May 17, 2005


Every so often, I see someone who behaves in a way that makes me think they haven't quite gotten the hang of this whole being-human thing quite yet, and that perhaps they need more practice. For instance, this morning I was on the subway, sitting on a long bank of seats that had room for one more person:


If you were on this car and wanted to sit down, you (being normal) would probably head to this spot and ask the two guys sitting on either side to scootch in their legs a bit:


But the woman who wanted a seat this morning picked a spot where there was absolutely no room to sit (indeed, I was periodically being bumped into by my animatedly talking neighbor) and asked me (and by extension, the guy next to me) to move over to make room for her:


Do you agree that this was really weird? The interaction was made more difficult by the fact that I and the guy next to me were both wearing headphones and couldn't hear what she was asking, and she didn't make the universal could-you-take-out-your-headphones sign before she started talking.

Then when I got to the office, there were three people in my elevator. One got out at the cafeteria, leaving the elevator in this configuration:


Two people leaving the cafeteria got on the elevator, and you would think that they would go to the empty half of the elevator to do the things one does on an elevator (push buttons, stand around), thusly:


But no! Each of them dithered momentarily in the elevator doorway, and then they both went the opposite direction, leaned in front of me to press the appropriate button, and then went over to the other side of the elevator:


Surely they have worked in the building long enough to know that there are buttons on both sides of the elevators? I guess the impulse to turn right when you walk through a door is very strong.

Not that I'm immune from dimwitted behavior. As I was leaving the apartment this morning, I saw a flyer had been stuffed in our mailbox. It was obscured a bit by the edge of the right-hand door, so I leaned to the left to better see what it was. Unfortunately, I did this as I was opening the left-hand door, and totally hit myself in the head with it. Back to Door Opening 101 for me.

Posted by Francis at 02:11 PM | TrackBack

Wow. I never realized we were separated at birth (by more than just time).

Posted by: Tom at May 17, 2005 04:00 PM

Reminds of the "Urinal Etiquette" test..

Posted by: Jim at May 17, 2005 04:51 PM

I read your blog so much now, and whenever I see the word "subway," its like an "oh here we go again" moment. good stuff

Posted by: Mary at May 17, 2005 06:47 PM

The last one needs an illustration too. Having trouble picturing the relative spatial relationships between the door(s) and mailbox and flyer.

Posted by: neilfred at May 18, 2005 03:41 AM

The other day I was on a subway car filled with completely empty seats, and yet some dude still chose to sit next to me, rather than having an entire seat to himself. Hello, perhaps we should review the "strangers" and "personal space" concepts!

Posted by: Cyn at May 18, 2005 10:32 AM
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