Which side are you on?

Side of the street that is. I had a revelation a few weeks ago – although to be honest, it’s a little embarrassing that this didn’t occur to me several years earlier (by at least a decade).

I’ll start by admitting that I am clumsy. Even if a doorway were to be 10 feet wide, you could bet money on the chances of me bumping into the sides. It’s just the kind of person I am.

Once when I was coming back from lunch with a co-worker when I lived in Korea, he commented that people seemed to bump into me a lot. He was right – even for a country where the concept of personal space doesn’t really exist, I did seem to get jostled a lot more than most. I just put it down to my general clumsiness. Clearly I walk into people in the same way that I walk into door jams and slow-to-open automatic doors.

BUT a few weeks ago, on the stairwell in the college library I suddenly understood- I walk on the wrong side of the street! It all made sense: People in the UK drive on the left, but here (and in Korea) they drive on the right. As I dodged people on the library stairs, I realized they were coming up on the right, whereas I was going down on the left which, if you think about it, is the same side. (Trust me – I even made my husband act it out to make sure before writing this.) I’d never given any thought to the side I was walking on, but now that I think about it, it completely makes sense that we tend to walk on the same side as we drive, even when going up and down stairs. It also explains why I didn’t get bumped into half as often when I lived in Japan. They walk on MY side!

Subtle cultural differences – they get you when you least expect. So, which side are you on?

Source: cyclinginfo.co.uk

Source: cyclinginfo.co.uk

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8 thoughts on “Which side are you on?

  1. I’m pretty sure I was always taught by my dad to walk on the side facing into the traffic so that you could see it coming. Ditto crossing the road (I’m in the UK). That kind of goes the other way to what your saying. Interesting thought though.

    Oh, and I’m clumsy too. Always have been.

  2. I was taught to walk facing traffic when there is no pavement, too. I’d just never thought about what to do when I was on the pavement itself. That’s where I was running into trouble- quite literally!

  3. people here in Korea walk whereever they like and usually opposite to whatever the sign says and you are to get out of anyone older than you or if they have more people in their group. kind of sucks when you are young and walking alone. means you have to weave left side right side. what the heck!!

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