anymore, but definitely the phone and the wobbling, and the worst if I'm walking next to someone and talking to them I always veer into them. Sorry!!

  17. Oh, this one's me. If I'm ever asked to do the line test, the cops will be dragging me in on a DUI, even if I'm sober as a nun. I have ZERO balance, even while doing something as simple as walking. No cigarette or cell phone required.


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