Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Ferry Language

This morning I was sure I'd miss the ferry because we left the house at 6:52am. That usually means certain ferry death.

"It all depends on the lights," David said, "and that slowpoke in front of us."

Sure enough, the lights changed in our favor and we made it to the final light in 8 minutes, it usually takes about 12 to get to the ferry.

Then came the homestretch: the ramp and parking lot outside the ferry terminal. My eyes quickly scanned the crowds. People leisurly walked down the hill, some even still standing at the coffee shop.

"Oh GOOD, " I breathed in relief, "I'll MAKE it."

The ferry people move like a herd, or like a school of fish. If one person runs, we all run. If one person who looks like he's done this a thousand times walks slowly, we all walk slowly. If he's confident, I'm confident. Maybe someday I'll be that confident person who people watch.

Then there's the person who refuses to run, even if everyone else is making a mad dash to the boat. This person drives others insane, and they weave and dip around this walker like a running back on a football field, only this time, the brown paper lunch is the ball.

I know it's time to get off because people start moving to the front of the boat. The "early getter offers" like to stand out on the bow like Leonardo DiCaprio in Titanic. The closer you get to the railing, the sooner you'll get off. I've never understood that mentality. I'd much rather get off a little later than stand in the freezing cold with my hair blown around. To each their own.

My final ferry thought today is about this supposed "high-speed" Internet that I pay a sum of money for every month. Sometimes it takes me 10 minutes just to log on. Other times it doesn't even work, and I sit here thinking bad thoughts about the blank screen in front of me. If I'm going to PAY for it, ....then it BETTER work.

I'm glad to be on the cattle car this morning, the sunrise was stunning. I knew because everyone turned to look at it, poking each other and pointing. Us commuters never get tired of the beauty.


Paula said...

It is very funny that when people don't choose to consciously do otherwise, they instinctively follow each other like cattle. I see this all the time getting off at 185th, if I am going to make a left turn. There are two turn lanes. Sometimes, everyone follows the car ahead into the right lane - maybe 20 cars in line! - while the left has 2 cars. Isn't anyone paying attention? So funny! I guess our instincts default to the Herd. By the way, loved your descriptive imagery as always. The next Barbara Kingsolver, I tell ya!!!!!

Colleen said...

Hahaha! This is a great story. I know exactly what you mean with the people following what others do. Sometimes... just for fun... I'll point up into the sky (at nothing) just to see who'll look. Sure enough... heads tilt.

Travis said...

I had the same thought about the sunrise this morning. When I took Sadie out it was still dark...but by midwalk...I could see the pinks and blues brightening over the cascades...amazing.

Dan-Eric Slocum said...

You've TOTALLY inspired me to do some riding on the Washington State Ferry System to observe some of the people. I may just take a day and ride ferries all day long to get some good stories.

It sounds so wonderful from a *people watching* standpoint. And as you know, for the next year, that's my job.

Great post, Kristin. As always.

Sue said...

Yes, nice post, Kristin. Love your observations. Thanks for reminding me that there are more people to watch than just Sweet Pea.