Friday, February 15, 2013

The working life: The great seat dilemma‏

So here's something I am curious about. If you guys are on a bus (or a train or a subway) and you have to share a seat with someone, do you move if an entire seat opens up? 

If you do move, do you say anything to the person you were sitting next to? Or do you just move?

I have had both ways happen to me: the person just moved and the person moved with an explanation: "Now we'll both have more room."

When I move, I, too, feel compelled to explain to the person what is perfectly obvious: I am moving so we both have more room. But why? Why should I say anything? I don't know this person. This person probably couldn't care less that I am moving and indeed is probably relieved. 

I'm just worried she'll think I'm rude. The opinion of complete strangers is so important to me that I will state the obvious to stay in their good graces.

This is the same reason I was bothered that I don't put my makeup on until I get to work. If I eat any salt, I have puffy eyes the next day. Throw in the cold weather, which makes my eyes water, which is not good for eye makeup. I wait until I am in the warmth of my cubicle to put on eye shadow and mascara. When I expressed a concern about this on facebook - what would the people on the bus at 6:51 a.m. think about my unadorned face and how self-centered did it make me that I was concerned about it, my friend Ilene wrote, with a smile, that nobody noticed and nobody cared.

Which was a relief. Because the puffy-eyed, pre-makeup look is not a good one for me. So it's good to know that I am not being judged at 6:51 a.m. by people I don't even know. Except maybe the two young women who are on the bus every day with their hair, their makeup, and their nails done. They probably judge me. Big deal. Let them come back to me in 30 years and we'll see how they feel about getting up super early just to get dressed. They might change their minds.

Back to my apologetic moves. I usually say something when I'm on the bus. But I never say anything when I move from my assigned seat on a plane to an empty exit row. Maybe it's because I'm too  busy thinking, "I've got to hurry before someone else figures out the exit row is empty," although you know what? Hardly anyone ever moves on a plane. I don't get it. Why would you stay smashed in a seat next to someone when you could have an entire row to yourself?

Are you a mover? If you are a mover, do you say anything?


webb said...

When i rode public transportation, i did say something. It never hurts to be polite or tomake someone - even a stranger - feel better. You would be a good southern girl.

Gaylin said...

I have changed seats many times on the bus. To get more room, to get away from stinky perfume and once to get away from a guy who was peeing himself.
Public transport. So classy.

I never say anything, I just get up and move. I am close to non-verbal in the morning.

I don't wear make-up at all and no one has ever commented!

Class factotum said...

I guess it doesn't hurt to say something, although I would not feel compelled to do so with the peeing guy. Gross.

Gaylin said...

Yeah, the peeing guy. Not only did I move seats, I got off the bus 6 stops early and walked the rest of the way, the smell was obscene. Lets just say, it probably wasn't the first time he had peed in those pants.

I have also seen people sneaking beer at 11 in the morning on the bus. Once I even saw a bunch of kids doing tequila shots, lemons slices and everything. Glad those occurrences are rare!

Class factotum said...

Gaylin, I have smelled booze on a few passengers, but only in the afternoon. Not to say there aren't any drunks in the a.m. - this is Wisconsin, after all, but I haven't run into them. Yet.