“Am I the only sane person here?!!? I feel like I’m taking crazy pills!”
Lemmings on Transit
I’ve been riding the transit system on the damp coast for about 2 decades (yikes!) now and I’ve come to realise that most people really are like lemmings – where one goes, others follow. And it doesn’t matter how foolhardy the act is, people will follow, not once stopping to think that perhaps they shouldn’t.
For instance, in the past, I recall people rode up escalators. If you wanted to walk up, you used the stairs.
But, suddenly, everyone was walking up escalators. When did it become normal for people to walk up the escalator when there is a stairwell right beside it? AND they have the audacity to give you the hairy eyeball when you dare to just stand on the escalator. Don’t they know it’s a ride?
The irony is, of course, that there is a set of stairs right next to the escalators which they could walk up but do not. It’s particularly funny when one of the escalators is out of commission (which it often is) and they have the option of stairs or mashing up the crowded escalator. They choose the escalator every time.
Who moved my Scent Trail?
The fact that some people are lemmings becomes particularly apparent when the “usual” route is altered in some way. Like an ant whose scent trail has been disturbed, the lemmings will scramble for a bit before, collectively, forging a new path. Not necessarily a smart path, but a new path none the less.
One day, during the morning commute, the bus didn’t deliver us at the usual transfer point. Not only had the bus stop been moved ½ block farther away from the transfer point BUT the usual set of stairs was walled off. It meant that we had to walk ½ block and cross the street to reach the train platform.
And so it Begins
The first day we all dutifully walked to the corner and crossed at the light. It didn’t take long before the first lemmings began to dash across 6 lanes of traffic to eliminate the ½ block walk. Within a week, ½ of my usual bus mates were attempting the 6 lane dash and some of those lemmings clearly were in no shape to do so. It’s been 4 weeks now and the number of lemmings dashing across has gone up; as has the sound of tire squealing near misses.
Break with the Herd Mentality
I take the long way round for 2 reasons: firstly, I value my life too much to end up on the front end of a truck and secondly, the transfer point is right by a park with some rare trees which gives me a chance to stroll beneath them. In the end the lemmings may be saving a few minutes by doing the six lane dash but I arrived far less frazzled.
Silly lemmings, they’re missing the blooming of an Empress of China tree.
Ah well, more for me.