The Rat Man Walks Malls

The Rat Man

There’s an unemployed guy on Queen St (On one corner of Nathan Phillip’s Square) who has a sign out indicating that he wouldn’t mind donations. His catch is that he usually has several rats sitting on his arm. I don’t know if he’s homeless or not, but it’s obvious he’s not in good shape. The rats seem to be his only friends.

A month ago I went out at lunch and took 2 rolls of film around the downtown area. One of the better photos was of him and his rats.

I saw him today, looking more haggard than usual. It’s amazing how you can worry about a total stranger.

I brought him a mini photo album with the picture of him and his friends in the front page.

He looked like he was going to cry.

I hope he does okay. If he cared for himself as much as he cared for the rats, maybe he would be doing better? I’ll never have the heart to ask.

Classification of Mall Walkers

I was walking around in the mall (The Eaton Centre), looking for a card store. It was fairly busy at lunch, and I have to admit to being a little frustrated with some of the people that I saw. I always marvel at Chinatown in Toronto. The streets are packed, but there is a definite traffic flow happening while you walk past the many colourful (and sometimes smelly) booths.

And yet, in an enclosed space with more room to move, people somehow manage to jam up the path.

Let us examine some of these people…

Stop ‘n Go – These are the people who HAVE to stop at every window, no matter what is in it. They usually stick to the side of the path, out of the way of everyone else, and peer into windows. Most of the time these folks never go into any stores. They are just content to window shop. Out of a possible ten for being annoying, these folks are usually a two or three. They would be a one if only they didn’t hamper the path of some others who might seek the path’s edge for refuge

Squadron Quartets – This group is usually comprised of women. They tend to move in packs of four arranged in twos (two abreast in front, two abreast behind). They move relatively quickly, and are quite efficient in transit. It is only when they hit the shops that things slow down, but by then they are out of the path, so it’s not a big problem. One or two out of ten for this group. In their overzealousness to chat and move, they can sometimes bump into you. Of course, this isn’t always so bad, either.

Roman Soldiers – These are usually groups of guys or high school students that walk in a straight line adjacent to one another. They walk, usually six to eight abreast, and pay no attention to the fact that they are completely inconveniencing everyone in their path. Ten out of ten for these asshats. Nothing beats a column of idiots making their way along the path at a slower rate of speed than normal folk.

The Space Cadets – These people usually travel alone, and are deep in thought. Most likely shopping for birthday presents or a gift for a significant other at the last minute, these mind blankers will kind of meander about almost aimlessly. They look this way and that, not really sure what they are doing. These folks are an eight out of ten for being annoying. Their pace and random directionality will stymie the weaver.

The Weavers – They dodge in and out of traffic as they make their way to their destination. They usually have a clear idea as to where they are going, and will move with great speed to get there. I fit into this group. Regardless of traffic direction, they are the fastest mall travelers. However, they earn a four out of ten for all the times they smash into other weavers.

Juggernauts – This group is comprised of folks who weight more than your average person. It’s usually the muscular ones that are the biggest problem, as they tend to strut quickly through the mall, showing off as much as possible. These folks tend to just plough through everyone, believing that it is in the constitution for them to do so. Six to eight out of ten for these folks. They bowl many a person over in their quest to impress.

The Dime Stoppers – These folks will be walking along at a normal rate, and then suddenly stop in front of you. They tend to get flustered and expect you to apologize for bumping into them, seemingly referencing vehicular traffic law. These morons will become irate, and explaining their own stupidity to them is a waste of time. Nine out of ten.

The Dime Turners – Slightly worse than the dime stoppers, these folks will not only stop, but usually turn and walk in the opposite direction without warning. They smash into you and become angry that you weren’t paying attention to them. The anger is also heightened by the fact that the food or drink that you happened to be carrying is now all over their clothes due to their own stupidity. Nine to ten out of ten for being annoying.

If you feel as if I have missed any, feel free to fill in the gaps in the comments!

Have a happy weekend!

4 Responses

  1. Well put, Jorgie!!! These are funny!

    I have another one for you…you can come up with a witty title for this group (you’re better at that than me!). These are the people who walk in a diagonal line, looking in a direction that is different from where they are walking. You know…something caught their eye so they are not paying attention to the direction they are walking and they veer off course.

    Oh and another one is people who use their baby strollers like bulldozers (again, you can come up with a witty title). They plow through crowded areas, running over people feet and bumping into people then give you a dirty look for getting in the way of their precious baby! I NEVER did this when I had a stroller in tow.


  2. Jorge, you’re showing your age on this one. Weren’t you ever a Roman Soldier?

  3. I always think of The Simpsons in regards to mall walkers. Wiggum thought there was a lion in the mall, or something, and he locked all the elderly out from their morning walk, he he he. We had a teacher who did laps in the mall in high school, if only he know how EVERYBODY ragged on him behind his back.

  4. Cat:

    – Oblivi-ones.

    – Stroll-dozers

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