Everywhere, masses of people walk about – sidewalk, malls, sports arenas, outdoor concerts etc.  They are in close proximity to others also on the move.  Most are aware that there’s a risk of bumping into each other.  To avoid such unintended contact, they must be attentive, able to gauge speed, determine direction and be prepared to change course instantly.  All this appears simple enough and usually it is, but it doesn’t always work.

The process can break down when you and whoever is heading toward you appear to be on a collision course.  Once both of you make eye contact and each begins evasive maneuvers – that’s when it gets complicated.  The problem is that when the other person tries to correct course you do likewise in response to his move.  He then in turn changes course, leaving you both where you started – heading directly toward one another!  In an effort to deliberately regulate and direct movement each of you has become ensnarled in self-defeating choreography that may well end in bodies colliding.  Ordinarily that doesn’t happen.  One of you, recognizing the futility of your effort undertakes a decisive course correction, moves aside and allows the other to pass on by, often either by words or gesture; apologies are exchanged.

Here’s advice on eliminating such awkward encounters.  Upon recognizing a potential collision you must avoid looking in his direction or attracting his attention.  Otherwise, you’re likely to trigger the series of unsuccessful maneuvers previously outlined.  Instead, look away, walk naturally and move forward.  Proceeding thus significantly reduces the chances of physical contact.  Put this strategy to the test – you’ll see it works.

On the surface, this scenario addresses but a minor hazard of urban locomotion.  But recognize its implications for the contested terrain of laissez-faire vs government regulation.  A leap most grandiose you’ll say.  Well, yes, but consider what happened when both sides deliberately tried regulating their movements in response to the other’s maneuvering.  It didn’t work.  Only when each went about one’s own business, disregarding the other was safe passage assured.  But will this settle the original debate about regulation?  I think you know the answer.

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