Friday, October 29, 2010

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Have you ever been so paralyzed with fear that even though you want to stop, you can't?

A few days ago, as I was walking to chemistry lab, I had such an experience. I was almost in front of the entrance to a building when a bunch of people came out. My ill-timed departure from my dorm had me walking in a mass of students who were just let out of class.

That isn't the scary part. I don't have crowd-ophobia, I just would rather walk unhindered without being pressed in on all sides by foreign bodies. I like my space, you know?

Anyway, at the head of the burgeoning crowd was a small herd of rather large football players. I mean, it was like walking into a forest full of Sequoia trees or a tiny gathering of elephants or giraffes around a watering hole. Those boys are huge! I know they aren't twice as tall as I am, but it sure feels like it when I look up. And of course some of the linemen's legs are almost as big as I am wide.

Needless to say, I felt very small and squashable near them. Not having a very good escape route also added to my paralyzed-yet-still-moving moment. The guys had walked in such a way that there were tiny gaps between them. I could tell that I would barely be able to fit through them, but it would take some skill. I don't intentionally like bumping into people.

For a few seconds though, I was mentally paralyzed out of fear. I wanted to stop and be like a rock in the middle of a stream or a tree in the forest that every creature must walk around. I never actually stopped. I was more like, should I stay or should I go?

I hope you don't take this post as any kind of admission that I am afraid of big football players. I am not. I mean, I used to take pictures at high school football games and had to avoid being steam-rolled a few times (and yes I know, college players are much bigger than high school players). I have also watched one college football game from the sidelines with no problem.

A few weeks ago, I had a similar moment as the one above, only this time it involved a bicyclist. I was about to cross the pedestrian bridge when I heard the bike coming from the other side. I looked up and realized that we were on the same invisible line/path. Oh no! I was too close to the wooden rail to move to the right, and if I moved to the left toward the concrete pillar, he would have had no room to maneuver. There were too many people to my left and not enough time to get out of the way. Should I stay still and let him figure it out, or do I try to move?

I don't even know how it happened but I just barely moved in time for him to come through without hitting the concrete pillar, the other people, and me. As a side note, though, I should add that he was going entirely too fast over the bridge. It's common sense that foot traffic is rather high, and the width of the bridge can only comfortably accommodate 4-5 people, less if there is a bike involved. Basically, he was being a jerk. No consideration for the rest of us!

After my horrific incidents of terror were over, I experienced different emotions. It was more of a general sense of wonder after the football player moment, and I was just plain annoyed with the bicyclist.

There is no point to this post, other than to share my near death experiences with you. I hope you avoid bicyclists, and I hope that you find your way through a crowd of football players.

*Note - the UT football pictures I took are from "media day" 2 years ago (the last season Fulmer was head coach)...I'm not entirely sure who is still on the team! I'm a terrible fan, I know.

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