Tuesday, May 29, 2007


THE FUTURE OF THE COMMUTING SPECIES

I've always thought of the morning route I take through the train station in the Big City with the rest of the rush hour crowd as a kind of subcivilized gauntlet through which one must shoulder one's way, angling for the narrow opening to the street so as to get ahead in the mob, all the while keeping an eye out for tangential time-crazed rushers swinging heavy, sharp-angled briefcases, dawdlers pulling invisibly behind them those deadly lowdown suitcases on wheels, or any of the other myriad threats to life and limb when everything's wild - and then on rainy days, fate tosses in those suddenly slippery floors - overall, what you might call defensive commuting.

That was until recently, when the station masters finally opened the newly renovated section, which offers two wide and bright new corridors with safety floors right next to the old, dimly lit and slippery corridor, whose narrow opening is endlessly fed by rapids of rush from trains, streets and subways.

No longer would rush-hour commuters experience the venturi effect as wide humanstreams were abruptly funneled into an opening for three abreast! Now there was new space, brightness, safer floors and faster egress staring the mob right in the face-- yet they continued to take the same old dingynarrowcrowded route as always!

When I took the new and spacious corridors for the first time last week, only two other people were in there with me; ahead of us the mob streamed on as before, right past the new openings-- elbowing, edging, racing, fighting for place, when if they took the new routes right in front of them they could have strolled as they liked: casually or quickly, run at top speed, even pirhouetted their way through with arms akimbo and briefcases whirling, if they felt like it, without colliding with another person. It's been a couple of weeks now, and still there's only a couple of people and me using the new corridors; the crowd continues to funnel into the dark narrow opening with the slippery floors!

Which is ok by me in my luxurious private walkway, but I can't help thinking that this does not bode well for the future of humanity.

2 comments:

Annette said...

If it was the only source of human contact I could get, I wouldn't avoid it either!

Bob Brady said...

Believe me, for the so-minded there's no shortage of places to rub elbows, shoulders, various other body parts, though the station is one of the few free venues...