Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Locomotive Psychology

Train stations. They're the perfect setting for a wonderful case study on Type. Now, I revel in the non-traditional - increasingly so, as I continue on my determined journey toward eventual Cranky-And-Proud-OF-It Old-Lady-dom. So, for practical purposes, we'll define "type" here as simply, Habitually and Hopelessly Late, or, Unfailingly and Unnervingly Punctual. (Not to be confused with the Time of Day Types, which are a totally different animal.) Don't fit into either one of those? No worries. It all gets reconciled in the end. Trust me.

So anyway, let's begin, shall we? At the train station, HHL's dash into the place. UUP's stride in purposefully. Upon arrival, both Types squint up at the arrival/departure board. (Please, don't be alarmed. It's not unusual for disparate Types to share one or more common behaviors. It doesn't make you one of Them.)

Back to the arrival/departure board: The HHL's - who've let their attention drift to people-watching, suddenly realize they should have been watching for their train to arrive, and hastily look up to see "all aboard" next to their train. Then they run like mad to the designated track, shouting profuse yet unconvincing apologies to the little old ladies they just bowled over and left in their wake. They barely manage to slip through the closing train doors, then smile smugly, because they made it. This time.

The UUP's - who have been diligently watching the board, have noticed with satisfaction that their particular train now has a track listed, even though it still has another 10 minutes before it arrives in the station. So, they join the ever-increasing mob of similarly-minded folks that are all squeezing through the same one-person doorway/funnel, patiently waiting their turn to go, because, after all, they have plenty of time. As the train roars into the station, the UUP's are the ones already waiting on the platform, toeing the yellow line, and keeping pace with the entry doors as the train slows, so they can be the first ones to board when it finally stops to admit them. As usual.

Now, if you didn't stride calmly into the station, and if you didn't bum-rush the platform doorway, then you probably just moseyed on into the place, and took in the sights, and had a bite to eat, and maybe stopped to watch and listen to the awesome trash can drummers, and then thought you might want to start looking for the arrival/departure board, or whatever. Which means you've probably missed your train. But you don't sweat it, man, 'cause it's all good: there'll be another one coming along in a little while. So for you, this whole Type thing is, like, a Non-Issue. 'Cause really, it's not about the Destination, man. It's about the Journey.

And you don't need no stinking Label.


  1. I'm way ahead of you at being a cranky old lady, but I endorse your striving in that direction.

    I arrived at the train station once, running like hell, only to watch my train pulling away without me. Bummer, since my particular train only comes twice a day, and that was the second time that day. Oh well.

  2. Somehow or other, I have managed to end up with a best friend who is a UUP while I'm an HHL. This is how it works: I dash madly out of the house to pick her up (she doesn't drive) at the VERY last minute, while she has been sitting on the front porch with her handbag on her lap for an hour.


So, what's on your mind?