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The NBA Addict!

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Personal Space in the Commuter's World

It has been taught in our ergonomics class that every person has a defined "personal space". Invasion from other people would elicit reactions, positive or negative, depending on the situation. For example, if a crush invaded your "space", it would possibly trigger a number of responses such as blushing, saying a muted "hi", or mumbling an incoherent response if ever she asks for the time. In other countries, just be within 2 feet of a person and someone is bound to shout out a "Good day!" or "Fine weather we're having."

But, isn't it weird that when we commute, we share our space with a fellow human being and not care? I mean, if you've ever been in an LRT (Light Rail Transit) during rush hour, you'd know what I'm talking about. It's not just space we share, sometimes we're so close with one another, you'd already be able to smell what soap he bathed with that morning. (Let's not even think about what happens if he didn't shower.) You do care, in a self-preservation kind of way, but as for interactions with your fellow person, it has been reduced to pushing and shoving. In a jeepney, people would be conjoined at the hip for an hour but you don't acknowledge the presence of the other people. Not unless they were sleeping and was trying to use your shoulder as a headrest.

Still, we apparently have a different set of social rules for commuters. I can come up with one right now: "Never initiate communications with a fellow commuter you don't know. Only do so in times of dire need, or when your well-being is at risk."

Just my thoughts on a traffic night on the commute...


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