Avoid CrowdsPosted on May 29th, 2010 No comments
There is safety in numbers.
From a pure survival standpoint you are better off being part of the herd than going off by yourself. Birds have worked this out as have fish and there is strong evidence to suggest that cyclists can benefit from being part of the pack. But aiming for survival is a fairly modest goal and it is not going to take you anywhere special.
Moving on from basic survival, it seems that whatever you do in life, there seems to be an advantage in avoiding the crowds. A good basic strategy, whether you are catching public transport, applying for a new job or even setting up a new business is being different to everyone else.
Here are a couple of trivial examples that demonstrate what I am talking about:
After we got married, my wife and I lived in the central business district and she found that she no longer had traffic problems. Since her office was outside of the city, her commute was always opposite to everyone else. In the morning and evenings she had empty lanes while there was traffic jams as far as the eye could see on the other side.
Now that we have kids, we have moved to a suburban home and I catch the train to work.
There are two trains that arrive at my local station within about 3 minutes of each other. The first is the express and it only stops at 4 stations on its way to the city. The express gets into the city faster but there is standing room only when it arrives and quickly becomes so packed that there is no room at all. It is uncomfortable and annoying.
The second train stops at all 15 stations and arrives at my station hard on the heels of the express. It is always almost empty and I can take my pick of seats. However it takes another 15mins to do the trip. I have made a choice to sacrifice the 15min in favour of a more comfortable journey. I am more relaxed, less stressed and happier as a result. It leaves me in a much better frame of mind to face the day.
However there is always inherent risk in being different, having lunch before or after the rush time is something I have tried and not had much success with. The system is not set up to cater for diners in odd hours. Holidaying in the off season is also fraught with danger, it may be less crowded but everything is closed.
I think the best policy is to always try to be a little different. Experiment with convention and see what happens. It takes a bit of courage sometimes and initially feels a little uncomfortable but my experience has been that choosing not to be a sheep is very empowering. However, there was one occasion where this got the better of me.
I had decided to go to the gym at 3pm in the afternoon during the week. Not in the peak times like before or after work or at lunch but at a time when everyone else would be in the office. I suddenly had easy access to all of the equipment and no one causing me grief. The downside was the guilt factor.
Even though was was making up the time by working later, I could not get comfortable with the feeling of being away at that time or the idea that people “might” be looking for me. These problems were largely imagined and largely due to my personality and probably something I need to work on.