The Social Experiment

It's the third week of school. My husband had been taking the kids to the bus stop, a new location, and I would pick them up afternoons until Tuesday, when I filled in the morning shift. Walking the few blocks there, I spied the other kids and asked mine why they were all standing across from where I stand to pick them up.

"I don't know," my son said. "We just do."

The bus arrives, stops, flashes its lights, extends its gate, and the kids begin to cross the narrow neighborhood road in order to get to the bus's door. The driver yells at them to wait for her hand signal. They back up to the corner, she waves, they cross again.

"Why doesn't everyone just stand on the other side of the road like we do in the afternoons?" I ask a mom who stands with me every weekday at 4pm.

"I don't know," she said. "We just do."

Wednesday. I walk my kids to--you guessed it--the other side of the road. Some kids remain standing in the usual spot. One kid crosses over to us but it's a noncommittal act; he leaves his backpack on the other side. A parent approaches me and offers thanks.

"I'm really glad you did this," he says. "It didn't make sense to me that they'd cross the road in front of the bus every day."

The bus appears around the corner. The rest of the kids run across the street to us well before it pulls up. They jump the line in front of my kids, figuring they've been in line longer.

Day Two. We line up on the other--new?--side. Most of the kids are there. The mom's middle boy is put out by the switchover.

So, Class: What do you think will happen next? Describe your predictions and their subsequent social implications.


  1. It seems that new is the new old. Everyone lined up on the new side on Friday, except for one boy. His mom, the one who had explained to Amy about the old side of the road, "we just do," now patiently explained to her son the virtues of the new side. I think this one is going to stick. Amy has changed the world for the better yet again!


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