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You’re Going the Wrong Way
by Jerry Guarino

I arrived at the YMCA early one day and walked up the stairs to the track. About a half dozen seniors were already there walking clockwise. But they were walking the wrong way! On even days walkers were supposed to walk counterclockwise. When I started to walk the correct way, I passed several walkers coming my way.

“You’re going the wrong way.”

But no one paid attention to my pleas. After a lap or two, I decided to reverse course and walk in the same, wrong direction as everyone else. I passed people and warned them.

“We’re going the wrong way.”

But no one paid attention.

Thinking I had landed in an existential French novel, I tried to reason with each person I saw. So, even though we were all walking in the same (wrong) direction, I was the only person upset by this. Maybe I was mistaken. I checked the date on my iPhone. No, this is the date that we walk counterclockwise!

Well, this was too much. I left my morning walk early and complained to the reception desk.

“Walkers are going the wrong way! I tried to tell them but no one cared.”

No one at the reception desk cared either! Now, I was sure to be in a Kafka or Camus novel. What do you do when the world is going backward and you can’t convince people otherwise? Why is this happening?

So, I went to the grocery store. It continued there. People were going through the clearly marked aisles in the wrong direction. During Covid, grocery stores marked aisles as one way to minimize contact with others. Now that the crises had ended, most people still followed the arrows; it did reduce congestion, especially in the bread and coffee aisles. I tried to correct the situation.

“You know, you’re going the wrong way.” A woman just looked at me and sighed.

“What does it matter?”

“It matters because it’s better. Less congestion when someone stops to browse. More freedom to move.”

The woman rolled her eyes and moved on past me, in the wrong direction.

At this point, I had to reevaluate my position. “Did it matter? After all, my vacation is coming up and I can get out of this meshugenah country for a while.


I woke up early after a good night’s sleep to the sound of birds and sheep. I had breakfast in the country inn and then set out for a day of sightseeing. My little Fiat car was just perfect on these narrow ancient roads. Opening the windows and smelling the country air, I put the car in drive and headed out on the cobblestone road. I turned on the radio and The Beatles’ Get Back came on. Hmm?

Suddenly, there were loud horns and people yelling at me, but I couldn’t hear what they were saying. I nearly hit a red double-decker bus. A police car beckoned me to pull over. The bobby came to my window.

“Is there a problem officer? Did you see that bus almost hit me?”

“You’re going the wrong way.”

You’re Going the Wrong Way by Jerry Guarino
Copyright July, 2023 – All Rights Reserved