I’ve never had a problem with personal space – I don’t mind people near me, I’m not claustrophobic and I hug my friends. When you think of cities with a lot of personal space, New York probably isn’t the first one to come to mind. Of course, your assumptions would be correct. You just have to walk through Times Square a few times to realize that this city has nothing but people! That said, New Yorkers are definitely of the ‘keep to themselves’ variety, which means bumping into someone on the street or in a lobby will get you the world’s biggest stink eye.
Sometimes it feels like being in a magical school of fish, all of whom know the intricate dance of speed walking and sidewalk weaving, but sometimes it feels like you’re in the smallest of sardine cans, unable to stand, let alone make any kind of movement that would be Dancing with the Stars approved. So the other day when I was on the Subway and a lady reached out to grab a bar in the center of the 40+ degree train and instead grabbed my face with her talon nails, all I wanted to do was exclaim, ‘Look, spaghetti arms… this is my dance space [insert me drawing a one-inch arch around myself], this is your dance space [insert me drawing a one-inch arch around her).’ The point is, you can hug me, just don’t gouge me in the face with your nails… and most importantly, don’t invade my dance space.
Sadly, that wasn’t the worst train offense of the day. No, that came a few hours later on the way home, when a man sneezed directly onto my face. Suddenly, I became the person giving the stink eye… and I think I was justified. He didn’t even apologize for the million germs he power-sprayed across my face. Forget the need for dance space, I was just hoping he didn’t have swine flu. The point is, you can be in my one-inch arch, just don’t sneeze on me… and most importantly, if you do, please apologize.