Tuesday, February 07, 2006

amtrak and the joys of social norms

I was reminded today of a minor bout of happiness to be back in the US feeling at Penn Station in New York. I love travel, and there are lots of place in the world I'd be happy to live, but I had just returned from a ski trip in France where we were constantly aware that lines were always mere formality, that without careful vigillance, whoever was behind us at any given point in line, would inevitably wind up in front, to the point that I got into childish name calling with some Aussie. The utter disrespect for lines is mirrored almost everywhere you go (with perhaps Japan and the UK being exceptions).

It really is a silly thing, but standing in Penn Station in January, in a crowd of well over a hundred people waiting to board the train to Boston to a stressful set of 20 interviews that may well determine the course of my life, I was amazed when the track number was announced to board the train, the massive crowd of people instantly coalesced into an orderly single file line. Simple things.

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