Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Walk Overtaking and why we kick stones

Walk Overtaking and why we kick stones…
Walking is the means of reaching our destination by foot. While walking, some people tend to walk faster than others. Different people walk at different speeds at different times of the day.

Overtaking is the phenomenon by which, a person walking behind another is found to be ahead of him at a different instance of time ahead of the current. In a more geekish sense, the position of the two people is swapped over time and distance. We are very familiar with the  way vehicles overtake one another on the road. A lot of this overtaking pattern is seen to be similar with the way humans overtake during walking.

Some people find it in-acceptable to suppress their walking speed just to adjust to the people ahead of them. Some find it thrilling to be ahead of another person. While overtaking a pedestrian, the “left-to-right ratio” calculated by the distance available to overtake from the left divided by the distance available to overtake from the right, is a very important factor. In most situations, this factor alone decides which side a person gets overtaked while walking.

To prevent a person from overtaking you, make sure you try to block him on the side of you whichever is of larger distance.

There generally is a lot of hesitation when it comes to overtaking a handicapped person, because, even if you are successfully able to overtake him, there lays a sense of pity and un-satisfaction. Most people prefer to walk side by side or take an alternative path if feasible.

People don’t care if small children overtake them. However, older people don’t like it when adolescents overtake them, due to the mixture of helplessness and envy.

Overtaking a pedestrian by running past him is viewed in a totally different way. Firstly you make it very clear that you are going to overtake so a path is made clear. Since walking and running are considered different activities, nobody cares if you get ahead, because it can’t technically be a competition.

We are born with this instinct to overtake. Even if we don’t have anybody to overtake while walking, we tend to kick stones on the pavement, observe the path taken by the stone, try to catch up with the stones motion and tend to repeatedly kick the stone over and over till one of the following may happen:
·         We reach the destination
·         We have someone else to overtake
·         The stone gets kicked off into some un-retrievable region.

I remember a day when I had kicked a stone all the way from my school to my home. Most people discover kicking the stone as an activity by themselves. It is fascinating how an extremely irregular stone can take seemingly predictable trajectory.

Though the habit of kicking stones as we walk lasts only for a short time, every once in a while, if we find a large stone in the middle of a road, we tend to not be able to resist the idea of slowly kicking the stone over to one side of the road.

Like I had mentioned in the blog on ‘Advice Proximity Effect’, gender, age difference, posture and height play a very important in overtaking mechanism. However, additionally facial expressions, mood of a person, choice of arena, level of urgency we can determine the success of overtaking.

Mood is perhaps the biggest influential factor and can cause a person to participate or give up in this overtaking activity:
Case 1: Consider the scenario, where you have had a good night’s sleep, had a great breakfast and have left home early-enough to reach the destination. This is when you feel that no force on earth can stop you, and you find yourself overtaking the most number of people.

Case 2: On the contrary, suppose you had a very bad day for reasons that can be due to one or more of the following incidents however several others not mentioned in the list can also be a reason for having a bad day:

·         You have been working all day and are very tired.
·         You got you test results and are not happy.
·         You broke up.
·         You did not get a certain expected output.
·         Your dog died.
·         Your best friend has left school.
                                                            …

In such scenarios, you feel like you don’t need one more competition to judge your talent and seem to give up on an opportunity to overtake a person while walking.

If the mood has been bad, due to a combination of the above mentioned reasons. Then you may even lack the concentration to walk, let alone overtaking or kicking a stone along… We can see this beautifully illustrated in the movie ‘Jab We Met’.


Anger is one more serious factor influencing kicking stones... If you are angry on one more person, each time you kick you sometimes can see the the persons face on the stone just before your feet touch the stone (^_~). It does depend on the level of the anger. If you are in some kind or irrational wrath, then you tend to look at the world around you just as i have described in the sad mood part.

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