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Lack of Spacial Acuity in Poland


BLS 65 | 188
28 Nov 2009 #1
Since moving to Kraków 18 months ago, I have noticed something about some Poles - they seem to lack spacial acuity when it comes to negotiating crowds. I notice it mostly in the large markets - especially during the weekends. And it's people of all ages - not just the older ones.

What do I mean? They seem to shop or walk with little to no regard for those around them. Many times a day, I find myself having to move out of the path of an oncoming shopper or pedestrian who seems unaware that there are others in his/her vicinity. Sometimes I feel I am the only one making any effort to avoid bumping into others.

During the weekends, Tesco and Carrefour are packed with such people - many times I feel a bit like the ball in a pinball machine! The people who bump into me are always polite and say "przepraszam" afterwards, but I would prefer they expend the energy it takes to apologize towards fine-tuning their radar.

Does anyone else sense this or is it just me? Thanks!
Cheery 10 | 126
28 Nov 2009 #2
It's like that here as well... I take a walk and many people come like juggernauts, expecting me to step aside. I usually don't and a few actually bumped into me, telling me to watch where I'm going.... well, they could of done the same.

Also when crossing the street, a car would speed up a bit to coax me into running across... I never do, and at one incident someone actually bumped me. I wanted to grab my leg and scream for the lols... but decided not to.
jonni 16 | 2,485
28 Nov 2009 #3
I have noticed something about some Poles - they seem to lack spacial acuity when it comes to negotiating crowds.

So right. Public transport is the worst. When the tram doors open, people surge for the door, regardless of whether or not people are trying to get off. Or a great crowd of people getting off the metro and making for the exit, almost trampling people walking in the other direction.

Also people walk out of shop doors, head held high, not looking right or left and not caring if people are walking along the pavement.

I don't think that it's specific to Poland, just very noticeable here. The writer Leon Uris once wrote that if Oxford Street were anywhere except in Britain, there would be people bumping into each other, shoving, arguing.
wildrover 98 | 4,451
28 Nov 2009 #4
shopper or pedestrian who seems unaware that there are others in his/her vicinity. Sometimes I feel I am the only one making any effort to avoid bumping into others.

The scarey thing is...these people behave the same way when they get behind the wheel of a car...one of the reasons for the high accident rate in Poland....
Chipmunk 12 | 61
28 Nov 2009 #6
Whoa!! I was just saying this to my husband today! I walk into so many people and that's with me maneuvering around them as best as I can! The buses/trams are the worst, and try doing that with a slow 4 year old on your hand. People have absolutely no regard for the little tyke and many times I have to push to make sure someone doesn't try to just walk between us, while my hand is firmly in his. I can understand if they just don't see him but when there are arms blocking your way don't think I am going to let go of my son in a crowd for you to get on the damn bus. It's NOT going to leave you when there are 6 other people trying to get through the door at the same time!
ender 5 | 398
26 Dec 2009 #7
:-) you live in Warsaw don't be supprised it's the most crude polish city (I read yor threads) BTW Mokotów is my favorite place in Warsaw.
ZIMMY 6 | 1,601
26 Dec 2009 #8
Not to worry; scientists have recently discovered the Spacial Acuity gene and many Poles are now taking their Spacial Acuity shots.

As I've traveled to many major cities, I've noticed that lots of other people seem to lack the same Acuity gene.

My pet peeve is walking behind two slow moving heavyset women who take up all the sidewalk space.
BevK 11 | 248
26 Dec 2009 #9
People actively home in on me, never mind don't understand that people are objects which can impact.

My pet peeve, though, is people who keep walking forward while looking BEHIND themselves then scowl at you when they manage to take some strange trajectory right into you. Eyes are on the front of the head for a reason you know!!!
Magdalena 3 | 1,837
26 Dec 2009 #10
Have had a million similar experiences in London... Someone just keeps walking straight at me, and looks me straight in the eye all the while! And when I try to dodge, they dodge in the same direction, so impact is unavoidable ;-(

BTW, did you ever notice that in Poland, one side of the pavement is for people going up the street, and the other side of the pavement is for people moving in the opposite direction (totally unspoken agreement ofc)? Can't remember which side is which though, I've lived abroad too long I'm afraid! But it is true, and you can check it. So when you walk up the wrong "lane", people bump into you because they feel you shouldn't have been there in the first place and expect YOU to move out of the way. And of course to the untrained eye it doesn't look that orderly at all, it's just that people do usually manage to manoeuvre around each other without major hell breaking loose. Did you notice that it's not really all the pedestrians walking into each other all the time, it's usually a problem only the foreigner seems to be having?
musicwriter 5 | 87
15 Jan 2010 #11
When I was a kid my mom taught me the "right hand rule". On a busy sidewalk you should keep to the right.
strzyga 2 | 993
15 Jan 2010 #12
Yep. Try it and you'll stop bumping into people so much.

Maybe the Brits subconsciously apply the left-hand rule and hence the problems?
scottie1113 7 | 898
15 Jan 2010 #13
I live in Gdansk and there doesn't seem to any preferred side of the sidewalk (pavement). People walk wherever they want. Oh well.It's not a big deal to me.
Chipmunk 12 | 61
20 Jan 2010 #14
:-) you live in Warsaw don't be supprised it's the most crude polish city (I read yor threads) BTW Mokotów is my favorite place in Warsaw.

Yeah seems like it. I was hoping being the bigger city they'd be more open to foreigners.

I do love Mokotów. I go running every night in the freezing cold and everyone generously clears the sidewalks, people don't bug me, and no one is in my way. My son's school is right here and then next year the British school is a hope away. Love the corner mom&pop stores. This I love about Poland, still adjusting to everything else. :)

And for whoever says Polish people don't eat American fast food.. holy hell someone is. I've never seen those places more packed. Those are some serious lines!
bravo 4 | 63
21 Jan 2010 #15
Oh well.It's not a big deal to me.

Thats the proper attitude. I'm Irish and live in Warsaw and I'm sick to death of hearing expats moaning about the same things over and over. I always change the subject when people start this now.

Ive lived in France and Korea and China and expats do this there aswell.....

Change the record.

Also, how annoying to use a word, spacial acuity, and then explain it without being asked. Why use the word at all? How arrogant.
cjj - | 281
21 Jan 2010 #16
Strange this.
My mother always complained about the very same thing.
The Belfast folks who would come down to Enniskillen for their holidays and walk her off the footpath...

Me? I just stop. That forces their hand... or should I say their legs.
jwojcie 2 | 763
21 Jan 2010 #17
I wonder if you were living in some big city previously (or it is really just polish thing)? My experience with blind crowd is that it is connected with big cities. When I first move from my lovely but small town to "big town" then my experience was exactly the same! I just have to be careful to not to crash with others... But in time it just went automatic and subconscious, and now I to don't look at others way and somehow don't crash or (don't bother?) :-)
Harry
21 Jan 2010 #18
Thats the proper attitude. I'm Irish and live in Warsaw and I'm sick to death of hearing expats moaning about the same things over and over. I always change the subject when people start this now.

Ive lived in France and Korea and China and expats do this there aswell.....

Change the record.

Indeed, it is nearly as boring as some expats criticising other expats for daring to suggest that not everything about their new country is as perfect as it could be. Yawn, heard it all before a thousand times.
Juche 9 | 292
21 Jan 2010 #19
Lack of Spacial Acuity in Poland

so true, though it would be interesting to compare Poland with China. On a similiar note, folks raised in the USA might be frustrated here in Warsaw because in the states people don't walk around much...they all drive. Sidewalks are wider too. But agreed, Poles in Public often seem to have this duuuuhh expression on their faces when they are rushing about or otherwise that classis "anal retentive loose cannon in a hurry look out here I come" look.

Obviously in some countries sidewalk discipline is not a problem:
youtube.com/watch?v=VQfV5ZhXpco
bravo 4 | 63
21 Jan 2010 #20
Harry
Very clever harry. Do you see what you did? You took my argument and turned it around. What a genius
1jola 14 | 1,879
21 Jan 2010 #21
People actively home in on me

Good one. Perhaps you are cute as a button.

We Poles are all slightly cross-eyed due to the high intake of booze. This could explain the problem you are having with us and I suggest inebriating yourselves more often. The problem will not be so accute then.

so true, though it would be interesting to compare Poland with China.

Having been to China several times, I must say they are not as goofy as we are when it comes to crowds. Maybe because they are more agile.
jonni 16 | 2,485
21 Jan 2010 #22
People actively home in on me,

It does seem that way here. If you've ever seen somebody middle-aged, who's just bought a new bicycle and hasn't ridden for years, you'll know what I mean. As they're wobbling along, they look at you ahead of the, keep looking at you because they're afraid to hit you, and of course ride istraight nto you.

I've noticed that with people here in PL, not riding but walking. Whether it's because I look foreign, or maybe I'm so beautiful they make a beeline towards me, who knows.
1jola 14 | 1,879
21 Jan 2010 #23
You need to check if you still have your wallet after those bump ins.
John Deer - | 2
21 Jan 2010 #24
Magdalena
hi Magdalena, I live now 3 years in Poland and I can't remember how many times I've seen Polish citizens bumping into each other while there's a space like on a football field. It remains a strange phenomena to us, foreigners. By the way probably I also noticed that Italians of all Europeans are probably the most skilled in passing each other without touching. It's something in the bodyp-language, you have to signal your traject from a little distance, i do believe you can learn that...
Myszolow 3 | 157
21 Jan 2010 #25
What about all the cretins who step into the road and then decide to look and see if there's a car coming?

It's something you just don't see in other places. Maybe while we were being drilled with the green cross code 35 years ago there were very few cars in Poland so it was a bit of a non-issue when you could only cross at a crossing when the lights said you could?

Maybe someone translated the green cross code as STEP LOOK LISTEN instead of STOP LOOK LISTEN. ;)
wildrover 98 | 4,451
21 Jan 2010 #26
Blimey...i would not imagine you would live long doing that in Poland...
delphiandomine 83 | 17,732
21 Jan 2010 #27
I had an interesting experience on the tram today.

I was dozing off (25 minute tram journey, yawn) when someone starts shaking my arm and muttering something. I thought I was just dreaming and ignored it, but yet again, the shaking and the "prosze (something)" being mentioned. I looked at the old bag, utterly mystified, then went back to staring out of the window idly. Yet again, she keeps shaking my arm - and then someone gave her a seat. I can only assume she wanted my seat, yet what did she expect me to do if she was bothering me?

I'm becoming rapidly a fan of charging old people exactly the same fares as everyone else!
jonni 16 | 2,485
21 Jan 2010 #28
e window idly. Yet again, she keeps shaking my arm - and then someone gave her a seat. I can o

Today I was on a half-empty tram. An old bat in a fur coat walked right past a dozen empty seats and insisted that one of the few passengers who was sitting down should give up his seat.

Weird.
bravo 4 | 63
22 Jan 2010 #29
What about all the cretins who step into the road and then decide to look and see if there's a car coming?

You see that's funny because I regularly chuckle to myself about how overly cautious pedestrians in Poland are about crossing the street.
King Sobieski 2 | 716
22 Jan 2010 #30
it happens everywhere...try walking in the city in australia and you're likely to bump into someone who just randomly stops (generally asian) or people walking 3-4 abreast the pavement.


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