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Despite This We Stay for April 5, 2012

by Carol Dunn
Huerfano life can be fairly solitary. There aren’t many times you can hang out in a crowd. We have a few festivals that attract a lot of people, but there aren’t many. While some people abhor crowds and move to Huerfano County to get away from them, there are some comforting things about being in a crowd.
First of all, there’s safety in numbers. You can do things in a crowd that you can’t get away with when you are in a small group. Like passing gas.
You’ve been there: you’re standing in the midst of a crowd of people and the putrid smell of methane comes wafting into your olfactory like it was piped directly to your nose in flexible tubing. If you don’t say, “Ahhhh” or turn red, no one will suspect it was you. The flatulator is anonymous in a crowd. However, if you are hanging out with a couple other people, you can’t pass gas and get away with it for very long. One person will look at the other person with a questioning look, and when the other person shakes their head “no,” you’re busted. They know it was you.
Second, if a piece of space junk falls from the sky and you are the only person in the field at the time, Murphy’s Law says that it will fall on you. (And if you are eating a piece of buttered bread at the time, it will fall butter side down at the moment of impact.) However, if you’re in a field with 3,200 people, you or any one of them may be hit, the odds being one in 3,200. I like those odds. If you want to test this theory, you can move to Siberia. They find space junk lying around up there all the time and places where meteors have smashed down thousands of trees, plus the cabin of some poor guy who just wanted to be left alone.
Third, a crowd is sometimes a good omen. For instance, if you are considering eating at a restaurant but there is only one car in the parking lot, you pretty much can figure that the car belongs to the cook and the food there is horrible. Otherwise, there would be a crowd. It may not be much fun waiting for a table when a restaurant is crowded, but it is reassuring.
Fourth, crowds have a collective intelligence. Some guy wrote about this in a book about crowds. I don’t think he meant a crowd of drunk people, who think they know everything. I believe he meant just a normal crowd hanging out, trying to look intelligent, like a group of boys at a high school dance. They are holding up the wall because they know for sure that, if they dance, they will sprain both ankles and won’t be able to help with the chores for six weeks, thus losing their allowance.
It’s a fact that we don’t have mongo crowds around here, and we probably won’t in the near future, at least until everything west of La Veta Pass splits off the continental US, and Huerfano County becomes oceanfront property. Until then, we’ll just have to be wise in our flatulence, look up and watch for space junk, and rely on health department signs to tell us where we shouldn’t eat.

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