Ever since I complained about a fellow theatre-goer's arm hair touching me during a play (seriously, this arm hair was the LONGEST arm hair I have ever seen/felt on me), I've been wondering about the expectations one can set of honoring personal space in a public place. I was chastised for being so creeped out by said body hair because according to my friends, being in a public space means I give up my personal space. I agree. But to a certain extent. What are reasonable expectations?
Today on the bus my personal space was completely invaded. And in a physically uncomfortable way. Out of all the open seats on the bus a huge person decide to sit next to me. (This is what I get for not taking up a whole extra seat with my two full bags. I'm too nice I guess.) This person wasn't fat, he was just a big person. His sitting next to me scrunched me into the wall of the bus to the point that I couldn't move. Then his elbow poked into my ribs and his knee pushed my knees together into the wall. And it stayed that way for the duration of the ride. Sets of empty seats appeared but I guess he saw no point in moving. He was perfectly comfortable. I was in pain. And he smelled a little bit.
So. Am I being snotty because I was teeming with angry thoughts in my head? Or am I within my right as a person who needs space to BREATHE to be miffed? I think I am within my right. But what do I do about it? Ask the big scary black man to kindly remove his elbow from my kidney? Ask him to get out of my way and sit in another seat myself? Why does riding the bus have to equate with losing some kind of dignity? I know I can get a little uppity, but I don't think I'm overreacting. Next time I'll just assert myself and move. Passively assert myself, yes. But I won't have to be worried about potential molestation.