So what do Old Faithful and clapping have in common? Lemmings of course!
I’d been hearing about Old Faithful for decades. We tried to visit it on our first trip to Yellowstone National Park but were turned back because of forest fires. So 25 years later we were finally walking up to the site.
Considering this was the off-season, there were a surprising number of people sitting on benches laid out in a large semi-circle. Yet the crowd was strangely hushed. It felt odd – like a funeral without the sadness. I fiddled with my camera and waited quietly like everyone else. There was nothing else to do.
In time some hot steam started spewing out of the ground and an appreciative murmur rippled through the crowd. Old Faithful was soon shooting up a remarkable amount of water and steam, set to the accidental music of countless shutters clicking. One of them was mine.
In time, the spray and the sound of shutters subsided. In the awkward silence that followed, someone started to clap and many others followed. I was bemused.
People who make their life easy can happily clap just because everyone else is doing it. I need a better reason. Perfunctory clapping leaves me cold. I know a group session is heading straight for a reef when the leader exhorts everyone to, ‘give yourselves a hand.’ Yikes.
I’m guessing the people all around me were clapping just because everyone else was. My faith in humanity took another hit. And someone else probably looked at me and wondered who stole my sense of spirit.
I think I would make a lousy lemming.