Stupid things people are in a hurry about.

On our last trip, I once again had the opportunity to puzzle over what a rush people are to get onto an airplane, which I don’t get. Would you rather:

  • Stand in line at the gate, juggling all your stuff, and jostling for position—or relax in a seat in the terminal, then walk up to the gate attendant when the line is short?

  • Stand in the aisle of the airplane, crammed up against the other passengers like cattle in a chute, getting elbowed and groped, hunched over because of the low ceiling—or relax in a seat in the terminal, then walk more or less directly to your seat, waiting only briefly in the aisle?

  • Belt yourself into your seat early ('cause it’s not like you’re about to enjoy several hours in this exact same position), with your knees crammed up against the seatback in front of you, listening to the guy in the seat next to you having a loud cell phone conversation 8 1/2 inches from your ear, while the other passengers crowd past you in the aisle, smacking the side of your head with their carryon bags—or relax (as much as possible) in a seat in the terminal, until you really have to get on the airplane?

It’s like everyone is afraid that the gate attendant is going to arbitrarily close the door at some point and make everyone who hadn’t yet crammed themselves onto the aircraft wait for the next flight. My husband and I were the last people onto the airplane every single flight, and not once did we get left behind.

Also transportation related: I live on a 2-lane highway. The bus stops along the road (not at a formal stop) across from a trailer park that’s on the other side of the road, i.e. the bus stops on my side of the road. The people who get on at the trailer park usually wait in the park driveway, and only cross the street when the bus appears at the corner. I just wait over on my side, because while it might be somewhat safer to wait over in the trailer park driveway instead of on the shoulder, I’d have to cross the road twice, and I figure it’s all a wash. Not to mention that the first day I got on at the stop I crossed the road, smiled and said hi to the people who were waiting, and totally got the cold shoulder. They didn’t even say hi back. So I just hang out over on my side and admire the wildflowers in the ditch.

I noticed that when they cross the road, the trailer park people always end up closer to the corner than me. The bus driver stops at the front of the crowd, so they get on the bus first. I didn’t give it much thought until one day when something possessed me to line up exactly even with the driveway on the other side of the road. They crossed diagonally, so that they were still closer to the corner than me. So the next day, out of curiousity, I made sure to stand a good 10 feet closer to the corner than the trailer park driveway. They crossed at an even steeper angle so they were still closer to the corner.

Thing is, there are always plenty of seats. My favorite is the one straight across from the rear door, and that’s where I sit every day (when I get on the bus last) but there are always empty seats toward the front of the bus (which is where they seem to prefer to sit.) The weather on the days of my experiment was pleasant—a bit of a pity to have to get on the bus, actually, rather than just enjoying the morning sunshine. So why is it so vitally important to them that they get on the bus first?

Please, share your own examples of people being in a rush for no actual gain.

People taking carry-on luggage onto an aeroplane often rush on first to make sure that they get first crack at the overhead luggage lockers. Waiting around until after the rush could mean there’s no room for the carry-on luggage.

Because the faster everyone gets on the plane, the faster the plane can leave the gate and get on its way?

Because, even if you know it’s not actually going to work, you think that if you do your part as fast as possible, you’ll get the travelling part over with faster?

Exactly. I take carry-on luggage when at all possible, so I am in the mad rush to get on the plane ASAP. If you are one of the last to get on and don’t have to check your luggage, you’re likely to have to stow it somewhere far from your seat, which is a hassle when you’re getting off the plane.

There’s also the fact that, in general, the less attention I have to pay to my surroundings, the less tense I am. I can’t relax with a book in the terminal, because I can either be really into the book, or popping my head up and looking around every few seconds to make sure I don’t miss anything- there’s no real middle ground between those two states. So I’m happier sitting on the plane, because then, even if I’m cramped and being smacked by carry-on luggage, at least I know that there is nothing more I need to do to get on the plane, and therefore no chance that I will miss the announcement or something like that. I know that probably doesn’t make any sense to people who aren’t like me, but that’s really the best I can describe it.

Erm. In retrospect, criticizing a habit that I had observed in the majority of my fellow air-travelers in fairly strong words was not wise, as it was likely that the majority of dopers would probably do the same. I usually don’t have to duke it out for bin space because I end up on mostly puddle-jumpers so my large bag gets gate-checked, but that makes sense.

I really, really doubt this is true. Almost every plane I’ve ever flown in has spent quite a long time on buttoned up on the tarmack long after the last passenger boarded. Usually seems like they’re loading luggage long after they’re done boarding passengers.

Nonetheless, I defy anyone the the bus thing with anything but sheer cussedness. :dubious:

For the airplane question: because I fly Southwest. Those who hesitate are stuck with middle seats. If I’m flying with a carrier that actually assigns seats, I’m in the coffee shop until all but the last few people are on.

The one that amuses me most is the line for Communion. At every church I’ve ever attended (Roman Catholic) there have been a number of people who are clearly in a great rush to receive Communion. They’ll rush up from the back of the church, which turns getting out of pews into something of a scrum. I always find myself wondering what they’re thinking - do they think there’s some sort of time limit? I can only imagine how this might have happened:

JC: “I am the Resurrection and the Life. He who believes in me shall not die, but shall have life forever. But he’d best be amongst the first 50 to get Communion each week if he knows what’s good for him.”

Worked as the company gwailo for more than five years at this largish HK company, an I still can’t work out for the life of me what people gain by running in the office. Just last week there was another accident at the blind corner, involving a flying flask of Chinese tea. Turns out that the boss’s secretary in the pantry had heard her boss calling her - “Fioooona!” - and had raced over. Couldn’t have picked a worse person to bump into, the HoD of Internal Audit Department.

Good news: MD no less has asked to draft a memo to all depts banning running in the office.

Well, a lot of the time I do automatically hurry when there’s obviously no need, so it would be perfectly applicable.

I think there’s a psychological thing, you just autmoatically feel it’s a good idea if everyone else is…

But on a plane, it’s a bit more reasonable. It would be lovely if people boarded orderly without much queuing and there was enough space, but the impression I get from other people’s complaints is that it generally isn’t that well organised, and double bookings and the like occur, and being in possetion of a seat is an advantage. Plus the not-able-to-relax thing.

With me, it’s a combination of the “not able to relax until my part is all done” and the nigh-overwhelming urge to do something, anything after having just waited around the airport (not my favorite spot) for a minimum of an hour and a half.

I often stand in the line for boarding. No jostling, as my carry-on is a backpack I can fit under the seat in front of me (the only way I’ve flown for years.) It’s more that I’m going to be sitting for the next three hours, so I’d rather stand up and stretch a bit. Yes, I could do so out of line, but I might as well do it while in line. Also, I often manage to get myself a window seat (best for sleeping!) and boarding late can inconvience other people if they have to get up and out to let me in.

They’re probably thinking that after they get their cookie, they can leave.

Or are forced to sit separate from their travel companions. :frowning:

What I don’t understand is the rush to get off the plane. As soon as it stops everyone jumps up and starts grabbing their bags, and then stand there cramped in the aisle, or bent over in their seat row, for the next 10 minutes until they start letting people off. You can’t actually move until all the people in front of you are out of the way, so there is no time saved. Could be leg stretching I guess, but I don’t see how standing bent over is an improvement.

I get amused by speed-up-to-the-red-light drivers. I especially like to time my slow down so I catch the green still moving and pass them while they’re stopped.

Ever have to catch a connecting flight with a very short time interval to spare? You just hope that those who don’t will stay seated and let you out first.

On paragraph two, yeah, I’m with you. I just love when somebody zips around me, tearing up the road and then I chug up next to him at the light and since I’m still moving when the light changes, I am actually ahead in two ways: I’ve made better time, and I’ve used less gas.

Heh. Well, I’m guilty of that one. If I have a connection that I consider “tight” (less than an hour) I get awful antsy. I once had a leisurely 45 minutes to make a connecting flight that it turned out had been moved to a different terminal, and I barely made it, and since then I’m paranoid. Between that, and just the general lemmeoutlemmeoutnobodygetshurtifyoujust LET.ME.OUT. feelings after being cooped up for a few hours, I’m usually climbing the walls by the time we reach the gate.

Getting on the plane: It’s all about overhead bin space. Also, I fly Delta Shuttle a lot - no assigned seating. First one on gets emergency exit row.

Getting off the plane: This really only matters to me when returning home. Sometimes there is a taxi queue. If 1/3rd of the plane is catching taxis, first one off with no checked luggage gets first cabs. Of course, the worse the weather, the worse the taxi queue.

What gets me is running to rush hour subways. Unlike my Queens buses, which run on the schedule “whenever the driver damn well feels like coming”, subways during rush hour run regularly. Still, I see too often the conditioned response that if you hear subway screeching, run.

Well, many of the people I observe are suffering from what I call the Center of the Universe fallacy. They give litle or no thought to others around them, even when this regularly results in annoying delays and occasionally results in painful accidents or sudden death. It’s like they are SO intent on selfishness that normal understanding of cause-and-effect and pattern recognition skills become disabled.

So maybe these people think “I’m getting off the plane! Wheee!” and then when they have to stand there, blocked by the other people they routinely do not take into consdieration, sure, it’s annoying, but it’s not worth remembering for next time.

An example of the sort of “my time is more important than anyone else” thinking I commonly see is people on buses and escalators with rolling luggage. A certain subset of them stand up first when the bus stops, or step in front of me when I’m in line for the escalator. Then they get to the bottom of the bus steps, or the escalator, as the first person. Naturally, that means everyone ELSE is right behind them, all presumably as eager to get off the steps as Mr./Ms. Rolling Luggage. So what does this person at the center of the universe do? Almost invariably, theyn STOP walking and extend the extendable handle on their luggage.

Now, they could walk forward and one step to the right and do this without inconveniencing the entire line of poeple behind them, but then they wouldn’t be in front any more. Or they could let others get off first, since they have fiddling to do, but the same problem applies.

So a lot of days I find myself standing on steps, waiting, while some important twit plays with his or her luggage handle.


I always wait until the end to get on the plane as well, but if I’m with someone who really wants to get on, I didn’t used to care much either way. Last January, I had an experience that will guarantee that changed my mind.

I was taking a flight out of Fargo to Minneapolis and they had just made the last call to board. I lined up behind a few other people who had waited like I had. Just before we got on, the ticket agent got a call and told us that the flight had been delayed because of high winds in Minneapolis. They wouldn’t let the people on the plane off because they’d already taken the boarding passes, and they needed to be ready to go quickly, but they didn’t make us get on. The plane was delayed for over 2 hours, and those people had to sit there the whole time.

I spent those two hours in the bar.

What’s with the hurry to exit the freeway?

I’m happily cruising along in the outside lane, at or slightly over the speed limit.
Here comes the lead-frooted driver, right up on my rear bumper, swerving around me, back in front of me and that, zip…

off at the exit ramp we just got to.

Like it would cause you heartburn to slow down behind me, and sit at the stoplight at the end of the ramp for 20 seconds less.