I spent last week at UCSD where the weather was spectacular and academic life seems to consist of going for walks with everybody you know, in sequence.

I am recovering from hamstring tendonitis (the walks helped a lot, as did the weather and especially the company!) so I walk a little slower than usual.  I noticed something about how a small group deals with a slowpoke on a walk.  It starts out with everybody going at their usual pace and then noticing that I am falling behind.  Eventually everybody slows down to my pace, however I am always one or two steps behind.

Its not an equilibrium for the faster walkers to stay even with the slow poke, but it also not an equilibrium for them to walk at a faster speed and increase the gap beyond more than a few steps.  Its as if some minimum distance is necessary to remind them that they can’t walk at their natural speed.

I even found myself slightly out front of Joel Sobel when we went for our walk.  He has a broken leg.