Monday, October 08, 2012

The working life: My new bus strategy‏

Remember the obnoxious guy who sat next to me on the bus? The reeking of cigarette smoke space hogger?

What IS it with some men and their insistence on taking more than their fair share of space? I've had some men tell me that the reason they have to splay their legs is because there isn't enough leg room, but now the problem is mine? Why should I have to suffer? I get stuck in seats that are designed for someone taller than I am, with longer legs, so I can't lean against the back and have my feet on the ground at the same time. But I don't inflict my problems on the person next to me. I don't say, "Hey. These seats are designed for someone five inches taller than I am, so I am going to inconvenience you." No, I just roll up my jacket and tuck it behind my back, which still doesn't solve the problem, and I fume about a world that is designed for the average man of average man height.

If I can suffer in silence, so can you, men who are taller than average.

Plus that's just crap anyhow, because most of the time, the men who are splaying their legs into my space and hogging the armrest are not taller than average.

They're just jerks.

Jerks who are either unconscious of what they're doing because nobody's ever called them on it or jerks who know perfectly well what they're doing and don't care because most women - wait - I can't speak for most women, I can speak only for myself - because I am usually too much of a sissy to call them on it.

Besides, what do you say? "Excuse me, but your leg is in my space? You're on my side of the air?" 

Maybe I should try that. Maybe I should say, "Excuse me, but you're crowding me. Would you please move your leg?"

Ha. As if.

Better to prevent the problem from happening at all.

Last week, the stinky space hogger guy homed in on me like a heat-seeking missile. He came right to the back of the bus. I had left my bag on the seat next to me in hopes that that would deter him, but it did not. He started to sit on top of the bag.

The entire ride, I thought, "Never again. I will deter that jerk if it's the last thing I do."

So I have been sitting in different seats so he doesn't know where to look for me. Then today, I put my bag on the floor until his stop. As soon as I saw him get on the bus, I put the bag back on the seat. He walked to the back of the bus. I felt his stare. But this time, I did not make eye contact.

I think that's the key with most predators. Eye contact or not. Sometimes, you can stare them down. But other times, you have to pretend they don't exist. If you acknowledge their existence, then you acknowledge that they have a right to the empty seat next to you. Which they do. They've paid their fare. 

Ick. He's  paid his fare. I am talking about a specific person here, not a slew of predators. But the theory holds.

I didn't look up at him. I didn't lift my eyes off the Keith Richards memoir I am reading. I didn't move the bag.

He sat in the seat in front of me.

I moved the bag so someone else could sit next to me if necessary.

I won.


Gaylin said...

Stinky space hogs on the bus.

Yep, you won!

rubiatonta said...

There was a guy sitting on the subway the other day occupying a ton of space, and I needed to sit down. So as I did, I moved his knee back into the one seat he'd paid for with my Lands End boat bag, rather roughly. He scowled at me, and I did my best, "I'm a guiri and I don't know what you're on about" look.

As you know, I'm also not above asking, with big-eyed wonder, "Wow, that big, huh?" But you have to know your audience!

Fijufic said...

Weird but the psychology behind it is true.

John0 Juanderlust said...

Carry a small bag of thumbtacks. He wants to sit on them, fine.