Monday, July 7, 2008

personal space: standing up for what's right

(note: one of these days, i'll address in depth, the lack of capital letters in my postings. but for now, just chalk it up to laziness). by choosing to live in the city, people make the conscious decision to sacrifice a certain amount of personal space for location and convenience... a private backyard is replaced by an apartment complex courtyard or a tiny nearby park (the same park suburbanites have been quoted as saying "that's a park?")... a personal garden replaced by a city-owned resident garden... a 1600 sq ft 4 bedroom house subbed out for a 700 sq ft 1 bedroom apartment... the list goes on... and unless you're very well-off, there's a choice to be made.

i'm of the belief that moving to the city shouldn't mean you sacrifce ALL of your personal space.
I don't like strangers touching me. you have to earn the right to touch me. lately, however, especially with an influx of tourists for the holiday weekend, space has gotten a little too tight... apparently, this city's not big enough for the 2-million of us...

fourth of july - we rode our bikes down to catch the fireworks. our plan to head over cambridge-side was thwarted by the mob of people who left little breathing room on the mass ave bridge. that's what we get for waiting until quarter of ten. basically, there was no getting across. so, after locking up our bikes, my fiancee and i wandered down the charles river bikepath, finding a standing spot that seemed comfortably spaced and good enough for viewing...
that was, until 5 minutes later when we were surrounded by people who seemed to have no concept of personal space.

note: I've always contended, if i can feel you brushing up against me, you can feel yourself brushing up against me, so, if you can, back off! also, as is the case with common law, if you get there first and claim your spot, you have ownership rights.

example one: The 6' 3" guy who planted himself next to me was all about cuddling up with his girlfriend, which was fine... what wasn't fine, was on the other side, he seemed content cuddling with me as well. had he stepped back a half-a-foot, which he could have easily done, there would have been "no touching", as one of my friends so aptly puts it. I was there first, leave me to my space - even if it's just an inch, don't brush up against me. i'm not a hormone driven teenager or
a cat in heat. respect that.

example two: july 5th. riding the train, considerably empty for a holiday weekend. so why then, do the two annoying college-aged girls feel the need to stand right on top of where i'm standing? there's plenty of space on the train, and again, i was here first. what's worse, college-aged girl #1 kept rubbing the back of her torso against me. if i can feel you, you can feel me. i was here first. move!

today, on my way to work, despite the numberous available seats on the green line train, i chose to stand up for what's right. I took an extra step to respect the other train riders' personal spaces. I could have sat down uncomfortably close to the other passengers, but i stood instead. why? - i understand i need to make certain sacrifices to live in the city... and if that means standing in order to avoid even coming close to violating someone's personal space, that's a sacrifice i'm willing to make... i just wish other people would be so considerate.

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