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Monday, November 3, 2014

Wherein Pearl is Briefly Peeved; or Excuse Me, But You’re in My Space

It’s all I can do to disguise my annoyance.

The bus is packed, truly packed, in a way that it rarely is.  The seats are filled, the aisle is occupied, the space near the back door a tight squeeze.  I note, briefly, that against the odds, those crammed near the back door are rather fit and don’t seem to be inconvenienced.

I had gotten one of the last few seats available two stops up, and for that, I was grateful. 

But if I had it to do again, I’d pick differently. 

Because the man seated next to me, the man with the window seat and the poor posture, cannot seem to keep his legs in front of him.

I frown in concentration. It is clear that he knows that he’s in my space.  Within blocks, he has made two, three attempts at pulling himself together, but he gives up easily, and returns to checking his phone for texts. 

I am a bit angry.  I practice, inwardly, various configurations of “Hey, buddy!  Move over!”   None of them seem right.  Plus – and I’m looking at him now – he doesn’t look like he speaks English. 

“Then he’ll understand through your use of tone,” the short, bald guy in my head says.

Shoot.  I thought I smelled cigarette smoke.

“Why is this so difficult?” I ask.

He shrugs, inhales deeply.  He exhales, sending a trio of smoke rings northward. 

My eyes water. 

He nods agreeably, sure of himself.  “Because you’re a chump,” he says.  He shudders delicately, grinning, a display meant to mock.  “And you don’t want to be mean.”

I frown.  You’re mean,” I say.

He points a heavy, thick finger at me.  “Ah!,” he says.  “I see what you did there.”

I turn away from him. 

You don’t talk to the short, bald man in your head if you don’t want to get worked up. 

And so I sit in silence, studiously listening to my iPod; and after a brief bombardment of thoughts on how very rude it is that my seat mate is taking up so much room on a public conveyance, I close my eyes and decide I will drop the subject.


The bus:  getting all up in your head for more years than I care to count. 


Mac n' Janet said...

That's every airline seat I ever had in Economy. And I've had that conversation in my head and sometimes not just in my head.

Delores said...

Sounds unpleasant...why didn't you say something?

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

You did not say anything because your mom taught you to always be nice and courteous. Unfortunately, your seat partner did not have as good a mother as yours. I am a polite person also, but I might have accidently hit him with my purse when I got up from my seat to leave. Of course, I would have said, "sorry".

T. Powell Coltrin said...

If I said everything that goes on in my head when I'm upset, well no one would come around me. It's that bad.

joeh said...

I always remained silent too, but I always managed to accidently whack his leg when I got up.

"Oh, excuse me, I didn't notice your leg on my side of the seat."

I am the little fat bald guy.

Dawn@Lighten Up! said...

Whenever I dread my hour-long commute and think that public transportation might be a viable option for me, all I have to do is pop over to Pearl's blog. She sets me straight real fast.

Pearl said...

Starting Over nailed it. It is because I was raised to be that way: polite, and perhaps a tad uptight as well. :-) While I've learned, over the years, how to say "Stop!" or "Don't touch me", I still struggle with a lot of it.

It's a defect, and that's for sure.

vanilla said...

That Starting Over. Such a little fibber. "Sorry," indeed.

Daisy said...

I would have been a silent, seething chump as well. :-)

Glen Staples said...

at least you can't actually see the short bald guy in your head every time you look in the mirror ... I do.

NotesFromAbroad said...

In the not too distant past, I suddenly became aware of peoples thighs touching mine if they sat on a bench or seat too close to me.
it makes me jump up and then just stand there ... looking awkward.
I am glad I have a car.
Otherwise, I would probably spend much of my day , just standing there looking awkward.

BLissed-Out Grandma said...

Sigh. Would it have been so hard for our mothers to teach us to say, "Excuse me, would you please stay in your own space?"

jenny_o said...

Ooooh, I don't know what to do in these cases either. The rare times when I should say something, I waver between exploding and crying, and only manage to boost my blood pressure instead. Not very effective.

I have to wonder, though - even if we were more assertive, doesn't the fact that we NEED to say anything in the first place make it likely that the offender won't change a thing?

I am still chortling over Glen's comment!

Catalyst/Taylor said...

The last time my wife flew, she was seated next to a very large man who carefully kept his arms folded across his chest for the entire flight. I think he's a rarety these days.

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
Until last decade-ish that was me. Now I am the short, fat, balding, arthitic woman blowing asthmatically and shoving back. I have no physical boundaries when I NEED THAT SEAT.... (ahem...cough, puff...wheeze...)

Suddenly it's mine...I smile up at the departing party and say 'thank you dear' and he leaves thinking he has become an angel.

Polite AND pushy. It's an acquired skill...YAM xx

Joanne Noragon said...

All of here raised by Starting Over's mom would have struggled; all the football guys would just thump him, however surreptitiously.

NotesFromAbroad said...

Joann, the art of thumping is not lost then. I miss the boys I grew up with ( in the South) who were not above handing out thumps if someone bothered you .. or me ... or even them.

Jayne Martin said...

Carry a fork. If it happens again, whip it out and stab the offender in the thigh... Followed by a humorous post from the county jail. ;)

Lin said...

People are scary now. Even I would not say anything for fear of some nutjob killing us all on the bus. It's an interesting world nowadays.

sage said...

Polite Pearl holds her tongue and avoids a major scene

Rose said...

You do not seem like the type who would take it and just hem and haw in your head!!!! That would be me! LOL

Jo-Anne Meadows said...

Could have been worse, he could have farted like all the time and smell like he didn't shower in a month of Sundays and sit with his hands behind his head so you get a good smell of his underarms

Saimi said...

You're a better person than I am.

Linda O'Connell said...

Maybe you were the only human touch he had all day. Still, I'd have to nudge him away.

Chicken said...

Does your little bald fat guy have a name? Mine smokes cigars and wears an unfashionably fat tie. I don't usually listen to him because, frankly, he's a little on the invasive side, himself. The little fat man in my head hates everyone else for doing the things he is most likely to do. On another note, though, since most of the nation has picked up an extra 15 to 20 pounds and is five inches taller than people were in 1940, wouldn't it make sense to supersize the seating arrangements?

Jayne, I'ld love to get a look at the guy living in your head.

Pat Tillett said...

Stop thinking about what to do and whip out your pepper spray. You have that in your purse, right? All you have to do is aim and threaten to use it...