I have a huge issue with people invading my personal space. This may be a result of having grown up in a place with an adequate public transport system and subsequently taking public transportation to and from work every day for six years. In my opinion, if there is an entire row of available seats on the train/bus or whatever it is you’re riding, there’s absolutely no reason on the planet for someone to sit directly next to you. In fact, it’s so uncalled for, that it’s automatically creepy. If someone ever did this with the intention of talking to me, then that would be the worst pseudo-reason of all. My reaction would be a typical Bostonian one, which would be to look at the person as though they were retarded, until they felt really stupid, and then go back to what I was doing (usually either reading or trying to nap).
Even though now my main method of transportation is to drive myself around in my car, the personal space thing is still a big deal to me in two main areas: the gym and public restrooms.
First, the gym. There are actually two infractions that occur here. Number one: if I’m on a treadmill in the row of treadmills, and the majority of them are empty, please do not get on the treadmill directly next to me. There is truly no need for it. Number two: the cleaning people need to settle down. There are two at my gym, and I feel a little bad disparaging of them. They work very hard and are at the gym when I get there at 6:30 in the morning, already very busy wiping down all of the cardio equipment. My problem is with one guy in particular, who will wipe down the piece of equipment that you are currently using. I’m sure he’s trying to be unobtrusive, but I’ve almost yelled at him a few times because, when I’m in my groove, it is very disconcerting to me to all of a sudden have a man at my feet. My balance is awful, and more than once the surprise of it all has almost caused me to bite it on the treadmill (incidentally, I’ve fallen off a treadmill before, and there is absolutely nothing graceful about it…and it hurts a lot). I’ve contemplated complaining about it, but he seems like a nice man who’s just trying to do his job, so I don’t want to get him in trouble.
My second personal space issue is in public restrooms. When you are in a restroom that has a row of stalls, and almost all of the stalls are unoccupied, I feel like it’s rude and weird to go into the stall immediately next to one that is occupied. Especially if there is pooping involved. Now, admittedly, I tend to be a bit more on the anal retentive side of the public restroom thing, but this just seems like a no-brainer and common courtesy. I acknowledge, that yes, everyone has to go, and it’s a bathroom, which is the most preferable choice of location to relieve oneself. But still, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with having a little modesty about the situation and tending to your business as far away from other people as possible.
As with many of my quirks, I accept that this train of thought is likely unique to me, so I try to get over myself. Otherwise I may turn into the lunatic who yells at people in a public restroom or a neighboring treadmill, or at the poor guy who is just trying to get his job done before the sun is even up. However, if you agree with any of this, it would make me feel like less of a crazy jerk to know that I’m not alone.