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On people, and crowds

I’m currently waiting for Excel to crash, so this gives me some good rant time.

I’ve had some time over the past few days / weeks to observe some strange behaviour: people in crowds. Now, it is a well-established fact that the intelligence of a group of people exponentially drops with the size of the group, but this isn’t what I mean. I’m referring to the way in which one individual’s actions can sometimes be completely logic-defying when in the context of a group situation. Most of the times I’ve observed this, I happen to have been travelling on a train, going somewhere.

For example, I was on a train travelling back to London from Manchester on a Sunday afternoon. For those that don’t know, this isn’t exactly a quiet time of the week for this particular route and the train was fairly full. The first strange thing that happened was that everyone got out of their seat and piled towards the door about 10 minutes before the train got anywhere near Euston. Strange, irrational, but not entirely unexpected. What was shocking was the person who decided that the best thing to do in an environment of around 50 people trying to get out the door was to dump his luggage on the platform right in front of the door and then fight his way back inside. From my position back in the queue of people trying to get off, this appeared to happen at least twice, the final time I saw was when I was attempting to leap onto the platform to find the guy seemingly surprised that there were all these people behind him, obviously not being courteous enough to let him get all his bags off before anyone else.

Madness occurred again, this time on the tube on my way to work. I had a weekend bag with me as well as my work bag, so I was taking up slightly more space than the average person. I should explain that my tube journey every morning is between London Bridge and Canary Wharf, and that you can be pretty sure that of all the people on the tube between those two stations, 80% of them got on at London Bridge, and 95% of them will be getting off at Canary Wharf. Therefore, when one particular person who was sitting down decided to stand up and push past absolutely everyone to get near the door so they could get off at Canary Wharf, everyone was a little annoyed. Me more than most, as I had to manoeuvre my bags around myself and the other nice patient people as juggernaut-woman came crashing through.

Am I being petty? Probably. But you see, I hate it when people don’t engage any common sense and then promptly take hugely disruptive action which only seems to achieve the goal of pointing out to the rest of the world that they’re not really thinking straight.

I think Excel has decided it has now, properly crashed. I shall try to resurrect it, but I’m not optimistic.