My husband and I love wandering around our lovely New England towns, especially in the summer and fall. We spent this past sunny Saturday afternoon in scenic Mystic, Connecticut.

While Kevin sat on a bench by the river, I window-shopped along the main street, moving slowly with the flow of foot traffic. I was thoroughly enjoying myself, and then, bam…I ran into the back of a man who had abruptly stopped to look at his cell phone. Even worse, he was annoyed at me for bumping into him! Did he even deserve the apology I offered? Who actually was in the wrong here?

A recent study from researchers at University of Tokyo and Nagaoka University of Technology, both in Japan, showed that walkers tend to move in columns on sidewalks, unconsciously following the paths set by the ­people walking ahead of them. The same study showed that when walkers are looking down at their smartphones, they move unpredictably, confusing those of us walking behind them and generally turning the flow of traffic into chaos.

So now that we have established that there really is a type of sidewalk choreography, perhaps we all need to become sidewalk ballerinas…graceful, polite and very aware of the other dancers in front of and behind us on the sidewalk stage.

I realize that I am not tackling one of the world’s biggest problems here—but sometimes it is the little things that make our days just a bit brighter and easier to navigate!

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