Yep, there's a word for this, all right.
I just did that thing again, this time in the supermarket. Except for the extra added attraction of shopping carts, it was the same bizarre maneuver as always, the one in which we all participate from time to time all throughout our lives.
But what the heck is it called?
You know how it goes.
You're walking down a hallway, aisle, runway, or any space where the act of walking down is essential and inherent when suddenly facing you and approaching in the opposite direction is another individual of the self-same human species. He or she is walking directly in line with your intended trajectory and is proceeding rapidly toward you.
Sensing that there is a conflict of time and space, you both stop. The two of you are now facing each other like gunfighters in the old West. What now to do to avoid the approaching collision?
You move to the right. He or she moves to the right. You move to the left. He or she moves to the left. You move to the right again. He or she moves to the right again. You move to the left, then to the right, then to the left; he or she moves to the left, then to the right, then to the left (take a breath, Perry!) ... and so on and so forth!
You have never been so in sync with another human being's instincts and movements without having sex with them. For a moment you contemplate spending the rest of your life here, locked in perpetual back and forth motion.
At that moment the two of you look at each other and smile. You both think: "We just did that thing again. But what the heck is it called?"
Then the quickest and ablest of the two of you makes a split-second move to one side - right or left - secures right of way, and both of you are finally able to move on and out of each other's lives.
We have all executed this maneuver on multiple occasions. It is performed millions of times each year all throughout the world, even if we don't count the red states. It doesn't matter if you are an oafish clod or the most coordinated athlete in the world. If you've ever seen two gymnasts execute the act, they usually wind up screwing themselves half into the ground before they find a way to eventually get past one other.
But what is this maneuver called? How could it not have a name?
The English language has seen fit to bestow words upon almost everything on the planet. We have a name for the indentation below the nose and above the lip even though no one knows what it is (see above). There are names for all kinds of obscure phobias, like Omphalophobia (fear of navels), Chaetophobia (fear of hair; I fear not having it!), and Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia (fear of the number 666) which by the time you pronounce it, the Anti-Christ has already come.
And there are words to describe bizarre diseases that almost no one has ever had, like Pica (a voracious appetite for paint, clay, plaster or dirt), Palastaie Limosae (mud wrestling disease), and Foreign Accent Syndrome (something all of us could have used in high school French.)
But there is apparently no name for the unintentionally synchronized maneuver in which two people routinely indulge in an ineffectual effort to get themselves out of each other's way.
Can you suggest a name? You may not think it's important today, but just wait another month or two.
"I just did that thing again," you'll be thinking.
"But what the heck is it called?"