Personal space, the final frontier.
This is the journey of Dave, whose mission is to boldly sit equidistant from all those around him. To seek out a comfortable and respectable personal space without having to glare at the guy who smells like stale milk just to his right who refuses to move even though there’s no one else on the train and all it would take is just a shift of his fat little legs to move six inches away so that we’re not dry humping thighs every time the train goes over a new section of track, I’m stuck against the arm guard with no where to go but into your lap with my elbow, MOVE IT, JEEEZ.
That was last night, on the subway. I was sitting amongst many tired peons, all wanting to get home. It was just an hour or two past peak time and I was lucky enough to get a seat. Over the bridge we went and at the first stop almost everyone got off the train.
Right, so we’ve gone from train full of seated passengers to train with five or six passengers. What do you do? What DO you do?
The answer my friends is not blowing in the wind, but found in the basic principles of excited particles, which I guess technically could be blowing in the wind. The details are pretty technical and really don’t understand them, but basically when particles are in an excited state they bounce around to make full use of their particular enviroment.
So when you have about forty say, human-sized particles in a say, train-sized enviroment, they’re going be distributed evenly. But when you remove thirty of these human-sized particles a lot of space opens up and then remaining human-sized particles ought to bounce around (or slide their fat asses on the seats) to evenly distribute themselves in the now free space.
I got a C in physics.
Needless to say that when Mr. Milk Dud didn’t slide away from me I was in an excited state. I made all the huffing, loud exhales and grumpy shifting that’s necessary for just such a situation. Maybe he was confused and thought we were sharing a covalent bond or something. Three stops later I was off the train and he was in the same spot.
Behavior like this is unacceptable and highly un-American and let me tell you why. People from Europe like to tout one of the big differences between them and us as being the personal space issue. They just don’t seem to care if someone sits down next to them on an empty train and throws an unshaved leg in their lap. They’re just that much more evolved than we are, in their eyes I guess they think they’re being cosmopolitan.
In my eyes it’s total fucking bullshit. Europe is overcrowded. The same people have been living in postage stamp sized countries for a thousand years. Sure you don’t mind sharing a table with a stranger, we’re all human right? Garbage, you don’t mind sharing a table because there are three of them in the sub-basement cafe and they’re the size of candlesticks.
Here in America we’ve got space. We’ve made a national history out of forcing indingenous people off of their space just so we could NOT use it. When the pioneers saw smoke from neighbor’s chimney four miles away it was time to move. We love cars where EVERYone has a captain’s seat. We don’t have stores, we have SUPER centers. We’re a nation built on spreading our legs like the mayonnaise we so love.
Most practioners of American Etiquette will tell you that the optimal personal comfort zone is three feet. Why three feet? Because that’s the average length of a human arm or leg. A good test to see if you’re comfortable? Randomly throw out a limb violently in any direction, if you hit someone in the teeth, then you’re not really at ease, and that person shouldn’t have been there.
To me the whole personal space thing is very much an issue of respect. As in, “I respect you enough that I want you to be able to spread out and display your groin region for all to see.” That’s comfort and respect.
If someone doesn’t do the butt slide away from me when a space opens up, that doesn’t say to me, “well Dave, you finally showered, you must be smelling good today and this person obviously wants to bask in your radiant cleanliness.”
Nope, instead I’m thinking this person doesn’t respect American values of expansion, gratuitous waste of personal resources and comfort at the cost of conservation. So take a hike, Commie, these legs were made for spreading and that’s just what they’re going to do.