Thursday, April 1, 2010

Spring Break on Campus

I've been enjoying a refreshing route change on my way home from the office this week, riding across the Boise State University campus. (The home of the world-famous blue turf, over at Bronco Stadium.)

The route is almost exactly the same distance as my normal route (4 miles roughly), and the scenery is arguably better. I ride through downtown (in a bike lane mostly), then through a lovely riverside city park (Julia Davis) and over a footbridge to the campus. Up a gentle hill, and homeward.

Under normal circumstances, I generally avoid the route... because of the on-campus foot traffic. At the time I'm normally headed home (5:15, give or take), pedestrians are thick. And they'd normally be fine; I can easily slow to comparable speed and mesh in a harmonious fashion.

EXCEPT WITH THE CELLPHONE PEOPLE. I swear... the minute class is out, at least 80% of those college kids are punchin' the buttons on those phones and yammering away. And a meaningful percentage of them are wandering bovine-like, with no apparent direction or destination, and with a bovine-like expression on their faces. Mooooo!

If you doubt that using a phone has a negative impact on the navigational skills of at least some people... take a walk on the Wild Side, between classes on campus. (I bet you'd see people walking into posts, bumping into each other, etc.)

[It doesn't seem to affect everybody that way. Some folks are talking, and heading in a definite direction, and even paying attention to their surroundings, all at the same time. Perhaps an aptitude test should be administered... because I'm not comfortable with the notion of the cellphone Cow People behind the wheels of their cars.]

3 comments:

Aaron Mabey said...

Being a student there on campus, I know what you're talking about. However, I see things a little differently. I find it almost to be a dance. Everyone is doing their own thing, mostly oblivious to everyone else, but things move with a certain understated harmony. I honestly feel that there is a certain chaotic beauty to it all.

Bikeboy said...

Aaron, your more positive viewpoint is noted and appreciated.

Would it be accurate to compare it with, say, a terrarium full of hamsters or white mice? Or a roomful of those battery-powered toys that go in a straight line until they bump into something... then change direction and go again to the next obstacle? Or bumper cars? That's what it reminds me of.

Pedestrians get a pass - if they are endangering anybody, it's only self. The same can't be said for motorists. (As a transportation cyclist, few things make me as uneasy as motorists distracted by their electronic doodads.)

Aaron Mabey said...

I would liken the movement more to one of those giant flocks of birds. Thousands of birds (people) all doing their own thing, but they seem to avoid hitting each other or causing excessive trouble for anyone else.