Irony and Sidewalks

My friend Kent, (aka The Talking Monkey) has penned another great piece on everyday irony in Chinese life. I laughed out loud at his rumination on the convergence of irony and sidewalks in Chinese cities:

Take the sidewalks, for example, which are largely unused because folks prefer to walk in the middle of the street in China. Why don’t they use the sidewalk, you might ask? Well, for one thing, sidewalks here are often difficult to navigate because of the trees planted smack in the middle of them. To negotiate the sidewalk, then, requires the elasticity of a Super-G Olympian. Lose focus for a minute and you become an instant tree-hugger, despite any lack of concern for the environment you might have. The sidewalks here are not intended for pedestrians; rather, they are for bikes, scooters and the occasional automobile, as well as Tibetans selling jewelry. The irony is that the middle of the street is often the safest place to walk, primarily because everyone expects you to be there. Ironic? Just a bit.

I can attest to often finding myself walking in the street; it’s just so much easier.

On one of my mom’s 12 visits to Beijing a few years back, she was hanging on to me for dear life as we tried to maneuver down a sidewalk across the street from my place, trying desperately not to fall into the various holes scattered about or get tripped on by the random chunk of cement.

She turned to me and said, “why are sidewalks in the US so nice and smooth and hazard-free?”

“Simple,” I replied.  “Lawyers.”

You can read the entire post here.

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