Have you noticed too how people always stop or wait at the narrowest part of the path?
Someone waiting for a sweetheart or a special friend or their dealer will always choose that point where to do so causes the most difficulty to the passage of fellow humanbeings.
And I’m not talking about waiting under a street lamp a lá Lily Marlene, either. It could be a bollard or a sandwich board or a dustbin.
And they don’t stand behind it where it would act as a shield against people walking and texting — another menace of modern existence. No, they stand inside — between it and the wall — making it hardest to get past.
Even worse are those who stop dead in their tracks as they walk along, or, as a variation, march out of a doorway blindly and then stop.
My ultimate hate are the people that positively accelerate to overtake you in the street, walk in front of you and then slow down, or even stop. If you did that behind the wheel, you could be charged with Driving Without Due Care and Attention.
This happens so often as to be more than coincidence. Why?
I have one theory and it takes me back to the time I used to play hockey — field hockey, that is — at school. I was a goalkeeper and my coach was constantly telling me to “narrow the angle”, in other words run towards the attacking player and block his path so that he had less goal to shoot at than was blocked by a stocky bloke in heavy protective armour and waving a hockey stick around in panic.
In practice, the approaching forward would either swerve around me — after all they weren’t carrying a ton of protective gear — or fire straight at me.
Their favourite target was between the legs. The fact that I’m a now dad of two gives some testament to the mechanical properties of polyurethane goalie goolie guards.
Yet the principle was a sound one — not in the same way as cork ball against box, of course. Narrow the angle. Cut off the opportunity to escape.
And that’s why I reckon the urge to stand in the most awkward place possible must be a remnant of primitive hunting behaviour.
I believe humans, with 10,000 years of civilisation and our must touted urbane ways, demonstrate every day that we are all actually just bald monkeys with a penchant for a meat stew.
When we stand in the most annoying place possible it is simply our primitive sub-cortex making it harder for lunch to get away.
So we’re probably stuck with it. After all, if it hasn’t disappeared after centuries of farming livestock and popping down to Tesco’s for a quick Findus Shergar horse meat lasagne it ain’t likely to disappear soon.
Our only hope is conscious choice.
So of you’re picking a spot to wait for the Missus to emerge from Boots, or you are the Missus about to quit that matchless High Street cosmetic and pharmaceutical emporium, just think for a millisecond. Can you see me walking down that same street?
If so, just get out of the bloody way!