why you should never run to a bus/train, reason no. 1

26Mar09

People who know me in real life, but especially my friends from college, know that I’m completely against running to catch any kind of public transportation. In part, my refusal to run comes from my own overdeveloped sense of “decorum,” cultivated by my parents, and I’ll go out of my way not to be in personally embarrassing situations. For me, running to a bus has more embarrassing outcomes than good results. If I make it onto the bus, then I’m wildly out of breath and likely disheveled. I generally like to move through life with some level of poise so I find getting onto a bus flustered personally embarrassing. But it’s the best outcome in a bad situation. Far worse is the array of reasons I might not make the bus or train. If I run to a bus or train and don’t make it, then I’m stuck on the street or platform with the people who saw me running in the first place, not to mention the people already on the bus or train who I imagine are laughing at me. This is especially true, in my experience, on trains and subways where once doors close, they’re closed. Bus drivers often won’t reopen doors but if they see you running, they’re more likely to wait. But my personal embarrassment at running and failing aside, the biggest reason I refuse to run is that I don’t want to fall. Several times in college I saw people (mainly women) take off across the quad when it looked like the campus shuttle was about to leave. Some tripped, as you do sometimes; others flipped over ropes meant to cordon off the grass. You get the drift.

In London, I’ve slightly reevaluated my attitude towards running. Making sure you’re on the next bus has a different meaning when a missed bus could add 20, 30, even 40 minutes to your journey, due to heavy traffic causing bus bottlenecks, and the like. Just this morning, I ran to the bus and made it, although then I felt like a fool for being flushed and winded.

Tonight, however, I saw the most convincing reason not to run to a train/subway. I was at King’s Cross St. Pancras, one of the busiest tube and train interchanges. Several tube lines serviced the particular platform I was on. I was waiting for my train and a man ran past me to get onto the train that was on the platform, doors about to close. I don’t know why he had his keys in his hand, but he did. As he ran, he dropped his keys, which then fell through the tiny space between the train and the platform (not the infamous “gap”) and clattered down to the rail. Not only did he miss his train but, at some point, retrieving those keys was going to require stopping trains at King’s Cross St. Pancras at the evening rush hour. Lucky for me, I got onto my train before that happened.

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One Response to “why you should never run to a bus/train, reason no. 1”

  1. I am exactly the same way! I feel ridiculous running to catch my bus to campus, but I do it every so often since they only come every 1/2 hour. I feel like such a dork ;-).


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