The doors are about to close, run for your life !


In Paris, where I live, most people always seem to be in a great hurry. And the best place to see this is in the “Metro” (Paris subway). Try this : just sit down for some time, inside the Metro, and watch a few trains passing by. Each time you hear the sound telling everybody that the doors are about to close before the train leaves the station, take a look at the passage from where passengers arrive get the station. You will always see, at this precise time, two or three people running not to miss this train.

While most people run a little, or walk slightly faster, just in case they can catch it after all, some of them are running like mad. And I mean “like mad” : it is as if their lives depended on catching this train. Of course, they will get the next train, about 2 minutes later. But it doesn’t matter : they need to catch this one. Or they will lose some time. Time is money. Lose time : no can do. Bad.

I used to think those mad runners were just anxious because maybe they need to wait half an hour for the next train. They don’t want to be late for their important appointment : that, I can understand.

I was wrong. Recently (one or two years, I guess), the bus and metro company (“RATP”) put little screens in most metro stations (and on most bus stops, too) so that you can know exactly how many minutes you need to wait before the next train (or bus). And this information is, most of the time, quite accurate. That’s why I thought I wouldn’t see any more of these “mad runners”, since they could just read the screen and learn that even if they miss this one, they only need to wait exactly 2 minutes. Nope : they go on running for their lives. I guess that’s a little harder to understand…