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Not Really A Rant - Qualified Perceptions
Not Really A Rant
There is a thing that happens on the T sometimes. I tend to stand, often against the door (on the non-opening side), or at the end of the car against the wall. Sometimes someone will come in, and stand very very close to me, when the car isn't at all crowded, ususally facing the other direction, so that I have the back of someone's head in my face. It's not like they're trying to annoy me, or surreptitiously grope me, or anything - it's more like I've got an SEP field on, but I'm standing in the place they want to stand, so they're approximating it. What the heck is up with that? I am not a small and hard-to-notice person, normally. And I'm not talking about when it's crowded, because then you stand where you can manage and I don't begrudge that. It's the... there's all this space to wander around in, and you had to stand inside my personal space radius? I actually maliciously accidentally bumped one of them the other day with my laptop bag, shifting it to the other shoulder, and she moved, still without not really noticing me. Weird.

Current Mood: quizzical

7 comments or Leave a comment
dcltdw From: dcltdw Date: July 1st, 2011 08:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
I don't know why I continue to be surprised at how unperceptive people are, given that 1, it happens all the time, and 2, I often feel embarrassed at how unperceptive I am myself.

And yet, I am totally not surprised by your story. I'm sorry that it happens, though. :(
mathhobbit From: mathhobbit Date: July 1st, 2011 10:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
I wonder if they're trying to efficiently pack the T? But wouldn't it be saner to spread out and compress gradually as more people enter?

I wonder where I'd look for research on compressible two dimensional point packings...
firstfrost From: firstfrost Date: July 10th, 2011 02:14 am (UTC) (Link)
I like the idea that they have an instinct which is trying to dense-pack with a constraint of "no moving once you've settled". I don't know why they'd have that constraint, but it makes it seem *much* more rational.
merastra From: merastra Date: July 1st, 2011 11:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, that's weird. Sounds annoying too. Now if you really had an SEP field, you could have all kinds of fun. ;-)
jdbakermn From: jdbakermn Date: July 2nd, 2011 12:13 am (UTC) (Link)
I had to look up what an SEP field was, but I've had that happen to me in an elevator before. Again, not crowded. I had to hold a fist up to my chest to ensure I maintained at lest 3 inches of separation.
kelkyag From: kelkyag Date: July 2nd, 2011 04:12 am (UTC) (Link)
When I'm on the T (or the bus, or at haymarket, or ...), there's this odd little mental tightrope I find myself walking, between being aware of people so that I do not bump into them or otherwise intrude on their space, and not being aware of them, because it's not as if they asked to be stuck in this little space with me and it feels rude and invasive. It's pretty easy to mis-balance those some days, and it's clear other people balance them differently. Of course, it's also easy to misjudge how much space my bag takes up, or how much space there is behind me.

That said, I've found I have surprisingly few qualms about bumping into people accidentally-on-purpose when they're being obnoxious, with people crowding onto the train before everyone has disembarked being particularly likely targets, and people who stand too close when there's no need a close second.
nuclearpolymer From: nuclearpolymer Date: July 2nd, 2011 10:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
That is really weird. I don't think it has happened to me, but I would be tempted to either sneeze & cough a lot, bump into them, or start having a loud conversation with myself.
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