The subtle art of not running into people

Students flood the sidewalks during class change on Thursday, Aug. 30, 2018 in Lexington Ky. Photo by Jordan Prather | Staff

You know that dance we all do?

It’s when we’re walking down the sidewalk or street and hundreds of other students are headed right toward us and neither side knows which person will divert from the path first. So, instead of stopping, both of you do a little shuffle back and forth, each trying to politely exit the situation in the same direction. Panic! Yeah, I’m dubbing this “The UK Shuffle,” and you heard it here first.

College can be awkward. These shuffles can sometimes end in weird, distasteful half-hugs with strangers that neither of you know how to escape. Yes, awkward indeed.

There are a couple of things you can do when you find yourself facing this common confrontation. Of course, my favorite is what I like to call “The Miyagi.” When forced to confront another human being in the tightly packed, claustrophobic sidewalks, simply begin meditating. You’ll be uncomfortable, but don’t worry— they’ll definitely be more creeped out than you. Lift your fingertips up delicately, close your eyes, and hum enthusiastically. They’ll get out of your way. Problem solved. Unless you’re in a crosswalk. Don’t do this in a crosswalk.

Another thing you can do is, after a few seconds of the back and forth, look surprised and pleased and say to the other person, “This is already a custom? Our historians had it all wrong. What year is this?” Don’t explain. While they stand in confusion, take the opportunity and walk away while the path is clear. Laugh later.

Something you probably don’t want to do is succumb to the panic and run off the sidewalk into a construction site. Hey, you want to leave your mark on UK, but not in the form of a permanent size 7 footprint in concrete.

Of course, you could just keep doing what most of us do: Avoid eye contact at all costs and keep walking, pretending to intently care about the text you got three hours ago and have read 100 times in similar situations. Boldly run into walls as those before you have so eagerly done— because truthfully, there’s no way around this awkwardness. I was just getting your hopes up. Keep dancing, people.