DEAR MISS MANNERS: I’m in my 60s, and though I have aches and pains, I try to take a daily walk. Often I encounter a robust young lady striding along the sidewalk coming the other way. She always gives me a friendly smile, and seems like a good soul generally, but she barrels down the center of the sidewalk, forcing me into the gutter.
A friend who uses a walker says she has the same problem in her city, but as the young athletes bear down on her, they always say, “Excuse me.” How should we handle this situation?
GENTLE READER: Stop!
A stationary object is easier to avoid than a moving target, and you will be less likely to be injured if you are not throwing yourself into a ditch.
There is an unstated assumption that the object in motion bears the responsibility for avoiding a collision. Yet Miss Manners does not recommend that you increase the chances of your getting hurt. Therefore you will have to display mental, in place of physical, flexibility if you are to escape unscathed. A robust young lady should have the ability to avoid barreling into you -- particularly if you stop as soon as you see her coming -- and may not have swerved in the past merely because you already moved out of the way.