How Coronavirus Turns Walking Into Awking

Today a guest post from the  wife of the Skeptical Cardiologist who has invented a new word for these difficult times.

Because my job can be pretty sedentary sometimes, I try to walk at least two to three miles every day (in addition to my regular cardio). I love Europe – you have to walk everywhere, and so I try to continue that behavior when we are here in the States.

Normally going for walks in my neighborhood, I will encounter occasional dog walkers, or baby walkers, or runners… but not many.

Lately, because of the coronavirus pandemic, it seems that everyone is out walking, even in terrible, dreary, cold weather. I think it’s encouraging that people are so committed to daily exercise now, because it really is so important to stay healthy and positive.

But I’ve noticed a funny phenomenon. Because of the 6 feet distancing in effect, it’s getting more challenging for me to go on walks. I am constantly having to move to the other side of the street or the middle of the road to avoid people.

It’s incredibly awkward because I don’t want to offend anyone and make them feel like I think they are infected. But at the same time, I’m trying to follow the rules and protect myself.

While out walking the other day, I was laughing to myself about this behavior and thinking that someone should invent a term for it. The new word would perfectly describe  “awkwardly & suddenly moving to the other side of the street when you realize you’re sharing a sidewalk with someone coming towards you” (behavior necessitated by a desire for keeping a six foot distance during the COVID-19 pandemic)

I thought of 2 words – awkward and walking, and came up with “Awking“. Then I started to wonder if I could get this on Urban Dictionary (or if somebody had already come up with it.) I looked it up, and there were a couple of definitions for my word, but not the one that I was thinking of. So I looked up how to submit on Urban Dictionary, followed the instructions, and submitted it. Within five minutes they responded and said that my word had been approved!! It’s silly how happy this made me. Me, a humble Gen Xer who is not well-versed in “kids today” language.

My immortal contribution to slang!  ?  (turns out its not so hard to get a word approved on Urban Dictionary, but hey whatever, ha!)

Now you must excuse me…
I need to cross to the other side of the street to keep 6 feet away from my neighbor.

Speaking of neologisms, a few months ago while scanning the blurb on the wrapper of a keto-friendly snack  I created by accident the portmanteau word, farb. Thus far, I have not submitted it to Urban Dictionary.

Neologically Yours,


N.B. The featured image comes from @BDStanley on Twitter. Beatleish lyrics of relevance on that tweet include “We were talking about the space between us all.”



8 thoughts on “How Coronavirus Turns Walking Into Awking”

  1. I found this story very funny because I have the same problem all the time, and it really annoys me. My dog is not very friendly and in my neighborhood people are always Awking on the ‘wrong’ side of our narrow roads (no sidewalks), causing me to be constantly moving aside. In this state, the law says walkers must be facing traffic for safety reasons but apparently they have stopped teaching that in schools.
    Yes, I am Type-A, and like to follow the rules so no wonder I have Afib.

  2. Kudos to your guest columnist who not only identified the experience but coined a word that exactly describes it. She will help me smile as I navigate the sidewalk and the oncoming traffic.

    I hope she guests again, soon!

  3. I can identify with this post, I have been walking as well in the neighborhood and have found the reactions from people very interesting. I am a Gen Xer as well and so while listening to Nirvana, toad the wet sprocket and STP I will encounter folks on the suburban highway also known as the sidewalk. Although I am slightly offended when people look at me in fear, cover their mouths and grab their pets and usher them off the sidewalk, I take solace in the fact they are taking the covid situation seriously (I jest) Seriously though, I think I have had more conversations than I have ever had from across the street. I think people are so stir crazy they will talk to anybody, as long as your across the street 🙂

    I would like to take a crack at farb. Would that be a free carb or fiber carb. Since fiber is not digestible, I have heard it referred to as a free carb and seems to be prevalent in keto friendly protein bars like quest bars, I always fancied the CC cookie dough.

    • I was just listening to Nirvana (Frances Farmer Will Haver Her Revenge on Seattle to be precise) but I keep things confined within my head, ears and AirPods so people passing by probably assume I’m listening to Frank Sinatra.

      You have hit the farb head on the nail my friend. The keto bar listed the amount of fiber carbs (which are OK in the keto world) and as I was describing this the word farbs came out of my mouth..

  4. I was using Bobnweave.
    Also concerned about your seemingly
    composing while walking. This could lead to new traffic laws….would it be called “nay” walking….hmmm?

  5. Thanks for keeping me up to date on the latest jargon….I also had to look up portmanteau!!! So I learned a new word…probably will never use it playing Scrabble….(think of the points!) But what is a farb? A false carb?


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