We New Yorkers certainly have a thing with space. Perhaps it is because we have none; hence, we are always ready to do battle for what we consider our personal space, that area around us that we prefer not to be occupied by another person. Our turf, so to speak. And when someone invades our comfort zone, we feel uncomfortable and some even react in some negative way. We've all experienced an invader at some time or another.
For example, last night I rode the train home from work with a co-worker. While waiting for the train, we had been discussing our reactions to a recent visit by the CEO of our company and how we felt that he was trying to pacify us when we expressed our concerns about our new office space. When the train arrived, we found two seats across the aisle from each other, and since both of us are older ladies, we both chose to sit rather than carry on our conversation. Resting our weary tootsies was more important than carrying on with our gossip. I felt the lady I sat next to stiffen a little and move may 1/2 inch away, but as soon as my co-worker sat down, the woman in next seat rather hastily jumped to her feet and moved off to the side, all the while glaring at my co-worker for invading what she perceived to be her a violation of her personal space.
I've had worse happen to me. I was at the register at a Rite Aid preparing to pay when one of my items fell to the floor. As I bent to retrieve it, I barely brushed against the lady behind me, and she went off on me. And when I say she went off, I mean she went off. She shouted called me all kinds of names and brushed off her arm like I gave her cooties or something. The woman would not stop. Screamed at me until I paid and left the store.Talk about boundary issues!!! It's actually quite funny when I think of it now, but, at the time, it was pretty embarrassing to say the least.
Now, granted, she was a rather extreme example, and there was obviously something wrong with her, but don't we all do it? Don't we all surround ourselves with a protective fence which forms an invisible boundary around us? It's a perfectly normal human reaction to feel uncomfortable when someone moves into our space. I know, myself, when I am seated on the subway and someone squeezes into the seat next to me, I feel my body tighten. It's an automatic reaction, but it's up to me how I react. I always take a deep breath and try putting myself in the other person's place; after all, I have a seat, and there is a seat next to me that is empty, so why shouldn't they be able to sit? Why, they've probably had just the same busy day as I have. Somehow, I always feel better when I trade places with the other person....although, I have to admit, it can be a little frustrating when the person begins rifling through their bag, eating something, or rattling the newspaper , but that's another story. There are other things, too, that violate one's personal space. Here are a few of mine:
I don't know about where you work, but in my place of work it seems we all have our same seats when it comes to lunch or staff meetings. Even clients seem to sit in the same seats, group after group. It seems as if I begin to feel strangely homeless when someone takes my seat in our staff meeting or lunch room, and I find myself forced to see elsewhere. I want to cry out, "That's my seat", but, the truth is, it is not.
Or, how about when a stranger sits at your table when other tables are available? Why do they have to do that? They don't attempt to chat with you, so they are not trying to be your friend. They are just invading, pure and simple.
Hearing someone's cell phone conversation. On my subway ride home the train comes up out of the tunnel for two stops before diving back down again. As soon as the first sign of light, people are dialing their phones and talking about what time they will be home or what they are having for dinner. Who cares? I have my own worries. And I especially hate those 'beep beep' things where you hear both sides of the conversation. Is nothing sacred anymore?
Loud people, or music. Worse yet, why wear headphones if you are going to blast your music so loud that I am going to hear it anyway?
Spammers on my blogs. Oh, do ever feel invaded when that happens. My blogs are my sacred place. I don't violate others' space, so please don't do it to mind. And, with the American Woman Hater making his rounds, I think a lot of us are feeling this way right now.
So, what are some of your pet peeves?