How to Use Stairs in a Metropolitan Area (Even If They Move!)

The world of walking can be a scary place. Just ask babies, who postpone walking out of fear and not motor function maturation, as scientists would have you believe. The danger of putting one foot in front of the other gets even more imminent as the population increases and familiarity decreases. This explains why tourists visiting highly populated areas are so fucking stupid. Look, I made a graph:

I spent way too much time making this graph.

In order to try and curb this loss of brain function, I've decided to outline the area I think needs the most work when it comes to walking: stairs. Please note that these suggestions-to-live-by obviously exclude those who are not able-bodied. It's also important to note that just because you are native to a large city, does not mean you're exempt from today's lesson. Some of you are stupid too!

Stairs: You Climb Them

This is pretty basic. When you use the stairs, walk forward by placing each foot on the step in front of you. Sometimes these steps go up and sometimes they go down. What you don't do is significantly slow down or stop altogether when you reach the first step. These are stairs. You've done this before. Do not panic and just keep fucking walking. There should not be a clusterfuck of people waiting at the bottom/top of the stairs because you forgot how to walk.

The Rules of Driving Apply

Provided you are in a country where people drive on the right side of the road, such as the U.S, you must walk on the right side of the stairs. If you're in a left-side-driving country, then the opposite is obviously true. If you are from the U.K. and visit the U.S., you must follow the rules of our roads and vice versa. If you're going to walk on the wrong side of the stairs and force everyone to collide with you, I expect you to drive that way too. Good luck!

Landings Aren't for Landing

And neither are the stairs themselves or the area right before and after the stairs. I know that cell phone service sucks, for the most part, when you go underground to use public transportation. Do you know what that means? You should finish your unimportant phone call/posting a photo of your cat to Instagram/sexting your boyfriend BEFORE you decide to begin your stair-y adventure. If you need to wait for somebody, the stairs are not a good place to do that. If you've just gotten off the stairs and have not figured out your bearings yet, walk a couple feet before you pull out your compass and/or check the skies for the North Star. Don't stand right at the top or bottom of the stairs, waiting for someone or looking like a lost idiot puppy, only to have innocent people ram helplessly into your back over and over again. And do not, I repeat DO NOT, throw them shade when they run into you. You're the problem, not them.

Moving Stairs: Same Rules but in Motion

The thing about escalators that makes them different are twofold: they move and everyone on them is going the same direction. You may think that this means you can stand anywhere on the escalator and ride up, carefree with the wind blowing in your hair. You would be wrong. Some people, for whatever reason that is none of your business, also walk up or down on the escalator rather than just standing in place and letting the next floor come to them. Perhaps they're late for something or dig the extra exercise. Whatever the reason, nobody deserves to be trapped when trying to get somewhere. The left side of the escalator is for walking while the right side of the escalator is for standing and being a lazy bum (like me!). Do not stand on the left side and do not try to walk on the right side. You will fail miserably on both accounts. It seems that while 100% of Washington, DC has figured this out, only 80% of New York City has. All it takes is one dope standing on the left side to block everyone from their destination. Don't be that guy.

If you don't want to follow any of these rules, that's fine...but I'll push you. I really will. Hard. I think that's really all I have to say. Maybe I'll also throw in a general "Try to be aware of those around you and understand that you're not the only person on this planet." just for good measure. Any questions about walking are welcome in the comments!


  1. A++++ post

    this is also a problem in LA

    but not in london, where they all know how to use the stairs / escalators

  2. Thanks! And ya, some people seem to just ~get it~ in certain cities.

  3. I am dying! this is hilarious and also totally true. There is only place in my town the has an escalator (macys) and I don't even bother trying to use it because people CAN NOT grasp how to use them.
    I just haul to the back of the store and use the elevator.

  4. I don't blame you! It's the absolute worst.


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