We've all been trapped behind slow walkers — simmering with frustration as they wander aimlessly in our paths or study their iPhones with blind obsessiveness. But if you're the type to barge past these slow-pokes in a fury, then you may have a full-blown psychiatric disorder known as Pedestrian Aggressiveness Syndrome. Here, a quick guide to "sidewalk rage":
What is "sidewalk rage?"
According to psychology professor Leon James, as quoted in The Wall Street Journal, signs of a "sidewalk rager" include "muttering or bumping into others; uncaringly hogging a walking lane; and acting in a hostile manner by staring, giving a 'mean face,' or approaching others too closely." Ragers also have rigid notions of how others should behave, believing, for instance, that "slower people [must] keep to the right" and that anyone who wants to take a photo should "step aside." Hmm, asks Judy Berman at Flavorwire, "does agreeing with these statements make us crazy," too?
How do I tell if I'm afflicted?
If you're unable to calm yourself down while dealing with ambling pedestrians, you may have "intermittent explosive disorder," or an inability to "inhibit aggressive impulses that lead to assault or destruction of property." James has even come up with a 15-question Pedestrian Aggressiveness Syndrome Scale to measure the seriousness of the condition. If you score highly, remember you're not alone — the Facebook group "I Secretly Want to Punch Slow Walking People in the Back of the Head" has almost 15,000 members.
How can I avoid these ragers?
Stay out of their way or pick up the pace. A 2006 study of pedestrians in lower Manhattan found that the average speed of walkers was 4.27 feet per second. Headphone listeners walked 9 percent faster than average, at 4.64 feet per second. Tourists, meanwhile, tended to walk at around 3.79 feet per second. "No wonder we hate them so," says Jen Doll at The Village Voice.