July 14, 2006 - Holding Pattern
You gotta hand it to Ed. He's been holding out on this story for quite some time. In his endless pursuit of defining personal behavior and the world around us, he has never once brought up one of his deepest and most meaningful theories - people like to hold things, especially when they are standing up. It's while assuming this homo-erectus position, the apex of our evolutionary development, that we are forced to face the question that has been plaguing us humans since we first rubbed two sticks together in a cave. When we stand up, what should we do with our hands?
Do we let them drape beside us like a monster in a B-rated movie? Do we let them swing back and forth like King Kong?
Do we cross them in front of us like Mr. Spock? Or do we cross them behind us like our Chemistry teacher in college?
There is no right answer because when we're standing up, our hands have no purpose other than to carry things. So, that is what we do. Whether it is a bottle of water, a coffee cup, a newspaper, or a purse or shopping bag, it doesn't really matter. As long as our hands are busy and useful we feel fine, secure and full of purpose.
Yesterday the dedicated staff of edhat.com grabbed a cup of coffee at Northstar (great coffee, expensive cappuccinos) and took a seat in their small outdoor seating corral.
With our coffee in one hand and a pen in the other, we took notes on the people walking past. We recorded whether or not they were carrying something and if they were, what it was.
There were a few wrinkles in our hand holding survey. We needed to get a handle on a couple of definitions. We grabbed our cell phone and called Ed. He put us on hold. When he finally picked up our call, he told us that a person holding hands with another person was, in fact, holding something in their hand (as was the person he/she was holding hands with). And, Ed told us that people with bags over their shoulders who were hanging on the straps were not really holding anything because the bags would stay up by themselves if the person let go.
After we finished our counting and our coffee, we found 57.98% of people walking were in hold mode.
Shopping bags were the most common item-in-tow (28% of all holdings), followed by cell phones (15%), and drinks (11%). Other items in hands were (in order of frequency) purses, hands, backpacks, water bottles, pieces of paper, leashes, jackets, cigarettes, packing tubes, sunglasses, copies of the Independent, kids, books, lunch, and hats.
With a guess of 60% KellyThirteen is the winner of yesterday's contest. She wins an Edhat t-shirt. To Kelly and other recent winners, we want to remind you that today is Shirt Patrol Friday (SPF). Email us your size and address and Ed McMahon (or maybe someone else named Ed, but probably not) will come knocking at your door to deliver your prize.
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