In search of some awareness in San Francisco |

In search of some awareness in San Francisco

By Jarid Shipley

You will have to pardon me if I seem a little off; I was repeatedly violated this weekend – by strangers.

I spent the weekend in San Francisco with the girlfriend. We ate good food, looked at cheap souvenirs and took more pictures than a baby photographer at Halloween.

So overall, not a bad three days – aside from the repeated violations.

People lack spatial awareness and because of it, they end up violating my space.

For example, the girlfriend and I are walking down the sidewalk near Fisherman’s Wharf, holding hands and lost in our thoughts. She’s thinking about how wonderful we are as a couple and imagining what our children will look like and I’m thinking about how to inject cheese sauce into vegetables.

So there we are, happily strolling along tra-la-la-la when screeeeeeeech, this behemoth of a man – wearing a Walt Disney World Shirt, “Happy Dad” hat with a camera that could see Mars around his neck – stops dead in front of us.

He’s seen a sign and is studying it for hidden meaning – for way too long.

The sign was advertising “three T-shirts for $10.” There, how long did that take you to read, what five seconds? Maybe 10 for those of you who went to a state college.

But not Mr. Happy Dad, he proceeds to stand there, blocking foot traffic with his super-sized waist while reading this sign, while the girlfriend and I, along with the now mounting crowd behind us, are forced to stop and wait for a break in oncoming traffic to go around him.

“Well, if I spend $10 on T-shirts for Ethel and Joe-Jack, will I still have enough for that key chain I wanted? Hmmmm, better get the calculator.”

No attempt to move out of the way, nope he’s stopped and screw everybody else. If we run into him, it’s obviously our fault. This also applies to groups who congregate where people are walking like at, oh I don’t know, street corners.

Yet that wasn’t even the worst example we encountered during the weekend. We decided to bike across the Golden Gate Bridge into Sausalito. Now, both of us are in relatively good shape – my stomach only jiggles a little when I sit down – and we kept a fairly quick pace on our ride.

We are on a path that is only big enough for bikes to go single file each way and is fairly steep, so the idea is to keep going until the top, because stopping and starting again on the hill is like sleeping with biker chicks, you can do it but it’s a lot of work and it hurts later.

So, up we go.

The girlfriend: “Tra-la-la-la,” isn’t this fun, honey?

Jarid: “He-he-he, (gulp) yeah much (gulp) better than a ferry ride. He-he-he, stupid exercise.

Halfway up, scrreeeecccch. This woman from Colorado, or so it said on her shirt, decides she can’t go any farther and stops in the middle of the road – less than five feet from an old-people-on-bikes-turn-out spot.

FIVE (bleeping) feet!

For a brief moment, I obtained a better understanding of the mindset of a serial killer.

Yet the best part – the lemon juice in my wound, the one-trip-only on my buffet – was that they both looked right at me and smiled.

No apology, no acknowledgment, not even an attempt to MOVE.

At those moments, I was so thankful to have the lovely and level-headed girlfriend with me, because she stopped me from violating their personal space – repeatedly.

Which brings me to the purpose of today’s column. I wish to apologize to the people of San Francisco on behalf of all tourists. We are sorry we take over your city and check our brains and spatial awareness at the bridge.

Thank you for not violating our personal space by killing us.

Ever met someone who isn’t spatially aware? Tell me about it on the Party of One blog at

• Jarid Shipley is the Features Editor for the Nevada Appeal. Contact him at or 881-1217.