Wexting, or texting while talking, has been in the news off and on for a while now. I see it all around me, people who are busy with their cell phones as they walk down the street. It’s happened to me before, but I was reminded again today on Burrard, returning home from errands. A person ran into me, looked up and said, “Perhaps you should look where you’re going.” Just like the other two times, they had returned to their wexting and disappeared before I could formulate an eloquent comeback.
While it amuses me, I do get sanctimonious about it. After all: a) I don’t own a cell phone; b) I tend to be pretty good about basic sidewalk rules (pay attention, stay to the right, move out of the way for strollers, medi-chairs, etc.); and c) it’s the other party who is so distracted they have walked into me (and not the other way around). Today, for some reason, it just annoyed me.
I turned onto my street huffy and self-righteous. Then I remembered that when I lived in Winnipeg (I wouldn’t dare do it on a crowded Vancouver street), I indulged in ralking (reading while walking). Of course, never in winter, but during the other three seasons, I constantly ralked everywhere I went. In my defense, I never ran into anybody or anything – somehow I always managed to sense when I was approaching other people or objects.
Just out of curiosity, I looked up ralking to see if it was a real word. Much to my surprise (or maybe not so much), the Urban Dictionary defines it as “talking about yourself and your interests in a casual manner in which you feel uncomfortable.” Bralking (book reading while walking) is bros talking to each other or a group of bros walking together.
I guess I could simply say that for much of my misspent youth, instead of wexting I gave in to the pleasure of weading (walking while reading).