I ride the NYC subways.
Not by choice, by necessity and a bit of convenience.
Personal space is hard to stake out and defend during rush hour ride in a NYC train because…
I have serious issues with personal space especially when it is invaded by humans or objects, not dogs or cats but definitely waterbugs!
My personal space is an invisible fortress equipped with an imaginary psychological alarm system installed along the diameter. It sounds off when someone or something (pocketbook, backpack, umbrella, shopping bag or unruly child) crosses over.
When that happens, feelings of suffocation and entrapment follow. Every muscle in my body tenses with pain. Relief appears when space is restored to my personal, for as the room to breathe grows, muscles unwind and relax.
Yes, I can walk the two miles to work. Quite often, I do, weather permitting but time constraints, pouring rain and slushy snow can redirect my walking to the train. I’d rather drive my car but parking is non-existent or expensive at the parking lots where I work. I’d rather ride a bike but I’m afraid of riding with cars who don’t like driving with bikes.
Yes, the imaginary psychological alarm system works great alerting me to those or things I’d rather not have near me. Unfortunately, the system does not physically prevent those or things I’d rather not have near me from being near me.
I don’t have the space problem outside on the streets because…
Walking on the sidewalks of the city within large crowds presents no threat to my personal space. My invisible fortress becomes pliable, shifting shape and thickness, folding in, bulging out. The imaginary psychological alarm is LOW or at times turned OFF. Body is in motion, weaving in and out, dodging a bike, bumping slightly into a pedestrian (and not saying I’m sorry), steps bouncing as fresh air circumvents the body and kindles mí alma.