Ever since the BBC News website's exhaustive treatment of the cardboard box ('We've all been there...') set the gold standard for spinning a lengthy feature article out of the thinnest filament of substance, I've been on the look-out for something that might bear comparison with it. Today I think I've found it, in the attenuated shape of this piece on Escalator Etiquette.
Moments to cherish, as you scroll wearily down (much like a footsore commuter on the down escalator), include the factoid finding that in Shanghai only 2.4 per cent walk on an escalator, and there is no preferred side to walk on. In Australia, the preferred side is the right, rather than the left (has the world gone mad?). Good to know too that the state of Wyoming has only two escalators, both of them in a bank.
The views of both walkers and standers are given more than ample space, as are the possible origins of the preference for a left-side standing rule. Questions of safety are explored with similar thoroughness, culminating in this eloquent paragraph:
'A spokesman for the Toronto Transit Commission said he could not recall any escalator accidents in Toronto.'
Yes indeed. And cutting her way through all these Escalator Etiquette dilemmas with a single image is 'San Francisco artist Helen Tseng'. It is a picture that repays - nay, demands - close attention. The Don'ts appear to include Sapphic affection, wearing a beard - not to mention face mask and glove - and taking a dump on the escalator (who'd have guessed). Among the Do's are, apparently, going up on the down escalator and going down facing backwards.
Ah well, we've all been there. On an escalator.