“A tour group will expand to the width of the sidewalk.”
I came up with Mangin’s First Law of Tourist Behavior after a few years of contending with the tourists on my way to and from work at the Library of Congress. I try to avoid running into tourists, especially tour groups, by avoiding First Street NE and SE, which runs between the Capitol and the Library.
But this isn’t going to be a rant about tourists. After all, they do help the economy around here. And it is a little cool that people come from far away to see what we live with everyday. I’m writing this because this morning, despite my best efforts, I found myself in the middle of a tour group of high school students. I went up to the tour group leader who was holding an open umbrella. I smiled and said, “I have this law of tourist behavior that says that a tour group will expand to the width of the sidewalk.” She replied, “I know! I keep telling them not to do that!”
Before I could thank her for being conscious of other people trying to use the sidewalk, she pointed to the Adams Building (of the Library of Congress), and said, “Is that the Supreme Court?” I was happy to point her in the right direction. But not as happy as getting to say my piece to a tour group leader, and (bonus!) finding out she understood my position!