Five people to avoid outside

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Illustration by Aaron Ughoc

Outdoor activities exist as a vacation from our mundane office jobs and the rigorous efforts of school. Rather than remaining cooped up all day, one can explore the outdoors of Portland and always discover something new, whether that be a crow attempting to eat a whole cheeseburger on the ground or a man screaming at the top of his lungs about how Jesus is great and hates the gays. The outdoors serve as a wonder for each individual to find something new.

Along with all the trees and plants, nature brought us…humans. And unfortunately, we must encounter these specimens while we enjoy our jog or walk throughout town. And Portland harbors a certain kind of creature that may be considered…annoying.

First up: Sidewalk Sideblocks. You know the people. While you are casually walking to class, you see them from afar. You can tell from their awkward walk that they pose the threat of becoming a Sidewalk Sideblock. As the distance between the two of you lessens, your palms become sweaty and your knees weaken like Mom’s spaghetti. You begin to move to the other side of the sidewalk—the side they aren’t walking on—but for some unknown psychological reason they go to the same side of the sidewalk as you. Like, I mean, but why? You were trying to get out of their way, and they rewarded you by blocking you once again.

So now the distance is closing and you need to make a move fast. Quickly, you move to the opposite side of the sidewalk. They counter your move by moving in front of you.

“Oh, sorry,” they say. You’re flustered. You had attempted to dodge them multiple times. You hate Sidewalk Sideblocks.

Related: the group of friends that walk in a horizontal line across the sidewalk, and you have to walk in the dirt or on the curb to avoid them. Even though you passive-aggressively continued to walk to the side, they didn’t move. You didn’t want to touch shoulders with such people, so you resorted to walking on the street.

Next up: Mr. and Mrs. Birkenstocks. Oh, for the love of Portland! Why would you pay $100 to look like that? All you wanted was to go for a peaceful walk with your pals, not to have your eyeballs burn at the sight of Germanic shoewear. Oh, the humanity! And of course, they have their iPhones out. Doesn’t that defeat the purpose of being retro?

Now they’re taking photos of their feet in the grass. Who is going to like that? No one! With their untrimmed, organic, overgrown, free-range toenails, they must believe in the natural form of the human body.

“Yeah man, you gotta let your feet breathe. They carry you, you gotta carry them.” They say this without irony as they inhale a succulent stream from their vape pen.

Another person who made it onto the annoying outdoors list: the bicyclist who bikes with their dog and does not appreciate their dog. You see this person, dressed head to toe in a jumpsuit, wearing those biker gloves with the fingers cut out and a pair of slick Nike shoes. Their dog is on a leash beside them, running alongside, happy as can be with their tongue out. Then the biker comes to a stop for a red light (and of course this particular biker does the thing where they bike diagonally across the road when cars are just about to come), and their dog is happily just looking around and wanting attention. You long to give that dog attention.

This biker doesn’t deserve that ray of sunshine in their life. All they’re doing is pouring an entire water bottle on their face, not even acknowledging the happiness bundle. No water for pooch. It really grinds your gears.

Last on our list: Person who picks you, out of all the people in the world, to ask for money, directions, your number, a smile, or anything really. You have headphones in. You can’t hear them while your jams are on. And then they have the audacity to call you rude because you didn’t hear them. But hey, you don’t hear them call you rude, so it looks like the joke is on them!

Even though some people may annoy you outside, the company of friends or just a pair of headphones could distract you from the various people trying to impinge on your fresh air. Happy outsiding!

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