The new world disorder

So I'm standing in line at the post office, ready to mail out some Ebay items. There's a line of about 15 people wrapping around in a "c" shape. Someone has left their black canvas knapsack in the middle of the floor, near but not in the line, with the backings of some stickered items littered on top of it.

I've got my eye on it. I remember this Sundance Channel documentary I saw the other week when it showed that if one person is in a room and smoke starts leaking from the bottom of the door, he'll get up and do something. But the more people in the room at the time, the less likely any of them are to report the smoke.

I decide when the post office worker who routinely traverses the line comes along asking if any of us need paperwork for our packages that I'll see if he'll do something about the bag. This, of course, after the bag has been sitting there a good ten minutes unmonitored. (For those wondering, it's not even propped up on a pole or anything, which I've seen done: Bag too heavy to carry in line, leave it up at the front and keep an eye on this.) Nobody's gone near it, and in fact the line is slightly arcing away from it now. The postal worker guy — who reminds me of Shaft's younger brother, with a fascinating 'Fro and dark sunglasses — never gets close enough for me to talk to him. And there's just enough "well, how much of a jerk do I want to make myself about this" pressure keeping me from signalling him.

Finally, a guy two people back from me asks the woman in front of him if it's her bag. Negative. He breaks from the line to talk to Lil Shaft. Lil Shaft says, "This anybody's bag?"

And a guy about 4 people in front of me, a good 20 feet from the bag itself, comes forward, picks it up and shoulders it.

"You were scaring a lot of people," says Lil Shaft.

The guy has no reply.