Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Tips for Navigating Crowded Spaces

This applies to you. I promise. Unless, without my knowing, several basement-dwelling hooligans who order out for take-out and never leave their dark cavernous trenches read my blog about cycling and playing wiffle ball outdoors. If you are one of those readers, thank you! Thanks for not only broadening the diversity of my audience but also thank you for using my blog as a place to imagine being outside.

For those of you who leave the dormant basement behind to participate in societally-normal things like walking where other people are, I have a list of tips and pointers for you.

This was inspired by myself. What I mean by that is I go to a school with 15000 people. At 11:20 when I get out of class at the Southernmost point of campus all 15000 people are out and about. Except the basement dwellers. I need to make my way to the Northernmost part of campus to catch a bus at 11:28. At 5:00 pm, not rushing, this walk would take me 7 minutes. However- in this crowd, at this time, and with these WWU hooligans- the full-campus walk would take in the area of 10-29 minutes. This means I'd miss the bus, get home 25 minutes later, miss midday coffee, starve, potentially perish AND have to spend more time on campus than I normally would. This 7-29 minute walk in HEAVY traffic took me 4 minutes and 12 seconds today. This blog is to teach you how to navigate your college campus, the walk to the bathroom at a club (Hornyfest maybe?), getting lunch in downtown, or pulling off the greatest heist ever.

It is important to know that under NO circumstances do I condone running. Even if you are late. In the case of a bus pulling out to leave, I've perfected the "look like I'm running" walk to get them to wait.

I realize that I've done a lot of geographical mathematics and statistical comparisons. Here's a map of campus to clear things up.
I kid. That's the map of the territories that I'm going to buy to make one large area that I will name Ianland. Pronounced "inland". You wouldn't understand.

Here is an actual map taken off Google Earth of my campus. The red is the path I need to take to get from my building (top of map) to the bus stop. Simple, right?

Here's the map that shows the areas of congestion. Heavy congestion is in blue.

You get the picture. Walking to the bus is like walking through a large circle of blue raspberry airheads.

We all can relate, but we don't often succeed. I've been keeping a list of things I've learned over the 4 years and 1 month I've been in College. There are three things- and one of those is how to successfully walk better than everyone else.

Call me cocky, call me confident, but you can NEVER call me Ian "Mr. missed the bus because I walked too slow and had to wait around for another" Crane. A) Because that's a terribly difficult nickname to say, and B) it is not even true. C'mon nickname givers, at least get creative.

I'm pleased to share with you:

The Top Six Ways to Walk Effectively and Briskly in Large Crowds:

Headphones people. Wear your headphones. This is number one because you can plan on getting offensive through the course of this walk. Your needs are what matter, not any one of those other 15,000 people. Wear the headphones and you enter a separate world. You are motivated by the Civil Wars or by MGK. You become one with yourself and walking in a crowd becomes just like walking alone.

Look ahead of you! Spy where those gaps are opening. Regardless if they are there when you get there, shoot through those gaps. Be aware of people stopping to chat. These are the BEST thing for you. Other walkers instinctively leave lots of room around the stopped friends. Learn to use this to your advantage and wait till the last minute to swerve around the group of stopped people. If your shoulders do not brush, you have inaccurately surfed the friend zone. Lil' Steve is very good at surfing this zone, probably because of his stature.

DO NOT GET OUT YOUR PHONE. In fact, treat people who are walking and texting as you would treat a drunk homeless man wandering the street. These people cannot be trusted with the consistency of their pace. Avoid these people at all costs. Sure, their paths may be good temporarily, but they do not walk in a straight line, they suddenly slow down and they often create more of a hazard then a consistent person to walk behind.

Do not acknowledge anyone. The first rule of speed-walking is to have no friends. (The others have been tips/suggestions. This is a rule).

Straight lines aren't for winners. Walk for efficiency, not for distance. Do not slow down at all costs. Regardless of how many people you impede as you: cut sharply to the left with no warning, veer at a 45 deg angle to the right, followed by a leapfrog over someone who is tying their shoe- do. not. slow. down.

I am a wolf. I'll let you decide which of these animals represents your walking efficiency.

If you walk naked while juggling rotten foods, people for some reason tend to get out of your way.

Now you know.


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