Elevators and Escalators

When I commuted to work, back and forth on the buses, trains and subways in Toronto, I remember how annoyed I would feel about people who behave like farm animals, sheep and cattle, following a herd mentality.

You’ve seen it. Everyone gets off the bus and goes into the train station. At the first door they all stop and each one goes through the same door, following the leader. Why don’t they open the other doors? There can be a whole row of a dozen doors yet they all wait in turn to go through just that one door opened by the leader. I used to walk around the flock and open my own new door. Then I would become the leader and they flowed behind me. It was funny to watch every commuting day.

We like to write about characters, people who open that new door or do something less predictable. Main characters are usually in the middle of some kind of change, someone who isn’t following the herd. How can you use an ordinary thing from our urban culture to show how a person has looked up from their feet and begun to look around at the world around them, opening new doors? Think of elevators and escalators if you’re stuck for an idea, urban transportation at it’s best.

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